For a long time chocolate has been stigmatized by dieters for being high in fat, calories and sugar. In the past few years studies have shown that the antiooxidants found in dark chocolate could be a boon to health. Now, a recent study done by the University of San Diego, and examined by NPR.com, shows that chocolate could be about more than sweet treats and antioxidants.
“…this new research, along with some prior studies, suggests chocolate may favorably influence metabolism.”
In other words, those who ate chocolate frequently (about five times a week, according to the study) were generally thinner than their non-chocoholic counterparts. Despite the fact that chocolate eaters took in more calories per day, their body mass index was lower.
“How much lower? For a 5-foot-tall woman, weighing about 120 pounds, the study found that she was likely to be about 5 pounds lighter if she was a frequent eater of chocolate…”
The most notable conclusion this study illuminates is not the correlation between chocolate and weight loss.
“The researchers found that chocolate’s correlation to thinness started to melt away among the participants who consumed the most.”
Instead, the study shows that the old “calories in, calories out” model of weight management may not be entirely accurate.
“When [food scientist Joshua Lambert of Penn State University] investigated some specific polyphenols found in cocoa, he found that they potently inhibit an enzyme, called pancreatic lipase, that’s responsible for digesting dietary fat.
“This means that the fat in chocolate may exit our bodies before it has a chance to be absorbed. Or, in other words, these compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.”
So break off a square of chocolate, and enjoy doing your body some good.