Chocolate is one of the favorites when it comes to sweets, desserts, presents, and even when it comes to celebrations. From childhood to adulthood, chocolate has always loved by many. But can this sweet food also help individuals when it comes to weight loss and diets? Let’s find out.
- A tiny study discovered that eating 100 grams of milk chocolate within an hour of waking or within an hour of going to bed may help with fat burning and blood sugar control.
- The chocolate also helps regulate sleep and reduces hunger, according to the researchers.
- Though the study has received a lot of attention, experts advise against including such a high-calorie, high-sugar dose of chocolate into your daily diet, since it may contribute to diet-related chronic diseases over time.
A tiny study conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital researchers in partnership with investigators from the University of Murcia in Spain reveals that consuming chocolate for breakfast may have some surprising benefits, at least for some.
In fact, they discovered that eating a lot of milk chocolate in the morning may help with fat burning and blood sugar control.
They also discovered that, depending on when the chocolate was consumed, it could impact hunger and appetite, gut bacteria, sleep, and other factors.
Furthermore, eating chocolate at night may alter metabolism the next morning.
The short and sweet study’s specifics
The study included 19 postmenopausal women in a randomized, controlled crossover trial.
Each participant had 100 grams of milk chocolate within an hour of waking or within an hour of retiring to bed.
The researchers next compared the ladies who did not consume chocolate to see if there were any detectable impacts, such as weight gain.
The women had not gained any weight after 14 days of eating chocolate.
Furthermore, despite being able to eat whatever they wanted other than the required amount of chocolate, the ladies spontaneously reduced their calorie intake to compensate for the chocolate calories.
Those who ate chocolate in the morning consumed 300 fewer calories per day, whereas those who ate it in the evening consumed 150 less calories per day.
This was in comparison to the 542 kcal/day acquired from consuming chocolate.
Eating chocolate has also been shown to reduce hunger and cravings for sweets.
In addition, the ladies who ate chocolate in the morning showed indicators of enhanced fat burning and reduced blood sugar.
They discovered indicators that it might change metabolism the next day among individuals who ate it in the evening.
In terms of gut bacteria composition, it was discovered that evening and morning ingestion resulted in a different profile and function.
Finally, when women ate chocolate in the evening, the amount of time it took them to fall asleep became more consistent.
Is this to say that eating chocolate for breakfast is a good idea?
While it may appear that eating chocolate for breakfast is a good idea, Mary-Jon Ludy, PhD, chair of the Department of Public & Allied Health and associate professor of Food & Nutrition at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, believes it is too early to endorse a morning chocolate bar.
She pointed out that one key limitation of this study is that it only evaluated a small group of healthy women over a short period of time.
She also pointed out that they got one-third of their daily calorie intake from a single high-fat, high-sugar dish.
“With more than half of all individuals in the United States managing at least one diet-related chronic condition,” she says, “additional data is needed before promoting a milk chocolate breakfast for the general public.”
Colleen Tewksbury, PhD, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics’ national spokesperson, agreed.
“Milk chocolate contains more calories, sugar, and fat than dark chocolate.” “It is possible to have little amounts while keeping a healthy consumption, but many people struggle to reach this balance without deliberate effort,” she said.
Healthier ways to reap the benefits of chocolate
While Ludy is hesitant to endorse milk chocolate based on this study, she does believe chocolate has some health benefits. It contains flavonoids, for example, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and enhance insulin sensitivity. It also contains theobromine, which aids in the improvement of excellent cholesterol levels and can boost mood by increasing alertness.
If you must consume chocolate, research indicates that dark chocolate is better for you. It has more beneficial ingredients like flavonoids and theobromine but less sugar than milk chocolate.
She recommends looking for darker chocolates with a higher proportion of cacao and eating it in moderation as part of a healthy diet.
While there are better methods to consume chocolate than consuming milk chocolate, Tewksbury stated, “When it comes to lowering the chances of getting heart disease and diabetes, we wouldn’t anticipate one meal or modification to make a major effect – it’s a lot of small ones.”
She recommends keeping a healthy weight, exercising for 30 minutes five times per week, and eating a variety of nutritious foods, such as:
- whole grains
- lean proteins
- heart-healthy fats
According to Ludy, if you want to include chocolate in your diet, keep in mind that it is a higher-calorie food, so consider setting quantity and frequency limitations.
“In nutrition, more isn’t necessarily better,” she explained.
As an example, one person may decide to enjoy a little, fun-sized chocolate bar once a day. Another option is to include chocolate in a recipe a couple times per week.
According to Ludy, the best place to start when considering how to incorporate chocolate into a healthy diet is to talk with a licensed dietitian nutritionist. They can assist you in determining what works best for you and your health objectives.