BOSTON, Mass. — Eating chocolate for breakfast probably sounds like an express ticket to obesity, but a new study finds it may be a healthier idea than many think. Researchers from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital say swapping out eggs and bacon for some chocolate can actually lead to burning more fat and lowering blood sugar levels throughout the day.
More specifically, an international team discovered that consuming chocolate during a narrow window of time after waking up improves health in a study of postmenopausal women. Researchers examined 19 women who ate 100 grams of chocolate within one hour of waking up each morning. The group also consumed the same amount of chocolate one hour before bed. The team then compared weight gain and other measures of health to people not eating chocolate.
Chocolate for breakfast won’t ruin your waistline
In news that will have chocolate fans jumping for joy, results show morning and nighttime chocolate eating did not lead to weight gain in these women. Moreover, eating chocolate at either time of day can influence a person’s appetite, gut microbiome balance, and sleep quality.
When it comes to the morning, a bowl of chocolaty cereal appears to be a good way of getting your metabolism going. The study finds eating chocolate for breakfast can increase fat burning ability. It also reduces blood glucose levels, a key measure for people at risk from diabetes. At night, eating chocolate before bed led to changes in the participants’ resting and exercise metabolism the following morning.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” says study author and neuroscientist Frank A. J. L. Scheer in a media release.
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies,” adds co-author Marta Garaulet, PhD.
The finding appear in The FASEB Journal.