It seems to be one of the first foods someone swears off when they embark on a weight loss program, but mounting evidence points to chocolate as an ally rather than a villain in the journey for healthy weight loss. The latest study comes from the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, where researcher indicate not only could dark chocolate aid in stopping weight gain, but it can prevent type 2 diabetes as well.
This isn’t the heavily sweetened and diluted-down milk chocolate found in most candies, but rather dark chocolate, rich in flavanols and all of the benefits which is connected to these powerful antioxidants.
In trying to establish which flavanols had the biggest impact, Dr. Andrew Neilson and his colleagues tested the various flavanols in mice on different diets. A type known as oligomeric procyanidins (PCs) were found to make the biggest difference in weight change.
“Oligomeric PCs appear to possess the greatest anti-obesity and anti-diabetic bioactivities of the flavanols in cocoa, particularly at the low doses employed for the present study,” said the researchers.
While interesting, the average person doesn’t need to know which polyphenol is delivering the benefits, merely that it is beneficial. Adding a small amount (1 oz.) of high quality dark chocolate to your existing diet plan could aid in the battle of the bulge.
What’s more, this isn’t the first study to link chocolate with weight loss. One study from researchers at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome has revealed that eating dark chocolate can reduce the markers for heart disease and even reduce belly fat in a single week.
Recently, researchers with Louisiana State University released findings indicating dark chocolate is able to help control blood pressure and improve cardiovascular health. These effects were tied directly to the effects of cocoa on gut bacteria.
“We found that there are two kinds of microbes in the gut: the “good” ones and the ‘bad’ ones,” explains researcher Maria Moore. “The good microbes, such as Bifidobacterium and lactic acid bacteria, feast on chocolate. When you eat dark chocolate, they grow and ferment it, producing compounds that are anti-inflammatory.”
In addition to working on an antioxidant and gut bacteria level, a square of chocolate can help control cravings that often derail diet attempts.