Chocolate lovers have one more reason to feel good about indulging in their favourite treat: a recent study suggests that eating chocolate regularly may be linked to a slimmer figure.
The study, carried out by scientists at the University of California, San Diego, debunks the popular myth that eating chocolate makes you gain weight.
Researcher Dr. Beatrice Golomb and her colleagues decided to examine the possibility that because of the metabolic benefits of chocolate, eating small amounts of it regularly might in fact be calorie-neutral. That is, the number of calories contained in a morsel of chocolate might be offset by chocolate’s positive metabolic benefits.
Due to its antioxidant phytonutrients and other compounds, dark chocolate is already known to improve insulin resistance, decrease blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels—factors that are believed to play a role in the way fat is stored by the body.
The scientists looked at the eating habits of 1,000 men and women, whose weight and height were also recorded. Study participants were also asked about their exercise habits.
The results suggested that the more often a person ate chocolate, the lower their body mass index (BMI). Specifically, it showed that people who ate chocolate several days per week tended to be thinner than those who did not—even when they ate more total calories and did not exercise more often!
As Dr Golomb points out in a press release: “This is good news—both for those who have a regular chocolate habit, and those who may wish to start one.”
The study appears in the March 26, 2012 edition of Archives of Internal Medicine.
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