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Cocoa compound could help control appetite

Researchers from the City University of New York (USA) report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that doses of epicatechin above 1.6 milligrams per kilogram of bodyweight (or 112 mg for a 70 kg adult) in combination with a nonalkalized cocoa beverage may reduce food intake by about 20%.

 

In 2 randomized controlled trials, it was reported that dark chocolate acutely decreased appetite in human subjects, but the Authors did not assess the types or concentrations of cocoa compounds that are needed. Other studies have suggested that the cocoa compounds epicatechin and procyanidins may be involved.

The Researchers sought to test the hypotheses that, compared with placebo (an alkalized cocoa mixture containing essentially no epicatechin or procyanidins), the following beverages cause a decrease in appetite: 1) a nonalkalized cocoa mixture; 2) epicatechin plus placebo; and 3) procyanidins plus placebo. We measured the concentrations of cocoa compounds in all beverages.

They used a 4-way randomized, crossover, placebo-controlled trial that was balanced for period and carryover effects in 28 healthy, young-adult men. They also conducted a smaller (n = 14), parallel, secondary randomized trial in which we explored the effects of higher doses of epicatechin and procyanidins. Their primary measure of appetite was ad libitum pizza intake 150 min after beverage ingestion.

As a result, intakes of beverages with the nonalkalized cocoa mixture that contained 0.6 mg epicatechin, 0.2 mg catechin, and 2.9 mg monomer-decamer procyanidins/kg body weight did not decrease pizza intake significantly (P = 0.29) compared with intake of the placebo. In the smaller secondary trial, a combination of epicatechin and the nonalkalized cocoa mixture that contained 1.6 mg epicatechin/kg body weight significantly decreased pizza intake by 18.7% (P = 0.04).

In conclusions, their nonalkalized cocoa mixture was associated with an acute decrease in food intake only after being supplemented with epicatechin. It is possible that epicatechin at a dose of >1.6 mg/kg body weight, alone or in concert with appropriate catalytic cocoa compounds, may be useful for helping people control their food intakes.

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