A Virginia Tech researcher has found a substance in chocolate that could help fight many common diseases.
The study appeared in a recent issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry. The scientist, Andrew Neilson, is assistant professor of food science and technology in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
In the study, he discovered that a specific antioxidant kept lab mice from gaining excess weight, and also lowered their blood sugar levels. He believes the antioxidant could fight obesity, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
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Neilson isn't suggesting going to a candy bar diet just yet. Instead, he's looking at developing food additives from cocoa. The key compounds are known as a flavanol oligomers. His study was the first to include live-animal models, and it also used smaller amounts of cocoa compounds than previous studies. Cocoa has several different antioxidants known as flavanols. Neilson's team decided to separate these antioxidants so they could be studied independently.
Neilson says benefits could possibly be obtained in humans with a couple servings a day.