By: Sue Thoms
The latest health news is a chocolate lover’s dream: People who eat chocolate regularly are thinner than those who don’t, a study shows.
You can thank researchers at the University of California, San Diego, for this one.
The authors of the study came up with the hypothesis that regular chocolate consumption was calorie-neutral. That means the health benefits from eating small amounts of chocolate would offset the added calories.
What they found was even better than they expected. The adults in their study who ate chocolate more days per week were thinner than the occasional chocolate imbibers.
Even more surprising, the chocolate eaters consumed more calories and did not exercise more. When you combine this with a recent report that popcorn is loaded with antioxidants, it adds up to a good week for snackers.
In the chocolate study, the weight difference for chocolate consumers was not huge, but it was significant, the researchers said. They couldn’t find any behavior differences that might explain their finding in terms of calories in vs. calories out.
They found eating chocolate five times a week, compared with not eating any, was associated with about a one-point drop in body mass index. That would amount to about seven pounds for a person 5′ 10″, or about five pounds for a five-footer, according to a report in MedPage Today.
“Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight,” Beatrice Golomb, associate professor in the university’s Department of Medicine, said in a news release. “In the case of chocolate, this is good news – both for those who have a regular chocolate habit, and those who may wish to start one.
The researchers based their study on 1,000 people, assessing their body mass index and dietary information that they provided.
The study does not prove that chocolate caused the weight difference, the MedPage Today article said. However, the researchers said the findings were “intriguing” and may lead to further investigation of chocolate’s metabolic benefits.
This is not the first study linking chocolate to better health. Chocolate, which has high amounts of antioxidants, has been associated with lower rates of heart disease and strokes.
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The study was published online Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
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