Researchers from the Department of Metabolism and Nutrition (ICTAN) have shown the beneficial effects of consuming fibre-rich cocoa products.
In a randomized cross-over intervention involving 44 healthy men and women (18-55 y), volunteers consumed two servings of soluble cocoa products, providing 2.26 and 6.60 g of total non-starch polysaccharides (dietary fibre) per day, added to a typical Spanish diet for 4 weeks, respectively.
The results showed that the regular consumption of the cocoa products increased fibre intake to recommended levels without leading to an increase in body weight. Moreover, these cocoa products (especially that with the highest fibre content) improved bowel habits, reducing the intestinal transit time and facilitating daily bowel movements without inducing adverse gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal pain, bloating, etc.). These positive effects on the intestinal comfort were assessed using both subjective and objective questionnaires, as well as a fecal marker to assess effects of the cocoa products on bowel habits.
Considering that fibre intakes in Western populations are commonly below the recommended values (>25 g/day) and the recognized beneficial effects of dietary fibre on gastrointestinal function, cardiovascular health, and other common diseases, cocoa products proved to be an efficacious and tasty alternative to increase fibre intake and improve intestinal habits.