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Chocolate may lower body fat

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It is a research finding that is the dream of every chocoholic.

Researchers at a European university claim to have found an association between higher chocolate consumption and lower fat levels.

The study, based on data collected from 1458 youths aged between 12 to 17 years from nine different European countries, found that those who eat a lot of chocolate have lower levels of total and abdominal fat.

The researchers found that those who consumed, on average, 42 grams of chocolate a day – equivalent to one Mars bar – had a lower body mass index and central fat and waist circumference than those who ate only 4.2 grams of chocolate per day.

The associations were made after the elimination of other potential factors included levels of physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, saturated fat consumption, gender and energy intake.

Lead researcher Dr Magdalena Cuenca-Garcia, from the University of Granada in Spain, said even though chocolate contains sugar and fat, it was also high in flavonoids, which have “important antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects, and can help prevent ischemic heart disease”.

The researchers noted that there was no information on the type of chocolate consumed included in the study. Dark chocolate is known to have an especially high concentration of flavonoids.

The research was part of the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescent Cross-Sectional Study.

Kirsty Waterford

Image by Larisa Deac on Flickr, used under Creative Commons licence