By Will Clower, PhD, Founder and CEO of Mediterranean Wellness
Chocolate is a weight-loss superfood. A growing body of scientific research is pointing to this fact, and is supported by more studies on diabetes, exercise physiology, satiety, and even weight loss itself.
Just last month another report showed that chocolate consumption was associated with lower weight and even lower levels of body fat. This particular study assessed the eating habits of a whopping 1,458 teens. They found that those who averaged 42.6 grams of chocolate a day got the best weight-control results (study).
This supports the findings of Dr. Beatrice Goulomb that more frequent consumption of dark chocolate was associated with lower BMI (study). In this case, almost 1,000 adults were assessed. Those who had the lowest BMIs were not those who were more active, but those who most consistently ate chocolate!
This suggests that our favorite guilty pleasure is actually… just a pleasure. You can subtract “guilty” altogether. Even better, it means that chocolate doesn’t represent the end of your weight control efforts, but the means!
Why in the world would it be that chocolate is actually a weight-control solution, rather than a weight-control problem? Here are the top three reasons that chocolate turns out to be your friend in the end.
1. Chocolate can help you control hunger cravings. The cocoa butter in dark chocolate is not only good for your heart (study), but can also increase the satiety hormones that turn off hunger (study). That way, you’re just not as hungry between meals. Control chronic consumption, and calories are controlled as well.
2. Darker chocolate is higher in cocoa and lower in sugar. This means that eating dark chocolate reduces the empty calories found in milk chocolates. For diabetics, this results in greater insulin sensitivity (study) of course, but for the rest of us it means we’re less likely to get the sugar blues—being tired and hungry, moving less, and eating more.
3. Exercise physiologists have determined that the particular kinds of polyphenols found in dark chocolate can increase your energy level and “time to exhaustion” (study). This is likely due to their stunning impact at the level of the muscle itself: 1) increasing the number of capillaries, which carry nutrient-rich blood (study), and 2) boosting your energy output capacity by increasing the function of your muscle’s energy-producing mitochondria (study).
Let’s just sum up this good news. Research is finding the chocolate consumption leads to lower weight and lower body fat. This is supported by an absolute chorus of studies on diabetes, the neurohormonal impact on satiety, and even exercise physiology. As 2014 nears, it is time to make the most delicious New Year’s resolution you could imagine: eat chocolate, lose weight.
Dr. Will Clower is the award-winning author of The French Don’t Diet. Find out more about him on his website or follow him on Twitter.
Most recent from Nutrition