The facts came in a long time ago to confirm what we all suspected: chocolate makes people feel better. It has great positive effects on people’s mood. But now, as if to throw all conventional wisdom out the window, the facts are pointing to a new chocolatey power: making you slimmer.
“In our study, people who ate chocolate more often actually ate more calories,” Beatrice Golomb of UC San Diego told National Public Radio. “But in spite of that they had lower [BMI, body mass index].”
That’s right. The 1,000-person study found that if a five foot tall woman, weighing 120 pounds, was a frequent eater of chocolate (approximately five times a week) she was likely to weigh five pounds less than her counterpart who ate no chocolate.
Furthermore, the study (which was published in Archives of Internal Medicine) found that how often chocolate was eaten was a more important factor than how much was eaten at any given time.
Even more surprisingly, the amount of exercise the chocolate-eaters engaged in was not a single crunch more than their non-chocoholic counterparts.
The research did leave some questions to be asked, however. It did not attempt to determine what type of chocolate is most beneficial. Moreover, the study showed that at some point, the correlation between chocolate and weight loss melted among the highest consumers; meaning that the benefits of chocolate do reach a point of diminishing returns, a point the study did not manage to locate.
The real victory of the study is the understanding it brings to the relationship between calories and weight, Golomb told BBC News, “Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight.”
Still, it may be only natural to be skeptical of these results or to call them too good to be true; the urge to attribute the results to random chance, or to research funded by candy companies, is strong. But the researchers claimed to BBC that there was only “one chance in a hundred” that random circumstantial effects could have so dramatically shaped their results.
As for the other charge, funding for the study came from sources like the National Institute of Health; the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; and the UC San Diego General Clinical Research Center.
Willy Wonka was unavailable for comment.