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Can Eating Chocolate Actually Make You Thinner?
For the longest time, dieters and Weight Watchers alike have tried to steer clear of calorie and cholesterol loaded things such as deep fried food, chips, heavy meats, and sweets. Chocolate has also always been something to be dreaded and avoided if one is on a strict and determined diet. For the most part, people have resigned themselves to the fact that keeping the pounds off means having to give up a lot of their favorite food, especially chocolate. However, recent studies might be able to trump the long standing ordeal of a chocolate-less life.
According to a recent study which was published in the March issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, regular chocolate consumption has been related to lower body mass index (BMI). Together with regular exercise, chocolate may bring several benefits to weight loss rather than create fat synthesis in the body. While chocolate may be loaded with calories, it is also rich in antioxidants that may help stimulate weight loss.
In the study, 1,000 men and women who were healthy – free of heart disease, diabetes, and cholesterol related problems – were enrolled and observed by researchers. The study gauges how often the participants consumed chocolate. It was found out that these participants, who averaged an age of 57, satisfied their sweet tooth at least 2 times a week and exercised at least 3.5 times a week. However, it was noted that those who ate chocolate more frequently measured lower BMIs than those who ate less.
In other words, those who enjoyed their chocolate were thinner than those who didn’t. What the study tells us is that eating modest amounts of chocolate at regular intervals might bring about some metabolic benefits and offset the calories in the chocolate itself. Here have been several studies, too, that show how the chemicals in chocolate can speed up metabolism. One of the chemicals found in cacao, which is main chocolate ingredient, is epicatechin. This specific chemical has been shown to increase the number of mitochondria in the body. The mitochondria are the body’s energy generating powerhouses, which means they burn up calories. The more mitochondria are at work, the more calories the body is able to burn up.
Loco over Choco?
While the study shows us a link between how often people eat chocolate to weight loss and lower BMI, it doesn’t mean to say that dieters should ditch fat-free and go for chocolate all the time. Most chocolate included in diet regimens are a one piece per day intake and not an entire bar – just enough to curb cravings.
Chocolate is rich in fat and sugar, which has always led people to believe that chocolate only boosts BMI and does nothing to maintain or reduce it. However, according to Dr. Beatrice Golomb from the University of California at San Diego, the composition of calories plays an important role on weight. It’s not entirely about how many calories you consume but it’s also about the kind of calories.
Not all chocolate are created equal and people should not confuse the study and think that eating chocolate is all they need to lose the weight. Some chocolates contain lots of sugar and calories, which is probably not what weight watchers are looking for. Dark chocolate is mostly pure cacao, with not a lot of sugar incorporated in the mix. This might be a better alternative to sweet chocolate, as dark chocolate is bitter and the taste may suppress appetite. Sweet chocolate, on the other hand, may even stimulate it.
The link between chocolate eating frequency and exercise, however, is not proof that one factor causes another, i.e. frequent chocolate eating causes weight loss and lower BMI. What the study proves is a link and further research must be done in order fully understand what chocolate can do about weight loss. Furthermore, regular exercise and a healthy diet also play a part in the maintenance or reduction of overall weight and BMI. It is still important to eat healthy and burn up some calories in order to stay your fittest. In the end, it is the overall effect of a good diet and exercise regimen that will take you to your body’s peak.