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Tuesday
May292012

Get Thinner With Chocolate?

Chocolate can help reduce overall body fatActress Katherine Hepburn credited her famously slim build to "a lifetime of chocolate," and now a new investigation from California suggests that eating chocolate is "calorie neutral" and doesn't cause weight gain. Researchers from the University of California, San Diego set out to test the hypothesis that eating small amounts of chocolate on a regular basis wouldn't contribute to weight gain. They analyzed information from 1,000 overweight but not obese men and women and found that those who ate chocolate most often tended to consume more calories overall, including saturated fat, but weighed five to seven pounds less than people who didn't eat any chocolate. This held true regardless of age, gender or amount of exercise reported by the chocolate-eaters. The difference seemed to hinge on how often the participants ate chocolate, not how much they ate. The study was published online on March 26, 2012 by the Archives of Internal Medicine.

My take? Chocolate has many health benefits - it is a source of polyphenols (the same type of antioxidants found in red wine), and the fat it contains, stearic acid, doesn't affect cholesterol levels. In addition, research has indicated that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may help reduce the stickiness of platelets, cells that play an important role in blood clotting. As a result, blood takes longer to clot, reducing the risks of coronary artery blockages. Chocolate's polyphenols also appear to boost levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol) and lower LDL (the "bad" cholesterol) at least in the lab. I have long recommended good-quality dark chocolate as a healthy snack, as long as you don't go overboard. An ounce or two a few times a week is good for you, but it's not a strategy to lose weight. I'll be interested to learn what it is about chocolate that explains the findings that people who eat chocolate regularly are thinner than those who don't.

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Reader Comments (6)

I am a middle-aged woman who eats high quality, 70% or higher, dark chocolate every day (for decades now). I am also a bit overweight, but in excellent health. I feel that chocolate keeps me in a great mood, and satisfies my food cravings. More importantly, when I use chocolate to satisfy a craving, then I can have a little and stop. If I eat something with flour in it to satisfy a craving, then I tend to overeat. When I decide to lose weight, I find that avoiding all refined foods (except the chocolate), and adding more exercise to my normal routine works. I would never be happy only eating chocolate a few times a week--I prefer a few times a day. Is it really harmful for me to do that? (I eat kale and berries every day, and have avoided bad fats and most refined foods for many years). I am curious if anyone else out there eats chocolate daily.

May 29, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMechelle Meixner

Thank you for confirming what I have found to be true. I had the best 70%-cocoa- chocolate bar that I didnt get the opportunity to eat all of I accidently threw it away toady but I will go and get a new bar tomorrow. Try an organic bar, just delicious at first I was like eww this is strong but then the chocolate bemon creeped in yummy.

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAnnie Fahey

Mechelle, I am also a middle aged female and chocolate consumer. I eat chocolate most days; it provides me with comfort and warmth, very soothing.

I work with a lot of females and we have chocolate supplies (drawers). I have a bit of a problem with chocolate; thus, I can not be the keeper of the chocolate (nor can I keep it at home). I tried a chocolate fast in January (as I overindulged during the holidays). Thus, I am still working on amounts and better quality. I find that I usually crave it in the afternoon (but, I welcome it at any time).

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commentermorecarrotsplz

Why go on a chocolate fast? Hershey's has several sugar free versions, with maltitol as the natural sweetener! Deelish!!!

May 30, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

This has to be my favorite health tip yet. Eat a little chocolate regularly. Is there a certain type of dark chocolate that is better for you than others?

June 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLife Priority Inc.

Great article. Who can complain about doing something that will make you internally happy. One side benefit that I find is when I knowingly engage in eating something I know has more calories is that I make an effort to burn those calories. I may take the stairs and go up a extra floor or two then back down again going to my office. I may park at the far end of the parking lot and get a little more walking in for the day. Thise are just a couple ideas to eat and get thinner.
Greg Diaticmedical.com
Low Cost Medical Supplies for the Uninsured.

June 3, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGreg

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