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J Proteome Res. 2012 Dec 7;11(12):6252-63. doi: 10.1021/pr300915z. Epub 2012 Nov 19.

Specific dietary preferences are linked to differing gut microbial metabolic activity in response to dark chocolate intake.

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Nestlé Research Center, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, CH-1000 Lausanne 26, Switzerland.


Systems biology approaches are providing novel insights into the role of nutrition for the management of health and disease. In the present study, we investigated if dietary preference for dark chocolate in healthy subjects may lead to different metabolic response to daily chocolate consumption. Using NMR- and MS-based metabolic profiling of blood plasma and urine, we monitored the metabolic response of 10 participants stratified as chocolate desiring and eating regularly dark chocolate (CD) and 10 participants stratified as chocolate indifferent and eating rarely dark chocolate (CI) to a daily consumption of 50 g of dark chocolate as part of a standardized diet over a one week period. We demonstrated that preference for chocolate leads to different metabolic response to chocolate consumption. Daily intake of dark chocolate significantly increased HDL cholesterol by 6% and decreased polyunsaturated acyl ether phospholipids. Dark chocolate intake could also induce an improvement in the metabolism of long chain fatty acid, as noted by a compositional change in plasma fatty acyl carnitines. Moreover, a relationship between regular long-term dietary exposure to a small amount of dark chocolate, gut microbiota, and phenolics was highlighted, providing novel insights into biological processes associated with cocoa bioactives.

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