Calling all chocoholics! In addition to the antioxidants and other health benefits of eating chocolate, a new study suggests that a particular type of chocolate may actually help you slim down, along with when you eat it. And, if you think you’ve guessed which type of chocolate these scientists are shouting out, then so much about these findings is likely to blow your mind.
They tested women.
A study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital published this week in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology set out to examine whether eating 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of chocolate at different times of day affected metabolism in postmenopausal women.
To start, 19 women were divided into three groups: one group ate chocolate in the morning, while another ate at night. The third group ate no chocolate at all. Otherwise, the participants weren’t required to change their usual diet habits. This experiment was carried out for 14 days.
One key factor? The choice in chocolate. The researcher state that dark chocolate is often credited with its health effects. For that reason, these researchers opted to see what happened by administering milk chocolate.
Chocolate did not cause weight gain.
The first observation the researchers state in their abstract is: “Our results show that 14 days of chocolate intake did not increase body weight.” If you think that’s compelling in and of itself, just keep reading…
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The effects of chocolate on women’s health were impressive.
Both morning and evening chocolate-eating groups of women saw decreased hunger and fewer sweets cravings over the 14-day study.
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But, the difference was night and day.
Both the morning and nighttime chocolate eaters burned increased calories than a baseline measure, but the nighttime group burned twice the calories (300 on average) than the morning group’s average 150. Further, the nighttime chocolate eaters experienced an increase in physical activity of 6.9 percent, increased metabolism, and even a reduction in waist circumference by 1.7 percent. Their sleeping rhythms are also said to have been more regular. Why? The reason is very scientific—read to find out.
Chocolate went with their gut.
The researchers explain that eating chocolate seemed to alter “the composition and function” of microbiota in the gut, which they believe played an important part in the hunger, activity, and metabolic shifts for the participants.
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An important “but.”
There’s a key caveat to point out before you incorporate this amount of chocolate into your everyday diet: While the consumption of chocolate seemed to increase women’s calories burned in this study, the calories in the chocolate, about 542, significantly outweighed the increase in calories burned. So, while it may be worth eating more chocolate to see how this serves you, opting for a whole 3.5 ounces might be a little excessive on the regular.
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