A recent study showed that frequent chocolate consumption was associated with lower body mass index (BMI), even when adjusting for calorie intake, saturated fat intake, and mood.
Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and colleagues described their findings in a research letter published in this week’s issue of the prestigious medical journal – Archives of Internal Medicine.
The authors used data from 1018 patients already being screened for inclusion in a widely sampling clinical study looking at the benefits of statin medications. Of the 1018 participants, 1017 answered the question, “How many times a week do you consume chocolate?” BMI was calculated for 972 participants (95.6%); and 975 (95.8%) answered a Food Frequency Questionnaire.
Here’s the Science:
The investigators performed analyses with and without adjustment for calorie intake, saturated fat intake and mood. Fruit and vegetable intake was not associated with chocolate consumption. The amount of chocolate consumed was examined, in addition to the frequency of chocolate consumption. Activity (number of times in a 7-day period the participant engaged in vigorous activity for at least 20 minutes) and mood were also examined.
The relationship between chocolate consumption frequency and BMI was calculated in unadjusted models, in models adjusted for age and sex and in models adjusted for activity, saturated fats and mood. Study participants consumed chocolate on average twice a week and exercised between three and four times per week. Frequency of chocolate consumption was associated with greater intake of calories and saturated fats. Chocolate consumption frequency was not associated with greater activity, but it was associated with lower BMI. This association remained with and without adjustment for age and sex, as well as for calories, saturated fats and depression.
Although chocolate consumption frequency was associated with lower BMI, the amount of chocolate consumed was not, so it appears that how often you eat chocolate is more important than how much you eat.
The connection of higher chocolate consumption frequency to lower BMI is opposite to associations presumed based on calories alone, but in agreement with a growing body of medical literature suggesting that the type — as well as the quantity — of calories has an impact on weight.
This is good news for chocolate lovers, particularly with Easter round the corner. It seems that a little of what you fancy does you good and that we can all enjoy chocolate in moderation.
Reference Arch Int Med. 2012;172:519-523.