It is no secret that a growing number of consumers are turning to more health-enhancing products, and this trend has also made itself felt in the chocolate industry. Barry Callebaut has been quick to respond with thorough research into the chocolate-making process.
Barry Callebaut has developed ACTICOA™, a revolutionary process for making chocolate with high concentrations of polyphenols. Polyphenols are powerful substances with very positive effects on many bodily functions, such as brain function and the immune system.
New research is adding weight to long-suspected links between cocoa and the prevention of cancer. A study published in the August edition of the European Journal for Cancer Prevention shows the active role of cocoa-bean polyphenols in inhibiting the growth of certain human cancer-cells.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants thought to have a range of positive effects on human-cognitive functions, helping to protect the body against the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals can initiate chemical reactions that cause damage to cells and DNA and are believed to play a role in degenerative disorders such as heart-disease and cancer.
It has been known for some time that cocoa is a rich source of nutritional and physiologically-active components. New research is beginning to demonstrate the positive effects of cocoa on general brain-function, the immune system, cardiovascular disease and certain forms of cancer.
Not only is the cocoa bean one of the richest natural sources of polyphenols, but the particular sub-type most abundant in cocoa – the so-called flavanols – have also been shown to be among the most active antioxidants known to man.
This latest independent-study, published in the August 2006 edition of the European Journal for Cancer Prevention, examines the effects of certain cocoa-extracts on the growth and activity of cancer cells. In particular, the study outlines findings of a range of in-vitro experiments on the inhibitory effects of different cocoa polyphenols on the growth of two human prostate cancer cell lines – nonmetastatic 22Rv1 cells and metastatic DU145 cells.
The experiments involved exposing the prostate cancer cells to very small amounts of cocoa polyphenols. The results demonstrated that, even at low concentrations of around 0.02%, the cocoa extracts induced a complete inhibition of cancer-cell growth, without any effects on normal, healthy prostate cells. The tests demonstrated that cocoa polyphenols were efficacious in inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.
Hans Vriens, Chief Innovation Officer at Barry Callebaut, explains: "Barry Callebaut is truly committed to innovation. ACTICOA is one outcome of our efforts to respond to the consumer demand for healthy and functional foods. Our research has been very fruitful and has led to some remarkable discoveries, which we’re keen to share with our customers, consumers and the public at large."
Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA chocolate is now the richest natural-source of antioxidants, containing a much higher polyphenol concentration than red wine and green tea. In fact, dark ACTICOA chocolate contains twice as many cocoa polyphenols as standard dark chocolate.
ACTICOA milk chocolate contains as many cocoa polyphenols as standard dark chocolate, and four times more than standard milk chocolate. With new discoveries being made into the lasting effects of these magical compounds, Barry Callebaut is rapidly changing the way we look at chocolate.