Diabetes Control Diet
We will now look at several specific studies and their results relating to diabetes control.
By introducing a consistent, high quality source of the flavanols found in dark chocolate, insulin function is improved, blood sugar is better controlled, blood pressure is lowered, and the threat of blood sugar build up and pre-diabetes is lessened.
A recent study at the University of L'Aquila in Italy confirmed these vascular effects. Over a 15 day period, 15 healthy test subjects were given 100g of a typical dark chocolate, (with 500 mg of flavonoids), and 15 others were given 100g of white chocolate (which has NO measurable flavonoids).
After a 7 day washout period following the first test, the groups were reversed and tested for another 15 days. At the end of each period, oral glucose tolerance tests were performed to calculate the insulin resistance and the quantitative insulin sensitivity. Systolic blood pressure was also checked.
Davide Grassi published the results in the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition":
"Dark, but not white, chocolate decreases blood pressure and improves insulin sensitivity in healthy persons."
"Nitric oxide bioavailability deeply influences insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and vascular tone."
"These findings indicate that dark chocolate may exert a protective action on the vascular endothelium also by improving insulin sensitivity".
A sidebar of note for current or pre-diabetics.
Obesity is a known risk factor for insulin resistance. Cocoa powder (the origin of dark chocolate) has been proven to be an effective appetite suppressant. A check of the ingredients on the label of many of the popular diet supplements will list cocoa powder high on the list.
So, a portion of good quality dark chocolate before a meal will not only provide your vascular system with a needed antioxidant boost, but you may also gain benefit against the 'battle of the bulge'.
Another healthy dark chocolate fact for diabetics is the type of fat contained in cocoa.
Two thirds of the fats in dark chocolate are 'heart healthy'. A study published in "Free Radical Biology Medicine" found that dark chocolate "actually increased HDL (good cholesterol) concentrations and reduced the oxidation of the total cholesterol".
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