Chocolate manufacturer Barry Callebaut secured the positive opinion from EFSA.
Barry Callebaut (Zurich, Switzerland) just secured a positive opinion for a health claim for cocoa flavanols and healthy blood flow. The health claim will be the first earned for cocoa in the European Union.
Raw cocoa beans are highly concentrated with flavanols. When derived from cocoa, these plant compounds have been linked to potential benefits for cognition and mood, cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood circulation.
EFSA (Parma, Italy) concluded that enough data is available to support a link between cocoa flavanol consumption and the maintenance of normal endothelium-dependent vasodilation. In fact, several studies suggest that consuming high amounts of cocoa flavanols can support healthy blood flow even in at-risk populations, such as smokers, overweight subjects, diabetics, and the elderly.
Efficacy, however, appears to rely on very high amounts of cocoa flavanols.
Because traditional chocolate manufacturing relies on high-heat processing which can destroy flavanols, companies like Barry Callebaut have focused their efforts on creating advanced processes that retain high amounts of flavanols in finished cocoa and chocolate ingredients. EFSA’s opinion is based on findings with Barry Callebaut’s ACTICOA process, which the company says preserves up to 80% of raw cocoa flavanols.
In order to obtain the claimed effect on healthy blood circulation, EFSA recommends daily consumption of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols (2.5 g of high-flavanol cocoa powder or 10 g of high-flavanol dark chocolate).