Research Shows The More Chocolate You Eat, The Lower Your Body Fat Level

chocolateScientists at the University of Granada have disproved the old idea that chocolate is fattening, in a study reported this week in Nutrition. Higher chocolate consumption associated with lower levels of total fat—fat deposits all over the body—and central—abdominal—fat, independently of whether or not subjects are physically active, and of their diet. The study—possibly the most comprehensive to date—included 1458 European adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years

University of Granada researchers from the Faculty of Medicine and the Faculty of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences have scientifically disproven the old belief that eating chocolate is fattening.

In an article published this week in the journal Nutrition, the authors have shown that higher consumption of chocolate is associated with lower levels of total fat (fat deposited all over the body) and central fat (abdominal), independently of whether or not the individual participates in regular physical activity and of diet, among other factors.

“recent studies in adults suggest chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders”.

The researchers determined whether greater chocolate consumption associated with higher body mass index and other indicators of total and central body fat in adolescents participating in the HELENA (Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence) study. This project, financed by the European Union, studies eating habits and lifestyle in young people in 9 European countries, including Spain.

Independent of diet and physical activity

The study involved 1458 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years and results showed that a higher level of chocolate consumption associated with lower levels of total and central fat when these were estimated through body mass index, body fat percentage—measured by both skinfolds and bioelectrical impedance analysis—and waist circumference. These results were independent of the participant’s sex, age, sexual maturation, total energy intake, intake of saturated fats, fruit and vegetables, consumption of tea and coffee, and physical activity.

As the principle author Magdalena Cuenca-García explains, although chocolate is considered a high energy content food—it is rich in sugars and saturated fats—“recent studies in adults suggest chocolate consumption is associated with a lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders”.

In fact, chocolate is rich in flavonoids—especially catechins—which have many healthy properties: “they have important antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects and can help prevent ischemic heart disease”.

Recently, another cross-sectional study in adults conducted by University of California researchers found that more frequent chocolate consumption also associated with a lower body mass index. What’s more, these results were confirmed in a longitudinal study in women who followed a catechin-rich diet.

The effect could be partly due to the influence of catechins on cortisol production and on insulin sensitivity, both of which are related with overweight and obesity.

Calorie impact is not the only thing that matters

The University of Granada researchers have sought to go further and analyse the effect of chocolate consumption at a critical age like adolescence by also controlling other factors that could influence the accumulation of fat. The research, which is both novel and, perhaps, the largest and best-controlled study to date, is the first to focus on the adolescent population. It includes a large number of body measures, objective measurement of physical activity, detailed dietary recall with 2 non-consecutive 24-hour registers using image-based software, and controls for the possible effect of a group of key variables.

In Nutrition, the authors stress that the biological impact of foods should not be evaluated solely in terms of calories. “The most recent epidemiologic research focuses on studying the relation between specific foods—both for their calorie content and for their components—and the risk factors for developing chronic illnesses, including overweight and obesity”.

Despite their results, the authors insist that chocolate consumption should always be moderate. “In moderate quantities, chocolate can be good for you, as our study has shown. But, undoubtedly, excessive consumption is prejudicial. As they say: you can have too much of a good thing”.

The University of Granada researchers stress that their findings “are also important from a clinical perspective since they contribute to our understanding of the factors underlying the control and maintenance of optimal weight”.

http://canal.ugr.es/health-science-and-technology/item/68840

Rise In “Sin Stocks” Predicted In Economic Downturn

Chicago (September 16, 2008)

A five-star restaurant might be out of the question, but a nice bottle of wine at home? Definitely. In spite of or maybe because of tough economic times, many Americans are clinging to their smallest, most indulgent pleasures.
“Chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol again seem relatively recession-proof,” comments Marcia Mogelonsky, senior analyst at Mintel. “People might be cutting back or switching to store-brands, but they definitely aren’t giving up their small daily indulgences.”

Mogelonsky points out that most Americans can still afford chocolate, cigarettes and alcohol, no matter how much their finances have been cut. “Because people are being so cautious with their spending, they feel they are entitled to small rewards and they won’t give them up easily.”

Chocolate Shoes

Chocolate Shoes

Chocolate

The sweet tooth does not seem to be connected to the finance bone. Mintel shows the chocolate market growing quickly, with retail sales rising 22% from 2002 to 2007 (to $16.3 billion). Innovative, dark and premium chocolates are extremely popular, so Mintel expects Americans to continue indulging in this favorite treat. The market research firm predicts 4% annual sales increases each year for the next six years.

Cigarettes

A common vice, many smokers aren’t kicking the habit, even as prices continue to rise and health warnings abound. Cigarette and tobacco product sales increased 44% from 2003 to 2007 (to $103 billion) according to Mintel. As price and tax increases continue to take hold, Mintel projects that the cigarette and tobacco market will grow 28% through 2011 (to $132 billion).

World's Most Expensive Cigarette

World's Most Expensive Cigarette

Alcohol

Motivated by high gas prices and expensive bar tabs, more Americans are opting to drink at home. But that doesn’t mean they’re drinking less. New research from Mintel reveals the market for at-home alcohol is expected to reach $77.8 billion in 2008, a 32% increase from 2003. Mintel expects both in-home and out-of-home alcohol sales to rise steadily in coming years.

History seems to be repeating itself, as the “sinful” chocolate, cigarette and alcohol markets remain steady and robust. Mintel notes a sharp contrast to other food, beverage and leisure categories, which struggle as gas prices rise and the economy stumbles.

How Much Is One Drink?

How Much Is One Drink?

So, how much is “one” drink anyway?

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