Effects of Cacao By-Products and a Modest Weight Loss Intervention on the Concentration of Serum Triglycerides in Overweight Subjects: Proof of Concept.
J Med Food. 2020 Apr 15. Epub 2020 Apr 15. PMID: 32286894
Therapeutic approaches to decrease serum triglyceride (TG) concentrations are not successful mainly due to poor adherence or adverse effects of therapies. In consequence, the search for new low-cost and safer therapeutic alternatives is mandatory. Dark chocolate and cacao have shown promising results improving lipid profiles. Recently, using cacao by-products to reduce elevated cardiometabolic risk markers in an animal model of obesity induced by a high-fat diet and fructose, we showed that TGs, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and the TG/high-density lipoprotein (HDL) ratio decreased, suggesting that cacao by-products improved the metabolic function of obese animals. Based on these results, as a proof of concept, a blinded placebo-controlled study was implemented to explore the effects of cacao by-products on anthropometric and biochemical variables in a group of overweight subjects participating in a program composed of reduced-calorie-diet counseling plus a simple aerobic exercise plan. The results showed that counseling induced weight and abdominal circumference reductions in both groups. TGs did not change in the control group; however, TG decreased significantly by 54.9 mg/dL (27.9%) in the experimental group. The TG/HDL cholesterol ratio changed markedly (1.5) in the experimental group. The results reported suggest the use of cacao by-products as an alternative for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia.