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Cocoa Flavanol Supplementation and the Effect on Insulin Resistance in Females Who Are Overweight or Obese: A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Publisher: Nutrients
Authors: Elizabeth J. Simpson , Buddhike Mendis, Mandy Dunlop, Hagen Schroeter, Catherine Kwik-Uribe and Ian A. Macdonald

There is interest in the impact that dietary interventions can have on preventing the transition from insulin resistance to type 2 diabetes, including a suggestion that the bioactive components of cocoa may enhance fasting insulin sensitivity. However, a role for cocoa flavanols (CF) in reducing insulin resistance in the insulin-stimulated state, an important risk factor for cardiovascular disease, is unresolved. This study investigated whether CF consumption improved whole-body insulin-mediated glucose uptake ('M') in females with overweight/obesity, using a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, parallel-group design. Thirty-two premenopausal females (19–49 years; 27–35 kg·m−2) with elevated HOMA-IR (HOMA-IR >1.5) supplemented their habitual diet with two servings/day of a high-flavanol cocoa drink (HFC; 609 mg CF/serving; n = 16) or low-flavanol cocoa drink (LFC; 13 mg CF/serving; n = 16) for 4 weeks. Assessment of HOMA-IR and 'M' during a 3-h, 60 mIU insulin·m−2·min−1 euglycemic clamp was performed before and after the intervention. Data are the mean (SD). Changes to HOMA-IR (HFC −0.003 (0.57); LFC −0.0402 (0.86)) and 'M' (HFC 0.99 (7.62); LFC –1.32 (4.88) µmol·kg−1·min−1) after the intervention were not different between groups. Four weeks' consumption of ~1.2 g CF/day did not improve indices of fasting insulin sensitivity or insulin-mediated glucose uptake. A recommendation for dietary supplementation with cocoa flavanols to improve glycemic control is therefore not established.

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