Chocolate can be a delicious indulgence, but what if it can help you lose weight? In a recent study inThe FASEB Journal, scientists found that eating chocolate can do just that.
In this study of postmenopausal women, participants were split into two groups: one group ate chocolate within an hour of waking up; the other ate chocolate within an hour of going to bed. Participants who ate chocolate within an hour of waking up decreased waist size and increased the break-down of body fat. This process of breaking down fat in the body – called “lipid oxidation” – helps you keep the weight off too. People with higher lipid oxidation rates are more likely to maintain weight loss, while those with lower rates will likely experience “weight relapse”— in other words, they’ll put the weight back on.
There were other added benefits for participants as well:
Both groups had decreased appetites and cravings for sweets; however, eating chocolate in the morning had better effects on weight loss. It resulted in smaller waist sizes, increased lipid oxidation levels, and lower sugar levels. Eating chocolate in the evening produced no change in waist size, lipid oxidation or sugar levels. Yet, for those who ate chocolate in the evening, their sleep was more regular – an added benefit if you prefer chocolate as a late-night snack.
Overall, eating chocolate can have a huge impact on your health. The key, the study claims, is when you eat it. Consuming chocolate within an hour of waking up can make you less hungry throughout the day, and it can decrease your urge to reach for other sweets. Even though chocolate for breakfast may sound like a calorie disaster, you can expect a smaller waist and higher fat-burning levels.
Chocolate won’t just help you lose weight; it can also improve your cardiovascular health. Chocolate contains an antioxidant called epicatechin that could help improve your lipid levels, which may slow heart disease in people with diabetes. The antioxidants in chocolate also reduce inflammation, increase good cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.
Chocolate also helps you burn calories faster. In a study of female athletes, eating chocolate was linked to burning an extra 140 calories per day.
Moderate consumption of chocolate also comes with another hidden benefit – decreased risk of early-onset dementia. Scientists believe that the antioxidants in chocolate (like epicatechin) could slow cognitive impairment and thus decrease the risk of dementia.
When considering what type of chocolate to grab, experts recommend dark chocolate. That’s because dark chocolate has the highest amount of antioxidants – about two to three times more than milk chocolate. The antioxidants in chocolate provide those enticing benefits like lower blood pressure and better brain function. So along with your fruits and vegetables, pick up some dark chocolate to help you think, look, and feel better.
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