Eat more chocolate and lose weight in 2012? You don't have to tell us twice! To be clear, we're not talking just any chocolate, but specifically dark chocolate, the type that's most often touted for health benefits.
Although a small study, the latest data suggests that the intensity of flavor and a specific type of fat in dark chocolate can better curb our cravings to eat more. In the study (appearing in the journal Nutrition and Diabetes), 16 young men ate 100 grams of either dark or milk chocolate, and then researchers measured their appetite every half hour during the following five hours. The men who ate dark chocolate said they felt fuller and less hungry after eating it; they also desired sweet, fatty, or savory foods less than those who ate milk chocolate.
Those feelings translated into actual calorie-cutting behavior, too. Two hours after eating the chocolates, researchers offered both groups of men an all-you-can-eat meal. Those who ate dark chocolate ate 17 percent fewer calories than their milk-chocolate-eating counterparts.
Read More: The Results Are In! We Rate the Best Organic Chocolates
So what is it about dark chocolate that better controls the appetite? Researchers say dark chocolate's greater flavor intensity and it's cocoa butter content help us feel full. Milk chocolate consists of both cocoa butter and butter fat, a combination that makes the food pass through the GI tract faster. The slower-digested dark chocolate remains in our gut longer, theoretically curbing the appetite for more food longer.
Dark chocolate's antioxidants also protect the cardiovascular system, actually strengthening the arteries. And the sweet treat boasts another feel-good perk, too. Phenylethylamine, a compound in dark chocolate, releases the same feel-good endorphins triggered by sex! (Just be sure to choose organic to avoid exposure to harmful pesticide residues.)
Published on: December 30, 2011