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Choco lovers have better health: Research

October 16, 2007 12:02 IST
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Love for chocolate and indifference to it is related to a particular chemical signature programmed into a person's metabolism. These chemical processes taking place in the body are measured by blood and urine tests.

'Tests by Sunil Kochhar of the Nestlé Research Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland and Professor Jeremy Nicholson at London's Imperial College show that this signature leads to love for chocolate in some people and indifference to it in others, the researchers said in the Journal of Proteome Research, the Daily Telegraph reported.

The study involved 11 volunteers who classified themselves as 'chocolate desiring' and 'chocolate indifferent.' In a controlled clinical study, each subject - all men of normal weight - ate chocolate and the make-up of chemicals in their blood and urine samples was analysed after that.

It was found that the 'chocolate lovers' had a hallmark metabolic profile that involved low levels of LDL-cholesterol (also known as 'bad' cholesterol) and marginally raised levels of a beneficial protein called 'albumin'.

The activity of the gut microbes, which play a central role in breaking down food such as chocolate, in the chocolate lovers was also distinctively different from the other subjects.

''We found that we could easily distinguish the groups metabolically. This is the first demonstration that a dietary preference has an imprinted effect on your metabolism. This might link to all sorts of long term health implications- interestingly the chocolate preferring people had a better gut microbial metabolite profile than the people who don't like chocolates,'' said Professor Nicholson.

Chocolates are rich in antioxidant polyphenolics and good for health, he added.

Reiterating the 'good' effects of chocolate, Kochhar said an essential ingredient in chocolate is cocoa which is rich in flavonoids. By eating chocolate, catechin and epicatechin can reach the bloodstream where they can be transported around the body, helping to prevent oxidation so the body can stay healthier.

In the current study, women were excluded to avoid any metabolic variations linked to the menstrual cycle, which has been shown in studies to influence metabolic differences, he added
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