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Can Chocolate Help You Stay Slim?

Wait, What!? A new study suggests that people who eat chocolate frequently may have a lower body mass index (BMI) than those who don’t.

BMI is calculated based on a person’s height and weight, and is a standard measurement used to assess overweight, obesity, and related health risks.

As part of a larger study, researchers questioned nearly 1,000 healthy adult men and women about their dietary habits, including chocolate consumption. Surprisingly, they found that the individuals who ate chocolate more frequently were, on average, slimmer. In fact, eating chocolate five times per week was linked with a 1 point drop in BMI, even after taking into account other influencing factors, such as age, gender, total fat intake, and exercise.

The frequent chocolate eaters ate more calories and saturated fat, and exercised about the same amount as the non-eaters, yet were still slimmer.

Although previous studies have linked chocolate consumption to a reduced risk of heart disease and stroke, this was the first study to relate it to weight. Scientists believe polyphenols, an antioxidant present in chocolate which is known to combat heart disease, may also help boost metabolism.

The study’s lead researcher was quoted: “Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight. In the case of chocolate, this is good news – both for those who have a regular chocolate habit, and those who may wish to start one.”

Researchers hope to conduct future studies to determine whether different types of chocolate may have a stronger effect on BMI. In the meantime, health experts recommend choosing dark chocolate due to its higher levels of health-boosting antioxidants and lower sugar content, compared to milk chocolate.

Image Credit: cacaobug/Flickr