If recent studies are anything to go by, you may no longer have to feel guilty every time you open a bar of chocolate. A study carried out by scientists at the University of California in San Diego revealed that the calories consumed when taking chocolate are significantly offset by the positive effects that are expected. The team, which was led by Beatrice Golomb, also reported that chocolate could be very beneficial in the management of conditions such as blood pressure, glucose control and heart disease.
One of the most surprising results reported in the study was that those who ate chocolate frequently were found to be thinner than those who did not eat it as often. A lower body mass index could not be accounted for by exercise or eating less, especially since people who ate chocolate generally exercised less and ate more food than those who were not chocolate lovers. Although the study did not prove that chocolate consumption will automatically lead to weight loss, it further confirmed that chocolate certainly has its benefits.
Older studies have established that chocolate has certain health benefits, such as the ability of chocolate antioxidants to lower your bad cholesterol while increasing your good cholesterol levels. Chocolate has also been found to be beneficial for lowering blood pressure due to its flavenols, which also inhibit the clotting process to improve your blood flow. Dark chocolate has also been found to contain high levels of anti-oxidants as well as anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, other studies indicated that high chocolate consumption was associated with a lower risk of developing heart disease.
However, it is important to note that a chocolate bar could contain more than 200 calories from sugar and saturated fats. Ideally, limiting your chocolate intake to 1oz. of dark chocolate daily, or adding cocoa powder to your food or coffee once a day should work in your favor. You could also try consuming chocolate in place of something else instead of adding it to your net consumption of calories.
Concerns have also been raised concerning the data collection methods that were used in the study by the University of California. The study was largely observational and the meals taken by the participants were self-reported. This is in contrast to a controlled trial in which participants would be given chocolate and then compared to participants who did not get chocolate. This means that there could have been some false reports provided, especially since people who are overweight tend to under-report their food intake.
The metabolic effects of chocolate could very well play a significant role in keeping you slim as the overall effect. This is the reason why further research needs to be carried out to determine whether these benefits are able to offset the calories that are consumed. Just because chocolate is typically eaten as a sweet containing calories does not mean that it is all bad. You therefore need not beat yourself down when you feel the urge to reward yourself with a bar of chocolate every now and then.
Daniel Crieg is an expert who writes for StretchMarks24, a website that contains information on health, skin care, stretch mark removal and beauty. Feel free to visit the website to find more great articles. This article was written by a guest author. Would you like to write for us?