Dietary Flavanols May Help Lower Body Fat

Flavanols (FL) are another subclass of flavonoids that exist in a variety of chemical forms and derivatives. Flavanols are the predominant pigments in wine, tea, and cocoa. The consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa, chocolate, and tea has been associated with the decreased risk of some vascular diseases, including cardiac events and strokes and improvements in blood pressure. 

Flavanols are thought to be able to influence the mitochondrial function both by activation and control of processes important to programmed cell death, that is, apoptosis.

Studies have suggested that flavanols-rich foods have significant potential in managing cardiovascular health, improving cholesterol levels, and increasing glucose tolerance. 

New Study Results 

In a recently published study, researchers from Japan set out to increase the knowledge around flavonols. The study was published in the journal Nutrients. 

The researchers did 2 experiments to evaluate the benefits of flavonols. In the first experiments, the scientist randomly divided mice into 2 treatment groups, one was fed a single dose of cocoa-derived diet, while the other group, not fed an FL-rich diet, was used as a control group. They collected 24-hour urine samples in both groups to measure catecholamine levels pre and post-oral administration of the diet. 

In the second experiment, they also used 2 groups, one of them was fed a cocoa-derived FL diet for 14 days, and the second group was not fed a FL-rich diet and also served as a control group. After the treatment period, they harvested white and brown adipose tissues from both groups to evaluate the effects of sympathetic nervous system (SNS) activity on the structure and function of these tissues. 

The researchers found that the diet led to the activation of the SNS and a significant increase in catecholamine levels. 

For the first experiments, they discovered that over 24 hours after a single dose of FL-rich diet the amount of catecholamines had a significant increase. In contrast, the control group maintained the same levels of catecholamines before and after the regular diet. 

In the second experiment, they found an increase in the expression of browning protein markers in brown adipose tissues after the FL-rich diet. 

The researchers conclude that oral administration of FLs activates the SNS and is associated with fat browning, which consists in converting white into brown adipose tissue. By doing so, adipose tissue breaks down blood sugar and fat molecules, burning calories and helping control blood sugar and insulin levels, decreasing the risk of conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.  


Hassan Yahaya. (2022, Jan 18). Dietary flavanols may help lower body fat. Medical News Today. Retrieved from:

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