Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, says that findings from her new study may overturn the major objection to regular chocolate consumption: that it makes people fat. The study, appearing in the Archives of Internal Medicine, shows that adults who eat chocolate on a regular basis are actually thinner that those who don't.
Golomb dared to hypothesize that modest, regular chocolate consumption might be calorie-neutral - in other words, that the metabolic benefits of eating modest amounts of chocolate might lead to reduced fat deposition per calorie and offset the added calories (thus rendering frequent, though modest, chocolate consumption neutral with regard to weight).
To assess this hypothesis, she examined dietary and other information provided by approximately 1000 adult men and women from San Diego, for whom weight and height had been measured.
It turned out that the findings were even more favorable than the researchers conjectured. They found that adults who ate chocolate on more days a week were actually thinner than those who ate chocolate less often. The size of the effect was modest but the effect was "significant"- larger than could be explained by chance. This was despite the fact that those who ate chocolate more often did not eat fewer calories (they ate more), nor did they exercise more. Indeed, no differences in behaviors were identified that might explain the finding as a difference in calories taken in versus calories expended.
"Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight," concluded Golomb. "In the case of chocolate, this is good news - both for those who have a regular chocolate habit, and those who may wish to start one."
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Source: University of California - San Diego