Can Cocoa Help Support Healthy Weight Management?
Can Cocoa Help Support Healthy Weight Management?
A decade of research from the University of California in San Diego reveals good news for chocolate lovers. According to the latest study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, consuming chocolate may actually help support a healthy weight.
Data collected from 970 men and women associates more frequent chocolate intake with lower Body Mass Index (BMI), even though chocolate has a high caloric value and contains a good amount of saturated fats. Researchers hypothesize that polyphenols in cocoa may affect the rate of metabolism, resulting in faster burning of calories and therefore, a lower BMI. Although it sounds too good to be true, this study is just one among several that highlights cocoa's intriguing role in weight management. 1
A combined study conducted by the Hershey Center for Nutrition and Health and the Pennsylvania State University also links cocoa intake with weight management benefits. Researchers of this study believe that cocoa induces weight loss by inhibiting various digestive enzymes from doing their job. The more chocolate you consume, the greater the effect it has on these enzymes, resulting in more effective weight loss. 2
Cocoa's Health Benefits
The bio-active components in cocoa, namely cocoa flavanols and procyanidins, have gathered increasing media attention because of their antioxidant benefits for various body mechanisms, including skin health. 3
One study shows that 40 grams of cocoa powder mixed in 500 milliliters of skimmed milk taken for 4 weeks can beneficially impact cardiovascular health. 4 Studies also show that specific phytonutrients in cocoa such as procyanidins and flavanols play a distinct role in supporting cardiovascular health. In a nutshell, procyanidins may offer long term health benefits while flavanols offer more immediate, short term benefits for cardiovascular health.
Does This Mean I Can Eat Chocolate Candy Bars and Still Get All of the Health Benefits Associated With Cocoa?
No. Most experts agree that increasing cocoa intake can deliver important health benefits to consumers but just exactly how cocoa should be delivered to consumers is a much debated topic. Some experts believe that marketing cocoa for its health benefits in the form of a candy bar may confuse consumers. Even though candy may contain a high percentage of cocoa flavanols and other functional ingredients, it is still is laden with sugar, saturated fats and stuffed with calories. So while the healthy candy concept may stir consumer interest for some time, in the long run, marketing cocoa powders as supplements may offer more traction in the market.
Cocoa supplements can be formulated to meet a range of specific and general health needs and can be manufactured as powders and packaged in stick packs for user convenience. A new standardized method for measuring the polyphenolic content of a cocoa product may soon benefit consumers and marketers.
Breakthrough in the Measurement of Flavanols
Health benefits of cocoa are actually derived from the flavanols and procyanidins (polyphenolic content) which puts buyers at a disadvantage because not many labels provide this type of information. Consumers may look at the percentage of cacao in a product and think they are getting greater health value with a higher cacao percentage, but may not be true. The percentage value of cacao only tells you how much of the product is made from cacao, not its polyphenolic content. In fact, various manufacturing processes that cacao undergoes can actually destroy polyhenols in cocoa. 6
To solve this problem, 12 labs have combined their efforts to come up with a standardized method for assessing cocoa flavanols and procyanidins in chocolate, cocoa liquors, cocoa powders and cocoa extracts. This breakthrough method has the potential to benefit consumers, industry and regulators. The new method, if adopted by the industry, will help produce reliable labels with specific details of polyhenolic content for comparison with other products.
Meet the Demand of this Expanding Market by Manufacturing Cocoa Flavored Supplements By Partnering with NutraScience Labs
About 35 percent of the American population over 20 is overweight. More people are looking for ways to manage their weight. According to Functional Ingredients, mainstream shoppers contributed to the growth of the weight management sector by 27 percent last year, but what is more phenomenal is that sales from the natural channels grew 75 percent. 6
Now is the time to meet the demand of this ever-growing market by manufacturing your own line of high-quality, cocoa-flavored supplements with NutraScience Labs. All of our powder manufacturing services take place in a state-of-the-art, GMP certified facility. Work with our in-house team of graphic designers to create eye-catching label and packaging designs that make your product stand out in the market or promotional materials like post cards, pamphlets and brochures so you can effectively market your products. We also offer in-house order fulfillment, storage, and drop shipping services for your convenience!
For more information about our manufacturing services or to submit your request to receive a free nutraceutical manufacturing quote in 48 hours or less, call (855) 492-7388 to speak with one of our knowledgeable Production Specialists or submit your quote request through our website.
6. September 24, 2012, Functional Ingredients.
About the Author: Andrew Goldman
Andrew Goldman is the Vice President of Marketing for NutraScience Labs. In this role, he leverages his 10+ years of experience to develop cutting-edge initiatives for our firm.