Modified chocolate to slow down ageing

Updated: May 29, 2012, 08:55 AM IST

London: Do you love chocolates? Then, here’s some good news for you — eating a modified form of the sweet treat could slow down your ageing process, scientists claim.

Scientists at biotechnology firm Lycotec in the UK have modified chocolate with Coco-Lycosome, an ingredient they have developed, that boosted the power of cocoa flavanols by up to 20 times compared with unmodified chocolate.

Cocoa flavanols are the molecules contained in chocolate that improve skin oxygenation, which is an essential factor in slowing the ageing process, the researchers said.

A small chunk of this modified chocolate has the same anti-ageing benefits as two bars of Cadbury Dairy Milk, the researchers said, hoping their feat could transforms chocolate into an anti-ageing wonder drug, the Daily Mail reported.

“Two bars a day may be good news for chocoholics but not everybody loves chocolate that much,” Dr Ivan Petyaev, founder of Lycotec, was quoted as saying. “But now everyone can benefit from the intrinsic values of cocoa flavanols without compromising their health and habits.”

Dr Petyaev added that the technology had no impact on the taste or texture of chocolate and that the ingredient was safe and accepted by the industry. “It’s ready for the market.”

But nutritionist said they want to see more evidence. “They are definitely on the right track. Flavanols are clunky molecules and there have been problems with absorption so it sounds interesting,” said Dr Carrie Ruxton.

“But before I get excited I want some concrete end points that the consumer would experience. And you always have to balance the benefits with any detrimental effects. “If you are looking at increased consumption of chocolate you will see an increase in calories and saturated fat.”