For a while experts have been applauding chocolate’s antioxidant properties, but now there’s a new study out suggesting it may also increase metabolism. According to the research published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, adults who regularly consume chocolate are thinner than those who do not.
Researchers recorded the height, weight and body mass index (BMI) of 1,000 healthy adult men and women aged 20 to 85 and asked them how many times a week they consumed chocolate. The participants exercised at an average of three times a week and ate chocolate about twice a week. (The type of chocolate: dark, milk or white was not recorded.)
The results: Subjects who consumed chocolate more days per week had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less frequently. Interestingly, the chocolate lovers claimed they did not eat fewer calories in their overall diet, nor did they exercise more than those who did not consume chocolate regularly. Scientists hypothesize that cocoa-derived epicatechin, a strong antioxidant found in chocolate, may increase metabolism, muscular performance, lean muscle mass and reduce weight.
Although the study implies that chocolate boosts metabolism, there are many red flags. Primarily, researchers only studied healthy adults and did not take into account those with cardiovascular disease, diabetes or with high levels of LDL (bad cholesterol). In addition, the type of chocolate was not taken into consideration. And instead of recording calorie intake daily, participants only reported it through a questionnaire at the end of the trial, which is an unreliable source.
More research is certainly needed. For now I wouldn’t count on candy to help you slim down. But, for most, a piece of dark chocolate here and there won’t hurt.
-Maria Pagano, RD, Tier 4 Training Manager