Cacao & Diabetes
Recent studies from BYU have demonstrated that cacao could help treat or control diabetes naturally. The researchers have isolated a particular set of compounds in cacao, epicatechin monomers, which they say can help boost insulin production and control blood sugar levels.
Study author Jeffery Tessem, assistant professor of Nutrition, dietetics and food science at BYU, explained: “What happens is it’s protecting the cells, it’s increasing their ability to deal with oxidative stress. The epicatechin monomers are making the mitochondria in the beta cells stronger, which produces more ATP (a cell’s energy source), which then results in more insulin being released.”
In addition to newly discovered epicatechin monomers, cacao in particular minimally processed cacao, contains high levels of polyphenols which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties (which protect the body from oxidative damage). Polyphenols in dark chocolate and cacao may improve how well insulin works in the body. This may help control blood sugar, according to research published in Endocrine Abstracts. Such improved insulin sensitivity may delay, or even prevent, the onset of diabetes.
A study published by the journal Appetite found that people who eat chocolate, including dark chocolate, at least once a week had a lower prevalence of diabetes and were at lower risk for diabetes four to five years later. The analysis of 908 nondiabetic people and 45 people with diabetes discovered that people who ate such chocolate less than once weekly were at twice the risk of diabetes versus those who ate it more than one day per week.
The problem with most chocolates is that they are produced utilizing very high amounts of added sugars. This obviously would negate much of the health benefits of the epicatechin monomers and the high level of polyphenols provide. This is why CoBē cocoa beans are produced with no added sugars so that it has a low glycemic index.
Please understand that diabetes is growing problem that affects more American than one might suspect. The following statistics were pulled directly from the the diabetesstatistics.org
How many people have diabetes?
- 2 million people, or 10.5% of the U.S. population, have diabetes. An estimated 26.8 million people - or 10.2% of the population - had diagnosed diabetes. Approximately 7.3 million people have diabetes but have not yet been diagnosed (2018).
- Diabetes impacts all social, economic, and ethnic backgrounds.
- Type 1 diabetes accounts for about 5.2% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, affecting approximately 1.6 million people.
New Cases of Diabetes in Adults and Children
- In 2018, an estimated 1.5 million new cases of diabetes were diagnosed among U.S. adults aged 18 years or older.
- This includes approximately 210,000 children and adolescents younger than age 20 years.
- During 2014-2015, the estimated annual number of newly diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes in the U.S. included 18,291 children and adolescents younger than age 20*.
- The annual number of children and adolescents age 10 - 19 years diagnosed with type 2 diabetes was 5,758.
At CoBē we believe that we need to do everything we can to help support people suffering with diabetes and help prevent people from contracting this deadly disease.
As a parent of a chocoholic daughter that constantly craves sweets, I have found comfort in giving her CoBē cacao beans as a healthy alternative. I find that 1 bag can easily be divided into 3 or 4 snacks as they are so filling and nutrient dense.