Love Chocolate? New Study Says You Likely Weigh Less

03/29/2012

Chocolate lover mainA new study found that people who ate chocolate regularly had lower body mass indexes (BMI) than those that didn’t. The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine followed 1,000 healthy men and women, free of heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol problems, according to CBS News. Researchers looked specifically at their intake of chocolate.

The average participant was 57 years old and ate chocolate two times per week. They also exercised an average of 3.5 times per week. The study found that those who regularly consumed chocolate in small amounts had lower BMIs. 

Researchers think that the phytonutrients found in chocolate may help speed metabolism. Phytonutrients are certain organic compounds found in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, and apparently chocolate, that promote human health. Phytonutrients are not essential for human health like other nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, and fat, so many call them phytochemicals. 

 "I was pretty happy with this news myself," study author Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego, told USA Today. "Findings show the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining ultimate weight."

This shows that it’s not just the amount of calories that you eat, but what you eat that matters, especially when you consider the caloric density of a food like chocolate. 

Mehmet Oz and Mike Roizen, authors of YOU: On a Diet, answered some important questions on the specifics of dark chocolate consumption. According to the article in the Sun Setinel, you don’t need a whole bar to get a healthy dose of antioxidants. The flavonoids in dark chocolate are so powerful that a daily piece the size of a Hershey’s Kiss is plenty.

Chocolate lover inline
Photo: Thinkstock

While this is an ideal size comparison, it’s not a good quality comparison because the chocolate cannot be milk chocolate. The chocolate should be fair trade, organic, and at least 70 percent cocoa. Avoid any filling like peanut butter, which could be laced with hydrogenated oils.

Photo: Pixland 

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More on Chocolate
What Makes Chocolate Fair Trade Certified? Emeril Answers (Video) 
5 Unexpected Foods That Prevent Insomnia and 5 Foods That Promote It
Organic Dark Chocolate Cake


Sara Novak writes about health and wellness for Discovery Health. Her work is also regularly featured in Breathe Magazine and on SereneKitchen.com. She has written extensively on food policy, food politics, and food safety.


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