Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD
March 26, 2012 -- People who are trying to lose weight may not need to bar chocolate from their diets.
A new government-funded study of nearly 1,000 healthy adults shows that people who frequently eat chocolate actually weigh less than those who say they eat it less frequently.Study researchers say that people who reported eating chocolate five times a week had a body mass index (BMI) about one point less, on average, than people who said they ate chocolate less frequently. For a woman who is 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighs 125 pounds, one BMI point equals about five pounds. That’s despite the fact that frequent chocolate eaters also reported eating more total calories and more saturated fat than people who ate chocolate less often.
Researchers say that may mean that the calories in chocolate are being offset by other ingredients that boost metabolism. “With modest amounts of chocolate, they may have the effect of being free calories or even better than free -- at least, the associations look that way,” says Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, an associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.
The study is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.