You have no idea how annoyingly frustrating it is to be married to a man who literally eats whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and looks like the poster boy for every diet and workout trend out there. He eats sweets in the same way those of us trying to lose weight would eat salads or wraps. Yet, I’ve never been able to figure out how on earth he does it, but a new study may have unlocked the secret… chocolate!
I know, I know, it seems implausible that a food we’ve all come to associate with fat, calories, and sugar could help keep body fat low. However, last month, researchers from Spain concluded just that—chocolate is linked to lower body fat levels.
Researchers discovered that chocolate lovers have less body fat (especially around their stomachs), better blood pressure, and superior heart health, in a recent study from the University of Granada.
The study, published in the journal Nutrition, surveyed the diets and fitness levels of 1,458 teenagers between 12 and 17 years of age from nine European countries. Those who ate the most chocolate, which worked out to about 240 calories per day, had the lowest overall body fat. They even had less abdominal fat and slimmer waists than those who ate considerably less, only about 30 calories worth of chocolate each day. This was regardless of their levels of physical exercise or other health factors.
One reason might be because chocolate is rich in catechins, a flavonoid which protects against heart disease, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
Though this study focused on teens, past research has also show the positive influence chocolate could have on adults’ weights as well.
A study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine last year demonstrated that those who ate more chocolate on a regular basis had a lower body mass index than those who didn’t eat chocolate as often.
In another past study, researchers from the University of Cambridge found that people who consumed chocolate daily were 29% less prone to suffer from a stroke and 37% less likely to be afflicted with heart disease than people who chose not to eat chocolate.
However, the researchers warn that moderation is still vital. Chocolate, like most things, can be good for you, as this study has shown, but like anything, you can have too much of a good thing.
So while I jest about my husband’s unique diet habits, you shouldn’t be running to the nearest grocery or convenience store to stock up on your favorite chocolates just yet. Remember, they’ve only found a connection, not a direct cause and effect. So, if you want to eat chocolate, remember that not all chocolates are created equal. I’d recommend going with unsweetened cocoa, or very dark chocolate, as it contains more polyphenols than its more processed counterparts.
Taylor, V., “Chocolate-lovers have lower BMIs, less belly fat: study” Daily News web site, October 31, 2013; http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/chocolate-lovers-bmis-study-article-1.1503233