Chocolate Consumption Linked to Lower BMI
Chocolate is often times viewed as a sweet treat that has little nutritional value and that can result in weight gain. A recent study found, however, that European teens that ate high amounts of chocolate had lower body mass indexes (BMIs) than those who ate low amounts.
Participants in the study included 1,458 teenagers between the ages of 12.5 and 17.5 who recorded their food intake on a computer for two non-consecutive days. Their BMIs, obesity levels, and waist circumferences were calculated by the researchers.
For the purposes of this study, chocolate included any product in which chocolate was a main ingredient, i.e. chocolate bars, chocolate spread, and other candy bars. White, milk, and dark chocolate were all recorded under the category of chocolate.
After examining the numbers, the researchers found that the teenagers who ate 1.5 oz. of chocolate per day had lower BMIs and were more physically active than those who ate .2 oz. daily. This was consistent regardless of sex, age, sexual maturation and high consumption of other high-flavonoid food and drinks like tea, coffee, or fruit and vegetables.
Researchers from the University of Granada in Spain conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print in the journal Nutrition on October 21, 2013.
The flavonoids found in chocolate are probably responsible for the results seen in this study. Flavonoids are naturally occurring antioxidants which have previously been shown to decrease inflammation, protect our DNA from damage, and improve heart and brain health by increasing blood flow.
Previous studies have shown chocolate to improve mood, heart health, insulin resistance, and reduce blood pressure. To get the full health benefits of chocolate, consume darker chocolates, which contain more flavonoids.