Barry Callebaut funds research into health enhancing chocolate

News Release
Developing special chocolate for diabetics
  • Barry Callebaut funds research into the positive effects of cocoa butter on diabetes
  • The world’s leading chocolate maker aims to develop a health enhancing chocolate for diabetics
Barry Callebaut, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa and chocolate, is exploring the health benefits of cocoa butter for diabetics. Studies conducted by the Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) in Stockholm, Sweden, found that cocoa butter might be better for diabetics than other fats. Barry Callebaut is funding a research project at the CMM to find out which component of the cocoa butter is responsible for this effect and whether it would be possible to develop a health enhancing chocolate for diabetes sufferers.
The positive effect of cocoa butter on diabetes was discovered during a study by CMM Associate Professor Petra Tollet-Egnell to determine why men and women are affected differently by diabetes. The study tried to create insulin resistance in male and female rats by feeding them a diet rich in different kinds of fats. To everyone’s surprise, the animals on a cocoa fat diet developed better insulin sensitivity than those fed with other kinds of fat, despite similar lipid content in the liver. Barry Callebaut is funding CMM research to identify the cocoa butter component responsible for the positive effect on diabetes. If animal studies show satisfactory results, the project will later include clinical trials on humans.
“The goal of this study is to understand the molecular mechanisms behind these positive effects to produce a special chocolate for diabetics, which would allow them to enjoy chocolate without having to worry about their condition,” Professor Tollet-Egnell said.
The research project on special chocolate for diabetics underlines Barry Callebaut’s commitment to develop chocolate with health-promoting attributes.
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Diabetes is a common disease with over 180 million people affected worldwide. The disease makes the sugar levels in the blood rise to dangerous levels. In healthy people, the sugar levels are regulated by insulin, an important compound that diabetics are lacking (type 1 diabetes) or are insensitive to (type 2 diabetes). The risk factors for type 2 diabetes can be found in both our genetic inheritance and our life style. Physical inactivity, tobacco, visceral obesity, stress and lack of sleep are life style related factors that are responsible for the epidemic rise of type 2 diabetes.
Center for Molecular Medicine (CMM) is an independent research foundation, which gathers approximately 350 researchers. Its focus is on common diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, rheumatic diseases, psoriasis, psychiatric diseases and cancer. CMM’s 26 research groups consist of both scientists from Karolinska Institutet and clinicians from the Karolinska University Hospital, which are the largest medical institutions in Sweden.
Barry Callebaut:
With annual sales of more than CHF 4 billion for fiscal year 2005/06, Zurich-based Barry Callebaut is the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality cocoa, chocolate and confectionery products – from the cocoa bean to the finished product on the store shelf. Barry Callebaut is present in 24 countries, operates more than 30 production facilities and employs approximately 7,500 people. The company serves the entire food industry, from food manufacturers to professional users of chocolate (such as chocolatiers, pastry chefs or bakers), to global retailers. It also provides a comprehensive range of services in the fields of product development, processing, training and marketing. 
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