A Chocolate a Day Melts the Fat Away!

When I was in my 30’s I ate a LOT of chocolate.  I ate chocolate rather than eating fruit, vegetables or protein.  I liked my chocolate straight up, with a shooter of brownies or on the rocks  (ice cream).  And I was fit and thin.  In my 40’s I cut down on my chocolate consumption.  I was nearing middle age  and needed to be more health conscious.  Looking back the less chocolate I ate the heavier I got. Now I’m overweight.  

And NOW a new study came out that finds those who eat chocolate several times a week are leaner than those who don’t eat it regularly!  

Once again . . . I was ahead of the times. 

Does A Chocolate Habit Help Keep You Lean?

by

“A new study finds that people who eat chocolate several times a week are actually leaner than people who don’t eat chocolate regularly.

Really, we asked? Last time we checked chocolate was loaded with fat and sugar. But this new research, along with some prior studies, suggests chocolate may favorably influence metabolism.

To test this theory, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, asked about 1,000 people, ages 20 to 85, a simple question: “How many times a week do you consume chocolate?” The participants then completed food frequency questionnaires to estimate their caloric intakes of a whole range of foods including chocolate. They also had weight and height measurement taken to calculate their body mass index, or BMI.

“In our study, people who ate chocolate more often actually ate more calories,” says Golomb. “But in spite of that they had lower [BMI].”

How much lower? For a 5-foot-tall woman, weighing about 120 pounds, the study found that she was likely to be about 5 pounds lighter if she was a frequent eater of chocolate (five times a week).  So to lose 20 pounds I need to eat it 20 times a week.  They aren’t saying how MUCH so I’ll start experimenting and let you know.  Anything in the interest of science.

And, no, the people with serious chocolate habits did not exercise more than those who weren’t in the habit of eating chocolate.  Ain’t science wonderful!?

This study certainly does not prove that frequent chocolate consumption causes people to be leaner: The researchers found that chocolate’s correlation to thinness started to melt away among the participants who consumed the most. They also didn’t suss out whether the type of chocolate — white, milk, or dark, which can have varying amounts of cocoa — made a difference.

But what’s fascinating here is the notion that our bodies may not treat all calories the same way.

“I think a really important point is that it isn’t just the number of calories that matter,” says Golomb. But the composition of calories seems to matter, too.

Not all researchers are convinced of this. Broadly speaking, the “calories in, calories out” method of managing weight is effective for most people.

And it’s possible that overweight participants in the study under-reported their their chocolate consumption, according to Jane Wardle of the University College London. Indeed, a lot of researchers agree that self-reported food data can be flawed. (Now who would do that in a SCIENTIFIC investigation?)

But what research shows is that certain foods contain compounds that have some power to positively influence metabolic factors.

“When people talk about the health benefits of chocolate,” says food scientist Joshua Lambert of Penn State University, “they typically talk about compounds called polyphenols.”

When he investigated some specific polyphenols found in cocoa, he found that they potently inhibit an enzyme, called pancreatic lipase, that’s responsible for digesting dietary fat.

This means that the fat in chocolate may exit our bodies before it has a chance to be absorbed. Or, in other words, these compounds in cocoa may help us fend off fat.

Chocolate Mousse

Lambert’s studies have been conducted in test tubes and mice, not in people. “So there’s a big leap  from what we’re doing to what the [UC San Diego researchers] are doing.”

But it might be one mechanism that explains why frequent chocolate eaters tend to be leaner.

Another possible mechanism is that the compounds in chocolate may increase the energy that cells make. Researchers are studying this as well.

So, for now, if you’re a chocolate lover, lose the guilt. Or, be reassured, for now, that the associations between eating chocolate and body weight move in the preferred direction.

And one more thing: This study was not funded by the chocolate industry. Funding came from the National Institute of Health; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the UC San Diego General Clinical Research Center.”

P.S.  In my 30’s I  jogged  3 – 10 miles a day.

8 thoughts on “A Chocolate a Day Melts the Fat Away!

    1. Becca, You can make up for lost time by soaking in a tub of dark chocolate BUT you must eat ALL the chocolate before you get out of the tub. As you are well aware I really love to share other people’s work. So please send pictures and I’ll post them.

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  1. I’m a little confused, to say the least. IF an article says EATING CHOCOLATE (DARK) IS GOOD FOR YOU why would YOU QUESTION IT. Of course it is good for us, that is why I eat two squares of chocolate per night, it is medicinal. stop your questioning, buy your favorite chocolate and enjoy it.
    As for me, I am not enjoying the “happy face answer” you gave to my friend Wendy. Watch out J/J one day we just might show up at your door……chocolate in hand. Please keep your little chicks posted. Love, Laurie F.

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  2. hummmm,
    I was eating one square of dark chocolate a day. not sure why I stopped. It’s not really bad for you…some say it’s good. I may have to go back, to that one, just one, decadent square….oh with a raspberry. I can have raspberries…now if I could just have red wine.
    Wait, will dark chocolate contribute to these headaches…I might need to look that up. But if they are pressure headaches and not real migraines?
    Oh I’m so confused.

    I found a wonderful recipe for lava cake the other day while looking through my cook book. I love that cake, deep delicious chocolate cake, then you cut into it and this luscious warm melted center comes gooing out. I served it with barely minted ice cream and a sprig of fresh mint on top. My father in law was very impressed. My husband…liked it, he loved the ice cream..but the cake wasn’t sweet enough. He’s not a dark chocolate fan. To me, it was heaven. (and all Gluten Free) and oh so easy, really.

    OK, I have determined the headache today is chatty.
    sorry,
    so glad you are back,
    does this mean you are feeling a bit better? Or are you putting on a happy face because of us.
    hugs to you my dear.
    wendy

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  3. Gift eleph
    lots of chocolates;
    happier ant..

    This post will be quickly shown to my wife so that I would be permitted to take more chocolates..how delicious..and mouth-watering post.. Judy…God bless!!!!

    RS:)

    Like

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