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Exploring Peruvian cocoa populations and their influence on rat metabolism
1, 2 , 3 , 3 , 1, 2 , 1, 2 , 4 , * 1, 2, 5
1  Department of Biochemistry and Physiology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Food Science, University of Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
2  Institute of Research in Nutrition and Food Safety (INSA-UB), Santa Coloma, Spain
3  Carrera de Ingeniería Agroindustrial, Facultad de Ingeniería, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, Lima, Perú
4  Instituto de Ciencias de Los Alimentos y Nutrición, Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola (USIL), Lima, Perú
5  Centro de Investigación Biomédica en Red de Fisiopatología de la Obesidad y la Nutrición (CIBEROBN), Ins-tituto de Salud Carlos III, 28029 Madrid, Spain
Academic Editor: Maria Luz Fernandez


Cocoa-enriched diets, which provide specific flavonoids depending on their origin, have garnered interest for their potential metabolism benefits. The aim of the present study was to characterize two Peruvian cocoa populations and to determine their influence on rat metabolism. For this purpose, after characterizing the phytochemical composition and the in vitro antioxidant activity of CCN51 and JL2 Peruvian cocoa populations, Wistar rats were fed with one of these cocoa populations (10% W/W) or a standard diet for 4 weeks. At the end, an oral glucose tolerance test was carried out. Moreover, visceral adiposity index and fecal pH (indicative of microbiota changes) were measured. The JL2 cocoa showed a higher content of total polyphenols, catechin and epigallocatechin-3-gallate than CCN51 cocoa. Furthermore, it demonstrated higher in vitro antioxidant activity than CCN51 cocoa. In vivo effects showed no significant differences in glycemia among the three groups of rats fed different diets, but animals fed any cocoa diet showed lower visceral adiposity than those fed with standard diet. In addition, lower fecal pH was observed after both cocoa diets. In conclusion, two distinct Peruvian cocoa populations with varying polyphenol composition did induce similar effects on rat metabolism when administered as 10% of the diet for 4 weeks.

Funding: Fondo Especial USIL 2022-02 and INSA Maria de Maeztu Unit of Excellence grant (CEX2021-001234-M) by MICIN/AEI/FEDER, UE.

Keywords: Theobroma cacao, polyphenols, metabolism