Supplementation of cocoa powder, derived from Theobroma cacao, in the diet of high-fat-fed mice with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease reduced the severity of their condition, according to a paper published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry.
“Cocoa powder is a popular food ingredient that is commonly consumed in chocolate,” said Professor Joshua Lambert, a researcher in the Department of Food Science and the Center for Molecular Toxicology and Carcinogenesis at the Pennsylvania State University.
“Epidemiological and human intervention studies have reported that chocolate consumption is associated with reduced risk of cardiometabolic diseases.”
“So, it made sense to investigate whether cocoa consumption had an effect on non-alcohol-related fatty liver disease, which is commonly associated with human obesity.”
In the study, Professor Lambert and his colleagues examined the hepatoprotective effects of dietary supplementation with 80 mg/g cocoa powder for 10 weeks in high fat-fed obese male mice.
They found that cocoa-supplemented mice had lower rate of body weight gain (22%), hepatic triacylglycerols (28%), lipid peroxides (57%), and mitochondrial DNA damage (75%) than high-fat-fed control mice.
“The mechanisms by which cocoa imparts health benefits are not well understood, but previous studies in our lab showed that extracts from cocoa and some of the chemicals in cocoa powder can inhibit the enzymes that are responsible for digesting dietary fat and carbohydrate,” they said.
“The result is that when mice get cocoa as part of their diet, these compounds in the cocoa powder prevent the digestion of dietary fat.”
“When it can’t be absorbed, the fat passes through their digestive systems. A similar process may occur with cocoa in humans,” Professor Lambert added.
“In view of this new information about cocoa powder, we’re not recommending that obese people — or anyone — simply add five cups of hot cocoa to their daily routine and change nothing else in their diet.”
“But we do advise, based on what we’ve learned in this study, to consider substituting cocoa for other foods, particularly high-calorie snack foods.”
“This exchange is potentially beneficial, especially in combination with a healthy overall diet and increased physical activity.”
“If you go to the gym and work out, and your reward is you go home and have a cup of cocoa, that may be something that helps get you off the couch and moving around.”
Mingyao Sun et al. 2021. Dietary cocoa ameliorates non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and increases markers of antioxidant response and mitochondrial biogenesis in high fat-fed mice. Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry 92: 108618; doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108618
Source link: https://www.sci.news/medicine/cocoa-severity-fatty-liver-disease-09566.html