Food formulation with bioactive ingredients is a potential strategy to promote satiety and weight management. Whey proteins are high in leucine and are shown to decrease hunger ratings and increase satiety hormone levels; cocoa polyphenolics moderate glucose levels and slow digestion. This study examined the effects of cocoa and whey proteins on lipid and glucose metabolism and satiety in vitro and in a clinical trial. In vitro, 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were treated with 0.5-100 μg/mL cocoa polyphenolic extract (CPE) and/or 1-15 mM leucine (Leu) and assayed for lipid accumulation and leptin production. In vivo, a 6-week clinical trial consisted of nine panelists (age: 22.6 ± 1.7; BMI: 22.3 ± 2.1) consuming chocolate-protein beverages once per week, including placebo, whey protein isolate (WPI), low polyphenolic cocoa (LP), high polyphenolic cocoa (HP), LP-WPI, and HP-WPI. Measurements included blood glucose and adiponectin levels, and hunger ratings at baseline and 0.5-4.0 h following beverage consumption. At levels of 50 and 100 μg/mL, CPE significantly inhibited preadipocyte lipid accumulation by 35% and 50%, respectively, and by 22% and 36% when combined with 15 mM Leu. Leu treatment increased adipocyte leptin production by 26-37%. In the clinical trial, all beverages significantly moderated blood glucose levels 30 min postconsumption. WPI beverages elicited lowest peak glucose levels and HP levels were significantly lower than LP. The WPI and HP beverage treatments significantly increased adiponectin levels, but elicited no significant changes in hunger ratings. These trends suggest that combinations of WPI and cocoa polyphenols may improve markers of metabolic syndrome and satiety.
Keywords: adipocyte; adiponectin; blood glucose; flavanols; leptin; lipid metabolism.