A study involving almost a thousand people in the US has shown that those who consumed chocolate at least a few times a week weighed less than people who abstained from it and rarely indulged.
The researchers said that it was possible that the antioxidants that chocolate contains could have a part in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, but the findings do not conclude that adding chocolate to a regular diet will aid people in losing weight. The total quantity of chocolate eaten did not have an effect, either.
The participants of the survey ranged from ages 20 to 85, ate chocolate two times per week on average and had an approximate body mass index of 28, which is considered to be overweight but not clinically obese.
People who ate candy more often were found to generally ingest more calories, including saturated fats, than those who ate less of it but still weighed less on average. The results revealed the same when gender and age were accounted for, alongside the amount of exercise done by the participants.
The leader of the research, Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California San Diego, said that the results found there to be 2.3 to 3.2 kg (5 to 7lb) difference between those who ate chocolate 5 times per week in comparison to those who didn’t eat any. It was, however, only based on how often they consumed chocolate and not the amount they ate that was tied to their weight.
A nutritionist from the Harvard Medical School, Eric Ding, said that one possible explanation for the findings is related to poverty, which has been linked to higher body weight. He claimed that poorer people tend to keep to the necessities when shopping for food and, as a result, don’t eat as much chocolate.
Another possible reason for the findings is that people use chocolate to reward themselves when they have lost weight, more than the chocolate actually being the cause of the weight loss.
Ding stated that because the study is rather small and doesn’t provide any solid evidence that chocolate can indeed cause weight loss, it is difficult for any lessons to be taken from it. He also said that the key for people who eat chocolate is to be mindful of calorie intake.
Golomb agreed that it is important to consider moderation and that the study doesn’t provide any support for people to consume a large amount of chocolate.