Campbell culinary institute, david landers

Campbell’s Culinary & Baking Institute merges menu trends with food formulation.

Antioxidants & Nutritionals / Breaking News / Snacks & Appetizers

Behind Cocoa Flavanols

January 27, 2012
KEYWORDS cocoa / flavanols / research
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
January 27/Washington/Ayurveda -- Researchers have new analytical techniques to boost understanding of flavanol absorption and metabolism and provide basis for significant in vitro studies to gauge exactly how these compounds work in the body.

Increasing scientific evidence indicates that (-)-epicatechin, the main flavanol in cocoa, can have a positive impact on the circulatory and cardiovascular systems.

Absorption and metabolism, however, play a key role in determining the exact effect food constituents and nutrients such as (-)-epicatechin have in the body.

Following absorption, nutrients are metabolized -- transforming them into new compounds different from those originally present in food. As metabolic transformation has a significant impact on how nutrients support healthy functions, investigating this process is critical to furthering the understanding of exactly how cocoa flavanols are linked to health benefits.

While the metabolism of flavanols has been established in previous studies, the development and validation of improved analytical methods in this research enabled a far more detailed assessment than previously possible.

As a result, this study by an international team of scientists from Mars Incorporated, the University of California, Davis, and the University of Reading was able to clearly and reliably demonstrate the extensive metabolism of (-)-epicatechin following consumption of a flavanol-containing cocoa drink.

As in vitro studies using un-metabolized cocoa flavanols do not take this metabolism into account, they are not able to accurately reflect what is happening in the body.

For example, early findings looking at flavanols in a test tube suggested that they exerted their benefits through an antioxidant mechanism. However, this latest research adds to a growing body of evidence challenging this notion and indicating that -- when examined in the body -- flavanols’ cardiovascular benefits are in fact independent of any antioxidant properties.

“By significantly advancing our understanding of the absorption and metabolism of cocoa flavanols, this research helps to address existing disagreement in this area and sets a new standard in flavanol analytics that will improve the scientific tools available,” said Dr. Hagen Schroeter -- study author and director of fundamental health and nutrition research at Mars Incorporated.

“Furthermore, this work again calls into question the validity of in vitro research that does not take into account the extensive metabolism of compounds like (-)-epicatechin.

“The study provides a critical step towards a more complete understanding of flavanols and their benefits and, ultimately, towards the translation of this knowledge into innovative flavanol-rich food products and concrete health recommendations,” added Schroeter.

The study has been published in the international journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine.

 From the January 27, 2012, Prepared Foods' Daily News.

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Air Products Video


2014 Prepared Foods

April 2014 cover, prepared Foods

2014 April

Check out the April 2014 issue of Prepared Foods, with features on new gourmet trends, sodium functionality, and much more!

Table Of Contents Subscribe


Vegetable Oils in Food Technology
Vegetable Oils in Food Technology: Composition, Properties and Uses, 2nd Edition

Now in an extensively updated second edition, the volume provides a source of concentrated and accessible information on the composition, properties and food applications of the vegetable oils commonly used in the food industry.

More Products


Benecol Case Study: Reducing Cholesterol

Bread and Butter

Purchase Report Here

Benecol is a brand licensed by Finnish company, Raisio Group. Branded products include a range of cholesterol-lowering food goods such as fat spreads, yogurts, milk, bread, and soy drinks. Market Line

Food Master

food master 2013Food Master 2013 is now available!

Where the buying process begins in the food and beverage manufacturing market. 

Visit to learn more.


Facebook icon Twitter icon  YouTube iconLinkedIn icon