Eat Chocolate and Lose Weight? It's True!

Finally.  My dream come true.

You can lose weight by eating chocolate. 

Well, OK, maybe not exactly.  But a new study has found that chocolate is a rich source of bioactive compounds, particularly a group of molecules called flavonoids, plant compounds associated with several positive health impacts, according to

Most diet experts agree it's not what you eat but how much you eat, and in what combinations.  I've been a Weight Watchers member, off and on, since high school and what I've learned is that you need to balance what you eat -- some fruit, some vegetables, some lean protein, some carbohydrates (like sweet potato and brown rice).  You can even eat popcorn!

But teasing out the possible effects of the compounds in your diet, and how it may interact with various diet interventions, is rarely studied. It could be that simply consuming chocolate in combination with dietary interventions has no effect, or it could make such diets even more effective in the right dose.

To test the idea, German researchers from The Institute of Diet and Health, a medical non-profit think tank, focusing on obesity in the developed world. divided volunteer human subjects from 19 to 67 into three groups: One group followed a strict low-carbohydrate diet, another group followed the low-carbohydrate diet and also consumed 42 grams of dark (81%) chocolate per day, and a control group followed their status quo diet.

Besides tracking their body weight and measuring blood chemistry before, during, and after the intervention, subjects filled out questionnaires to assess sleep quality and subjective well-being, a key predictor of dietary compliance. (It's recently been found that how much you sleep may affect your weight.)

As predicted, the low-carb group lost weight compared to the control. But surprisingly, the low-carb plus chocolate group lost 10% more weight. Not only that, but the weight loss persisted, compared to the low-carb group which saw a return of the weight after 3 weeks—a classic problem in dietary interventions known as the “yo-yo effect”. The chocolate group also reported better sleep and well-being, and their blood cholesterol levels were significantly reduced.

“To our surprise, the effect of chocolate is real,”say researchers. “It is not enough to just consume chocolate, but in combination with exercise and reduction in carbohydrates, our data indicate that chocolate can be a weight loss accelerator. ”

Researchers suggest that high-cocoa chocolate has the potential to enhance other diets as well. “The best part about this discovery,”says Bohannon, “is that you can buy chocolate everywhere, cheaply and without having to believe diet gurus or purchase expensive nutrition products over the Internet.”

So does this mean eat a whole bag of Hershey kisses every day?  Not quite.  If you notice, the survey said "dark chocolate."  And I suspect this doesn't mean simply consuming dark chocolate kisses, but chocolate high in cacao, which usually is pretty bitter -- though the scientists didn't really drill down this deep.

In the end, we all know the  best way to lose weight (and keep it off) is moderation.  But if that were easy, we'd all look, well, skinnier, I guess. And there is a downside to being too thin.  If you're a French model, you're fired.



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