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Study: How to Burn Fat, Lower Blood Sugar by Eating Chocolate

June 28, 2021

In one of the year’s pinch-me scientific moments, chocolate with breakfast or even before bedtime helped burn fat and lower blood sugar in a study at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

The chocolatey asterisk, however, was the study’s limitations: It analyzed 19 postmenopausal women in a randomized, controlled crossover medical trial. The researchers acknowledge additional studies that include men and young females would confirm the results.

Until then, feel free to marvel at the results of the study published recently in The FASEB Journal. The participants weren’t even required to consume dark chocolate, a longtime health darling. (Click here.) Instead, they ate 100 grams of milk chocolate — a Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bar weighs 43 grams — either within an hour of waking up in the morning or within an hour of bedtime.

The researchers said the participants did not gain weight, nor did eating chocolate affect hunger and appetite, microbiota composition or sleep. Consuming chocolate in the morning, they said, helped burn fat and lower blood glucose levels. Chocolate consumed at night, meanwhile, could even affect metabolism the next morning.

“While the volunteers had an increase of energy intake due to chocolate’s extra calories (extra 542 kilocalories) as compared to the non-chocolate condition,” said the study’s authors, “they spontaneously reduced their ad libitum energy intake by 16 percent when eating chocolate in the morning. This happened even though females consumed milk chocolate that has been shown to have less of an effect in decreasing appetite than dark chocolate.”

Milk chocolate’s health benefits were previously demonstrated in a 2015 study that higher chocolate consumption lowered risk of death related to any coronary heart disease event by 45 percent. The study, a review published in the journal Heart of nine studies that included 158,000 participants, found chocolate also lowered risk of heart attack, unstable angina (chest pain and other symptoms at low levels of exertion) and stable angina (during physical exertion) by 25 percent.

Aside from the health benefits, chocolate is also known as a mood enhancer and energy boost.

“We all know from our day-to-day experiences that we gravitate toward certain foods when we are happy, stressed or feeling low,” says Dr. Devika Umashanker, Hartford HealthCare’s System Medical Director of Medical Weight Loss. “Most often, those foods tend to make us feel happy, whether it’s a piece of chocolate, a slice of cake or even a delicious, colorful fruit bowl for healthier eaters.

“Why? Science tells us we are innately pleasure-seekers. Studies have shown that certain foods — such as sugar, salt, and fat — are potent natural reward-drivers. This reaction occurs because they trigger the release of key ‘pleasure’ hormones, such as dopamine.”

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