Newly published research from Penn State University suggests that adding a hefty dose of cocoa powder to your daily diet may help improve health factors related to obesity. The study involved mice but the results may be applicable to humans, as well, according to the researchers — though hitting an equivalent dose may be a bit difficult at 10 tablespoons per day.
Cocoa, of course, is the main ingredient in chocolate, though chocolate tends to add in other ingredients that are best consumed in limited quantities, including fat and sugar. This new study focused on cocoa powder, not chocolate, which was fed to mice on a high-fat diet. The rodents had non-alcoholic liver disease.
The cocoa powder, which was dosed at the equivalent of around 10 tablespoons for a human, was linked to notable health improvements in the mice, including a 21-percent lower weight gain rate when compared to mice that weren’t given the cocoa powder.
The cocoa-fed mice also had 28-percent less liver fat, 56-percent lower oxidative stress levels, smaller spleen weights, and 75-percent lower liver DNA damage. The exact reason cocoa may have this impact isn’t clear, but it may be due to the various compounds found in chocolate and their potential ability to block dietary fat digestion.
The researchers caution that overweight people shouldn’t try to consume 10 tablespoons of cocoa powder daily in hope of getting these benefits. However, the team does suggest that getting some cocoa in your diet, such as using it to replace snacks, may be beneficial.