A new study conducted by researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital explored how eating chocolate may have health benefits for postmenopausal women. According to their findings, eating milk chocolate in the morning can help older women burn fat, reduce blood sugar levels, and regulate body weight.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” said researcher Frank A.J.L. Scheer, Ph.D.
Benefits of milk chocolate
The researchers had 19 postmenopausal women involved in the study. Over the course of two weeks, the women either ate 100mg of chocolate within one hour of waking up or within one hour of going to sleep. The researchers tracked their health outcomes and compared them with postmenopausal women who didn’t alter their dietary habits.
Ultimately, eating chocolate at any time of the day didn’t lead to increased weight gain for any of the participants. However, eating the chocolate at different times of the day yielded different health outcomes, though both groups experienced fewer cravings for sweet foods throughout the day and generally felt less hungry.
The researchers found that nighttime chocolate made the participants more likely to engage in physical activity and was associated with a more consistent sleep routine. On the other hand, eating chocolate in the morning was linked with lower blood sugar levels, greater fat burning, and a smaller waist circumference.
Though all consumers have different dietary restrictions, these findings highlight that just a small amount of chocolate each day may benefit older women.
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake,” said researcher Marta Garaulet, Ph.D. “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.”