Researchers at Cambridge University have claimed they have created a technology to increase absorption of cocoa flavanols so by turning chocolate into "an anti-ageing wonder drug".

Scientists at biotechnology firm Lycotec have modified chocolate with an ingredient they have developed called Coco-Lycosome which allows the body to take in 20 times more of the flavanol molecules contained in chocolate to improve skin oxygenation.

Lycotec founder Dr Ivan Petyaev told The Grocer magazine: "Now everyone can benefit from the intrinsic values of cocoa flavanols without compromising their health and habits."

The Lyotec team estimate that just a small chunk of modified chocolate has the same anti-ageing benefits as two bars of regular chocolate (as long as this is trans-fat free).

Given Britain's growing childhood obesity problem, which sees one in every three children leave secondary school overweight, the breakthrough could have great benefits but nutritionists like Dr Carrie Ruxton want to see more testing and evidence before it is released on to the market.

"Flavanols are clunky molecules and there have been problems with absorption so it sounds interesting," she said.

"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."

 Posted 28/05/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com