Scientists have finally delivered some weight loss news that we can all get excited about – chocolate apparently has a role to play as a fat-burning tool.
Normally when we report on a study involving the health benefits of chocolate, you know it won’t be too long before you find out that it only relates to dark chocolate – but not this time. We are talking about the good stuff, milk chocolate, so this is an interesting development.
While you would normally assume that eating milk chocolate, which has a high sugar content, would be associated with weight gain, scientists from the Harvard University affiliated Brigham and Women’s University have found that under certain circumstances it can do the reverse.
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One of those conditions was that the chocolate had to be consumed during a narrow window of time in the morning, which could make the weight loss technique even more decadent.
The researchers conducted a trial on post-menopausal women who consumed either 100g of chocolate in the morning (within one hour after waking) or at night (within one hour of bedtime) to compare weight gain and were surprised with the results, which found that consumption in the morning helped the body burn fat and decrease sugar levels.
The study also found that chocolate consumption at night time did not lead to weight gain.
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Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening was also found to influence hunger and appetite, sleep and microbiota composition.
The consumption of chocolate at night also altered resting and exercise metabolism of the participants the next morning.
Study author Professor Frank Scheer said the findings highlighted the importance of when food was eaten when considering its role in nutrition.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” Prof. Scheer said.
Dr Marta Garaulet, who also worked on the study, said the research confirmed some of the previous nutritional benefits of eating chocolate that were reported in previous studies.
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake,” Dr Garaulet said. “Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum (free eating) energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies.”
Those who ate chocolate in the morning consumed about 300 calories less in regular food throughout the day, while those who ate chocolate in the evening consumed around 150 calories less.
Those participants in the study who consumed chocolate in the morning for the 14 days of the study had their sugar levels reduced by 4.4 per cent and their waist circumference was reduced by nearly 2 per cent.
Those who were in the group that consumed their chocolate at night increased their physical activity by 6.6 per cent the next day.
Would you consider eating chocolate to lose weight? Would you consider having chocolate for breakfast? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?
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