Cuckoo for Cocoa: Does Chocolate Help Diabetes?
Eating a diet rich in cocoa may help type 2 diabetics control their blood sugar, a new study suggests.
Findings published in the journal Molecular Nutritional and Food Research reveal that the flavanol epicatechin (EC), a naturally occuring compound in dark chocolate, can help regulate insulin levels.
Pass the Hershey's?
Before you go reaching for a candy bar, however, researchers point out that only dark chocolate that contains pure cocoa — often also called cacao — will give you any health benefits.
In the study, insulin signaling by epicatechin was analyzed by looking at proteins of the insulin pathways and insulin receptors. EC appears to enhance the insulin receptors in such a way that they are strengthened and therefore respond better to glucose production.
Implications for diabetics
Lead researcher Dr. Matthew Hobbs explains that, unfortunately, eating extra chocolate won't have an effect on diabetics, as the added sugar, calories and fat would negate any health benefits derived from the substance.
"The implication that eating chocolate will help people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar is simply not a conclusion that can be drawn from this research," Hobbs said.