As evidence regarding the health benefits of consuming dark chocolate and cocoa mounts, there has been an increasing debate about which cocoa and chocolate products deliver the most beneficial compounds, known as flavanols, and if steps in cocoa and chocolate production diminish the levels of cocoa flavanols.
In a recently published paper, scientists reported on the effect of conventional production methods of cocoa beans on the levels of flavanols, natural antioxidants. The study, conducted by researchers at the Hershey Center for Health & Nutrition®, investigated cocoa beans and cocoa powders and described production steps that retain naturally occurring flavanols and reported that alkali processing causes a loss of up to 98% of one important flavanol, epicatechin, in the final product.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, compared the effects of various common production methods on freshly harvested unfermented and naturally farm-fermented beans. Levels of epicatechin and catechin, a less active flavanol antioxidant, were compared in beans that were unfermented and in beans that underwent medium (about 5 days) and long fermentation (about 10 days). Long fermentation previously has been shown to impact the level of epicatechin in cocoa beans, and the authors reported loss of both flavanols as fermentation time increased. Beans were roasted to temperatures of 120oC and the researchers found that temperatures of 70°C or higher caused some loss (up to 88% at 120oC) of epicatechin. Catechin levels, however, increased as roasting temperature increased. Additionally, natural cocoa powders and powders that had been treated with different levels of alkali also were measured. The study found that by far the greatest flavanol losses occurred during alkali processing. The results also suggested that epicatechin may be converted to catechin by alkali processing.
"This study is meant to address the impact of processing on the level of beneficial flavanol antioxidants found in cocoa beans" said Dr. Mark Payne, lead author of the paper. "We found that the processing step which causes the most loss in the flavanol epicatechin is the alkali processing step. Here the epicatechin, which is thought to be most beneficial, appears to be converted to catechin which has been shown to be less active in the body."
"Most of the world's cocoa beans undergo a natural, field fermentation on the farm and then roasting," said Dr. David A. Stuart, co-director of the Hershey Center. "Both steps are critical to the flavor development for chocolate and cocoa powder. It is important that we understand the balance in creating the wonderful flavor of chocolate with the health benefits of cocoa powder and dark chocolate. This study has gone a long way in furthering that understanding and is the first systematic study of the whole process, from bean to powder, that we are aware of."
The Hershey Center For Health & Nutrition® investigates and promotes the chemistry and health benefits of cocoa, chocolate, nuts and other ingredients.
About The Hershey Company
The Hershey Company (NYSE: HSY) is the largest producer of quality chocolate in North America and a global leader in chocolate and sugar confectionery. Headquartered in Hershey, Pa., The Hershey Company has operations throughout the world and more than 12,000 employees. With revenues of more than $5 billion, Hershey offers such iconic brands as Hershey's, Reese's, Hershey's Kisses, Kit Kat, Twizzlers and Ice Breakers as well as the smooth, creamy indulgence of Hershey's Bliss chocolates. Hershey is a leader in the fast-growing dark and premium chocolate segment, with such brands as Hershey's Special Dark and Hershey's Extra Dark. In addition, Artisan Confections Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Hershey Company, markets such premium chocolate offerings as Scharffen Berger and Dagoba. For more than 100 years, The Hershey Company has been a leader in making a positive difference in the communities where we live, work and do business. The Milton Hershey School, established by the company's founder in 1909, provides a nurturing environment, quality education, housing, and medical care at no cost to children in social and financial need. The School is administered by the Hershey Trust Company, Hershey's largest shareholder, making the students of Milton Hershey School direct beneficiaries of Hershey's success. Please visit us at www.hersheys.com.
Mark J Payne | EurekAlert!
Raiding the rape field
23.05.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg
New technique reveals details of forest fire recovery
17.05.2018 | DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
The historic first detection of gravitational waves from colliding black holes far outside our galaxy opened a new window to understanding the universe. A...
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
12.04.2018 | Event News
24.05.2018 | Ecology, The Environment and Conservation
24.05.2018 | Medical Engineering
24.05.2018 | Physics and Astronomy