If you’ve been avoiding chocolate because it makes you fat, think again. The latest research has found that eating chocolate often can make you skinnier.
A study at the University of California, San Diego, found that eating certain types of chocolate is linked to better measurements of blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol levels, and a lower body mass index.
The authors tested the hypothesis that modest, regular chocolate consumption might be calorie-neutral. In other words, the metabolic benefits of eating small chocolate portions might lead to reduced fat deposition per calories, offsetting the added calories.
The study surveyed 1,018 men and women in good health. They were asked how often they ate chocolate, answered a food frequency questionnaire, and were weighed.
Writing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the authors said: “Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often.”
The size of the effect was modest but the effect was significant – larger than could be explained by chance, the authors wrote.
This was despite the fact that those who ate chocolate more often ate more calories, and did not exercise more.
Study leader Dr Beatrice Golomb said: “Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight.
“In the case of chocolate, this is good news – both for those who have a regular chocolate habit, and those who may wish to start one.”
The authors said the findings merit a further randomised trial of chocolate for metabolic benefits in humans.