The PJ Tatler

Science: A Square of Dark Chocolate a Day Can Keep the Doctor Away

Is this the best science story of the day, or the best science story in the history of mankind? The gist: Habitual chocolate eaters tend to be thinner.

Sweet news about those chocolate cravings: People who consume moderate amounts of chocolate more frequently are thinner than those who eat it less often, according to a new study.

The research involved 1,018 healthy men and women, who exercised on average 3.6 times a week and had a balanced, nutritious diet. The body mass index of participants who ate chocolate five times a week was one point lower than people who did not eat it regularly. The body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.

“I was pretty happy with this news myself,” says lead author Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California-San Diego. “Our findings show the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining ultimate weight.”

The finding leads to a prescription:

“I do have to say that the people who were eating chocolate were also exercising three times a week, and that’s an important point to make,” says Steinbaum. “I recommend a square of dark chocolate a day as part of a healthy heart diet.”

Cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help fight inflammation, lower blood pressure and improve overall vascular function. The antioxidants also affect metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity, Golomb says. Insulin resistance contributes to hypertension and obesity, she says.

Coffee has been found to be beneficial, and now chocolate turns out to be a health food (in moderation, along with exercise). Who’s up for a mocha latte? Bike ride to follow.

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