Flavanol Science

PLEASE NOTE: Cocoa Elite is providing this section for knowledge purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend you consult with a licensed health care professional before starting any diet or exercise program.

Flavanols and You**

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report (page 252 of 453) identified reasonable evidence to support that modest consumption of cocoa or dark chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease when made part of a healthy lifestyle.
This is mainly attributed to the flavanols found in the cocoa bean. Flavanols are what provides cocoa with its distinctive healthy characteristics. In recent years, flavanols have been widely studied for their impact on health.

Flavanols and Athletic Performance**

Our current research is also finding that the cocoa flavanols might even be contributing to athletic performance by increasing endurance and improvements in recovery.

It’s a fable that the darker the chocolate the more abundant the flavanols. Cocoa products which are rich in flavanols should not be confused with chocolate candy-type bars and drinks. Most of those products have a significant reduction in flavanol content. Not to mention the added sugars and fats. It all starts with how the cocoa bean is handled during planting of the tree to the finished product. Beginning with selection of the cocoa plant, farming techniques, fermentation, drying, roasting and alkalization, the natural flavanols are readily destroyed. In fact as much as 90% of flavanols could be lost before the final product is delivered to you for consumption.

A number of studies have demonstrated that eating chocolate and cocoa products which have at least 200 mg of flavanols can help support the cardiovascular system.**

In order to maximize your athletic performance, you need to think about nutrition almost as much as your workouts and recovery days. Regardless of your status: a casual sports participator, a professional athlete, a bodybuilder or just someone who enjoys exercise, what you eat after training matters most!

Carbohydrates and proteins are the foundation of recovery. Now cocoa flavanols are being added to this structure as perhaps the footer! When taken at the right time, and in the right amounts, cocoa flavanols, proteins and carbohydrates are critical to enhancing your recovery. Thus, making sure that none of your hard work goes without benefit. When we think of carbs we envision a big bowl of pasta eaten before a rigorous activity intended to build a stockpile of energy. When we think of proteins we think of muscle growth and repair. Now we need to also think of consuming cocoa flavanols! This is the focus of  our research.

Below are some additional research material to further expand your knowledge on this topic. Even the American Heart Association is a rich source of resources and publications for further information on cocoa and heart health.

Publications and references

PLEASE NOTE: Cocoa Elite is providing this section for knowledge purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. We recommend you consult with a licensed health care professional before starting any diet or exercise program.

Links to additional information about Cocoa, Flavanol, Athletic Performance and Health
Further reading list for additional knowledge about Cocoa, Flavanol, Athletic Performance and Health

1. Tipton K, Elliott T, Cree M, Wolf S, Sanford A, Wolfe R. Ingestion of casein and whey proteins result in muscle anabolism after resistance exercise. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2004;36: 2073-2081

2. Fraga CG, Actis-Goretta L, Ottaviani JI, et al. Regular Consumption of a Flavanol-rich Chocolate can Improve Oxidant Stress in Young Soccer Players.Clinical and Developmental Immunology. 2005;12(1):11-17. doi:10.1080/10446670410001722159.

3. Karp JR, Johnston JD, Tecklenburg S, Mickleborough TD, Fly AD, Stager JM. Chocolate milk as a post-exercise recovery aid. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 2006;16:78-91

4. Wilkinson S, Tarnopolsky M, MacDonald M, MacDonald J, Armstrong D, Phillips S. Consumption of fat-free fluid milk after resistance exercise promotes greater lean mass accretion than does consumption of soy or carbohydrate in young, novice, male weightlifters. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007;85:1031–40

5. Cockburn E, Hayes PR, French DN, Stevenson E, St Clair Gibson A. Acute milk-based protein-CHO supplementation attenuates exercise-induced muscle damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition & Metabolism. 2008;33:775-783

6. Berry NM, Davison K, Coates AM, Buckley JD, Howe PR (2009) Impact of cocoa flavanol consumption on blood pressure responsiveness to exercise. Br J Nutr. 103(10):1480-1484.

7. Thomas K, Morris P, Stevenson E. Improved endurance capacity following chocolate milk consumption compared with 2 commercially available sport drinks. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2009;34:78-82

8. 2. Cockburn E, Stevenson E, Hayes PR, Robson-Ansley P, Howatson G, Effect of milk-based carbohydrate-protein supplement timing on the attenuation of exercise-induced muscular damage. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 2010;35:270-277

9. Lunn WR, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Anderson JM, Pasiakos SM, Ferrando AA, Wolfe RR, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk consumption following endurance exercise affects skeletal muscle protein fractional synthetic rate and intracellular signaling. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2010;42:S48

10. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave E, Ding Z, Doerner Iii PG, Liu Y, Wang B, Healy M, Kleinert M, Dessard B, Lassiter DG, Kammer L, Ivy JL. Aerobic exercise training adaptations are increased by postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation. Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism. 2011. Epub

11. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave EL, Ding Z, Doerner PG, Wang B, Liao YH, Kammer L, Liu Y, Hwang J, Dessard BM, Ivy JL. Post exercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 2011;25:1210-1224

12. Lunn WR, Pasiakos SM, Colletto MR, Karfonta KE, Carbone JW, Anderson JM, Rodriguez NR. Chocolate milk & endurance exercise recovery: protein balance, glycogen and performance. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise. 2012;44:682-691

13. Myburgh KH. Polyphenol Supplementation: Benefits for Exercise Performance or Oxidative Stress? Sports Medicine(Auckland, N.z).2014;44(Suppl 1):57-70.doi:10.1007/s40279-014-0151-4.

14. Stager JM, Brammer CL, Sossong T, Kojima K, Spanbaur D, Grand K, Wright BV. Supplemental recovery nutrition affects swim performance following glycogen depleting exercise. Presented at the American College of Sports Medicine, 2014