Sweet news about those chocolate cravings: People who eat moderate amounts regularly are thinner than those who eat chocolate less often.
The new research involved 1,018 healthy men and women, who exercised on average 3.6 times a week and had a balanced, nutritious diet. The body mass index of those who ate chocolate five times a week was 1 point lower than people who did not eat it regularly. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight.
Past research has found that dark chocolate can be beneficial for the heart.
Cocoa is rich in antioxidants called flavonoids, which help fight inflammation, lower blood pressure and improve overall vascular function.
The antioxidants also affect metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity, Golomb says. Insulin resistance contributes to hypertension and obesity. “The chocolate provided better metabolism for all calories, not just the chocolate calories.”
The key is moderation – limiting chocolate to a 1-oz. portion of dark chocolate a day, or add cocoa powder to your food or coffee just once a day.