Flavanols and Health – Epidemiological Considerations by Prof. Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, University of Reading „Can flavanols protect against hypertension and cardiovascular disease? "There‘s no clear answer to this," Prof. Dr. Gunter Kuhnle, Department of Food & Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, told the audiance at the DietBB seminar on 20 February 2017 in Bonn. Flavanols, in particular the (-) - epicatechin, have long been believed to have beneficial effects on the vascular system. In recent years, data from anthropological and dietary intervention studies have supported the claim of a beneficial effect. "This has even resulted in a health claim by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA)“, Kuhnle stated.
EFSA recommends a daily intake of 200 mg of cocoa flavanols (corresponding to 27 mg of epicatechin) to benefit from positive effects. Intervention studies lead to other quantities, which, however, vary widely. On average, the recommendation is 545 mg per day.
"Looking at the results of all available studies in their entirety, flavanols actually seem to have a protective effect on the vessels," emphasized the biochemist. "We know there is an effect, but epidemiological studies don‘t support this. In addition, data is not as strong as often claimed. Measurement methods are not standardized and the type of intake in the general public varies."
Kuhnle thinks, public health recommendations don’t make sense. "With usual eating habits recommended quantities can‘t be reached. Tea and fruit are good suppliers. However, an increased consumption of fruit leads to an unwanted high sugar intake."