March 26th, 2012
04:01 PM ET
Could eating chocolate make you thinner?
It's every woman's dream: could chocolate, the substance that cures everything from PMS to heartbreak, also make you skinnier?
If true, there's got to be a catch, right?
Here's the skinny: Dr. Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at University of California, San Diego, has published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine linking regular chocolate consumption with a lower body mass index, or BMI.
Golomb and her team surveyed 1,018 men and women aged 20 to 85 years old about their weekly food intake. Those who reported that they ate chocolate more frequently had lower BMIs. Even more surprisingly, the lower BMI group did not report eating fewer calories or exercising more than their heavier counterparts in the study.
"That does not mean that you can eat unbounded amounts of chocolate," Golomb says.
Ah, the catch.
The research is certainly intriguing. Golomb had hypothesized that the metabolic benefits of chocolate - properties that would slightly increase your metabolism - would offset the calories consumed. "I wasn’t bold enough to conjecture that the net effect would be favorable." But that's what the results showed.
Research has long revealed the heart-healthy benefits of eating small amounts of chocolate, says registered dietician Nancy Copperman, director of Public Health Initiatives at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New York. Dark chocolate in particular is high in anti-oxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties.
A 2006 meta-analysis of studies published between 1966 and 2005 showed cocoa may even lower blood pressure, increase HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol). More recently in 2011, researchers at the University of Cambridge analyzed the results of seven studies and concluded that high levels of chocolate consumption might be associated with a notable reduction in the risk of developing heart disease.
Still, those cardiovascular benefits come with a risk, Copperman says. "Before you start eating a chocolate bar a day to keep the doctor away, remember that a chocolate bar can contain over 200 calories, which mostly come from saturated fats and sugar."
Dr. Susan Roberts, director of the Energy Metabolism Laboratory at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University, has concerns about the way the study's researchers gathered their data. For instance, all of the participants in the study self-reported their meals.
"When I looked at this study, my first question was, 'Did they exclude people who were not accurately reporting their diet?'" Roberts wrote in an e-mail. "It is well known that people who are overweight or obese under-report their food intake, and what they under-report is the bad stuff."
In other words, the higher BMI group could have under-reported their chocolate intake. Or the lower BMI group could have over-estimated the total number of calories they were eating.
Roberts acknowledges the possible health benefits of chocolate - it contains caffeine, which may increase your metabolic rate.
"But having healthy constituents does not necessarily make the food good for weight control!" she wrote. "An example here would be cheese – it contains tons of calcium, but is not recommended as a panacea for obesity."
What's needed, all three women agree, are more studies to determine if chocolate's metabolic benefits really can offset the calories consumed, and help people keep their weight in check. Golomb would next like to do a randomized trial, which would include a control group and an experimental group. In such a trial, both groups would eat similar meal plans but only one would add chocolate to their diet.
Is there a way to ensure we're in the chocolate group? Because if so... sign us up.
About this blog
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.
May I simply say what a relief to uncover an individual who genuinely knows what they are talking about on the internet. You certainly know how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people ought to check this out and understand this side of your story. I was surprised that you aren't more popular given that you definitely have the gift.
Thank You for your information
thanks for sharing!
carry on, dont stop
It’s nearly impossible to find experienced people in this particular topic, however, you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks
I'm not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic.
Thanks for wonderful information I used to be in search of this info for my mission.
A great read. I'll definitely be back.
Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You're doing a great job Man,Keep it up.
Aw, this was an exceptionally good post. Spending some time and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.
I blog frequently and I really appreciate your content. The article has truly peaked my interest. I'm going to book mark your website and keep checking for new details about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.
I like looking through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
Thanks for the information.
Thank you, I've just been looking for information approximately this topic for a long time and yours is the greatest I have discovered so far. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you certain concerning the supply?
Commenting on a blog is an art. Good comments create relations. You're doing great work. Keep it up.
Very good post! We are linking to this great post on our site. Keep up the good writing.
Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve visited this blog before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized it’s new to me. Regardless, I’m certainly delighted I found it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back frequently!
After checking out a few of the blog posts on your web site, I seriously appreciate your way of writing a blog. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Take a look at my web site too and tell me what you think.
When I initially commented I appear to have clicked on the -Notify me when new comments are added- checkbox and now each time a comment is added I receive four emails with the exact same comment. Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service? Thanks!
Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying these details.
Hi, I do think this is a great blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I am going to revisit once again since I book marked it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.
Hey there! I just wish to offer you a huge thumbs up for the excellent information you've got here on this post. I will be coming back to your site for more soon.
An impressive share! I've just forwarded this onto a colleague who has been conducting a little homework on this. And he in fact bought me dinner because I found it for him... lol. So allow me to reword this.... Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending some time to talk about this subject here on your blog.
Hello there! I simply would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great information you have got here on this post. I will be returning to your blog for more soon.
Greetings, There's no doubt that your web site might be having internet browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, if opening in IE, it's got some overlapping issues. I simply wanted to give you a quick heads up! Apart from that, excellent site!
There's definately a great deal to know about this subject. I love all of the points you made.
Hi, I do think this is an excellent blog. I stumbledupon it 😉 I will return yet again since I saved as a favorite it. Money and freedom is the best way to change, may you be rich and continue to help others.
I like reading through a post that can make men and women think. Also, thank you for allowing me to comment!
The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me just as much as this one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, nonetheless I genuinely believed you'd have something helpful to say. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could possibly fix if you were not too busy looking for attention.
Have you ever heard of second life (sl for short). It is basically a online game where you can do anything you want. SL is literally my second life (pun intended lol). If you want to see more you can see these second life articles and blogs
Everyone loves it when individuals get together and share views. Great blog, continue the good work!
I'd like to thank you for the efforts you've put in writing this site. I am hoping to view the same high-grade content by you later on as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has encouraged me to get my very own website now 😉