Oligomeric cocoa procyanidins possess enhanced bioactivity compared to monomeric and polymeric cocoa procyanidins for preventing the development of obesity, insulin resistance, and impaired glucose tolerance during high-fat feeding

J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Mar 12;62(10):2216-27. doi: 10.1021/jf500333y. Epub 2014 Mar 3.


There is interest in the potential of cocoa flavanols, including monomers and procyanidins, to prevent obesity and type-2 diabetes. Fermentation and processing of cocoa beans influence the qualitative and quantitative profiles of individual cocoa constituents. Little is known regarding how different cocoa flavanols contribute to inhibition of obesity and type-2 diabetes. The objective of this study was to compare the impacts of long-term dietary exposure to cocoa flavanol monomers, oligomers, and polymers on the effects of high-fat feeding. Mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with either a cocoa flavanol extract or a flavanol fraction enriched with monomeric, oligomeric, or polymeric procyanidins for 12 weeks. The oligomer-rich fraction proved to be most effective in preventing weight gain, fat mass, impaired glucose tolerance, and insulin resistance in this model. This is the first long-term feeding study to examine the relative activities of cocoa constituents on diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biflavonoids / chemistry*
  • Biflavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Body Composition / drug effects
  • Cacao / chemistry*
  • Catechin / chemistry*
  • Catechin / pharmacology*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Flavonols / analysis
  • Flavonols / chemistry*
  • Flavonols / pharmacology*
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / prevention & control*
  • Proanthocyanidins / chemistry*
  • Proanthocyanidins / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Biflavonoids
  • Flavonols
  • Proanthocyanidins
  • procyanidin
  • Catechin