I love breaking the news that what some people think of as a dietary vice is actually a virtue in disguise.
Truly, there’s nothing better than giving a patient the green light to keep eating a food they like. (That’s one reason why my A-List Diet delivers that permission slip in spades.)
I’m sure you remember that one of my absolute favorite “forbidden foods” happens to be chocolate.
And despite its indulgent reputation, chocolate is actually one of the healthiest foods around. In fact, as this new research suggests, it can even help you lose weight!
Chocolate for breakfast
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s hospital recently joined forces with Spain’s University of Murcia to see what effect eating chocolate at different times of the day had on postmenopausal women.
The study was small, but well-designed—a randomized, controlled trial featuring 19 subjects. The women ate either 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of chocolate one hour after waking up, or at night, one hour before bedtime.
At the end of the trial, researchers analyzed the links between chocolate intake, weight gain, and several other key health measures. And their results might surprise you.
- Chocolate intake at any time of the day didn’t lead to weight gain—but it did influence hunger and appetite, microbiome composition, and sleep.
- High intake of chocolate in the morning appeared to aid in fat burning and blood sugar metabolism—whereas nighttime chocolate altered metabolism the next morning.
In other words, chocolate may be the true breakfast of champions—assuming, of course, that you’re a postmenopausal woman who’s trying to keep her weight in check.
The darker the better
This isn’t the least bit surprising to me, of course. I’ve been telling you that chocolate can be a key part of your weight loss strategy for years now.
But I’ll add a caveat that this study didn’t: Skip the milk chocolate, and reach for the dark chocolate instead.
This research actually did use milk chocolate—but I think it’s pretty safe to say that the benefits likely didn’t come from the milk or sugar content. Especially when you consider that most of the research out there focuses on pure cacao… for a reason.
Because when you add in sugar and fat to make cocoa taste better, it comes at the expense of the health-boosting flavanols you’re pushing out.
That’s why I’m always urging you to buy as pure and unadulterated a product as possible. So, opt for dark chocolate that contains at least 85 percent cocoa.
Or you could do what I do: Add 100 percent cocoa to some water. Mix it up on the stovetop with unsweetened almond or coconut milk, along with just enough stevia or lo han to cut the bitterness. Then, drink it hot or cold, whichever you prefer. Either way, it does a body—and your waistline—good.
You can also use it as a topping on crepes, as I demonstrated in a recent Cooking with Dr. Fred Show. (Don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel (“The Dr. Fred Show”) and follow me on Instagram (@DrFredNYC) so you never miss a cooking demo in the future!)
“Starting the day off with chocolate could have unexpected benefits: Researchers find time of day eating milk chocolate can impact regulation of body weight.” Science Daily, 06/27/2021. (sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210624114358.htm)