In recent years, the incidence of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, obesity, and diabetes has increased largely worldwide. In the present work, we evaluated the genoprotective effect of the consumption of flavonoids-rich chocolate on 84 young volunteers. Biochemical indicators related to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular risk and metabolic syndrome were also determined. A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study was performed in the Autonomous University of Baja California. The treatments comprised the daily consumption of either 2 g of dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa, or 2 g of milk chocolate, for 6 months. The total amount of phenolic compounds and flavonoids was determined in both types of chocolate. Anthropometrical and Biochemical parameters were recorded prior to and after the study. The evaluation of the genotoxicity in buccal epithelial cells was performed throughout the duration of the study. Flavonoids from cocoa in dark chocolate significantly prevented DNA damage, and improved the nucleus integrity of cells. This effect could be related to the antioxidant capacity of the dark chocolate that decreased cellular stress. Biochemical parameters (total cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL-cholesterol level in blood) and anthropometrical parameters (waist circumference) were improved after six months of daily intake of 2 g of dark chocolate with a 70% of cocoa.
Keywords: dark chocolate; flavonoids; genotoxicity; glucose metabolism; lipid metabolism.