Posted on Sun, 1 Apr 12
People who eat chocolate are more likely to have a lower body weight despite a higher calorie intake, a contradictory discovery that suggests it may not just be about how much you eat but what you eat that influences your weight.
Cocoa is a super food, rich in phytonutrients such as flavonoids, vitamins and minerals, but is often eaten with loads of sugar and fat. But despite this, modest chocolate consumption has been shown to have considerable health benefits.
Researchers recently looked at the diets of some 1000 healthy adults and found that eating chocolate was linked to a lower body mass index (BMI) despite a higher calorie intake (1).
“Our findings—that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI—are intriguing,” commented the study investigators. “They accord with other findings suggesting that diet composition, as well as calorie number, may influence BMI.”
Experimental studies have shown that cocoa can reduce body weight without any change in dietary calories, which could in part explain these findings.
A previous study also pointed to an effect of food quality vs. quantity on body weight when it was found that people who are overweight tend to eat less phytonutrient dense foods (green leafy vegetables, green vegetables, fresh fruit, and whole grains) than people who are a healthier weight, despite a similar calorie intake (2).
Eat more, weight less? It seems possible if you are eating more phytonutrient dense foods, and in any case, you will certainly be healthier.
1. Golomb BA, et al. Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index. Arch Intern Med. 2012;172(6):519-521.
2. Vincent HK, Bourguignon CM, Taylor AG. Relationship of the dietary phytochemical index to weight gain, oxidative stress and inflammation in overweight young adults. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2010 Feb;23(1):20-9.