Body

Benefits of eating chocolate

A moment on your lips, lose weight from your hips?

By: Donna Fleming

It’s every chocoholic’s dream come true. New research suggests regularly eating chocolate may make you thinner!

A San Diego study has found that although chocolate is full of sugar and fat, people who eat it five or more times a week have less body fat than those who don’t. Scientists at the University of California interviewed over 1000 people as part of a study into cholesterol drugs and happened to ask how much chocolate they ate. They also recorded the participants’ BMI (body mass index).

To their surprise, the researchers found that those who ate more chocolate tended to have a lower BMI. What’s more, they didn’t exercise more than average – and, in fact, they usually ate more calories and saturated fat than most. So how is this possible?

The results could be due to the fact that cocoa beans – one of the key ingredients in chocolate – contain a compound that may be able to alter the way your metabolism works and cut down the number of calories that your body stores as fat.

However, the scientists do warn that the study’s findings may not apply to all products containing chocolate. For example, the effect that a small bar of dark chocolate containing 70% cocoas solids has on the body may be very different to that of a milk chocolate bar packed full of caramel, biscuits and other bits and pieces.

That’s because dark chocolate that’s high in cocoa solids has fewer calories than many other chocolate bars. There are also health benefits to be gained from the antioxidants found in cocoa solids. While more research needs to be carried out, the scientists say what they’ve learned so far might help them to isolate the ingredient that boosts metabolism and cell function and use it to create a medication that could help with weight-loss.

In the meantime, sadly, we probably shouldn’t use this latest research as an excuse to pig out. Chocolate contains sugar and fat, which can be bad for your health. However, if the San Diego study proves correct, a few squares of plain dark chocolate every day may be on the cards to help speed up your metabolism and provide your body with antioxidants that help fight disease.

It may also be able to help with weight loss by satisfying cravings for something sweet – eat a couple of squares of dark chocolate every day and you may feel less like binging on large amounts of other types of chocolate that contain a lot more fat and sugar.

According to other studies that have looked into the benefits of eating chocolate made with 70% cocoa solids, it may also reduce blood pressure, decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke by lowering bad cholesterol and improving good cholesterol, and cut the risk of diabetes. But remember, overindulging will negate any of these positive effects.