Lifestyle & Belief

Chocolate may help keep people slim


White and black chocolate bars are displayed at a stand as part of the 'Salon du Chocolat' (chocolate fair) on March 9, 2012, in Lille.



Eating chocolate more frequently is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), a new study has found.

The effect of eating chocolate a few times a week, rather than just occasionally, is modest but greater than can be explained by chance, the Guardian quotes researchers from the University of California at San Diego as reporting.

The study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, put out by the Journal of the American Medical Association, involved more than 1,000 healthy men and women.

It found adults that adults who ate chocolate a few times a week were, on average, slimmer than those who consumed it occasionally.

Even though chocolate is loaded with calories, it contains ingredients that may favor weight loss rather than fat synthesis, scientists believe, according to the BBC.

More from GlobalPost: Valentine's Day around the world

The BBC quoted lead author Dr Beatrice Golomb as saying: "Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight."

The connection remained even when other factors, like how much exercise individuals did, were taken into account, BBC wrote.

Eating chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, has previously been linked to favorable health outcomes, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol.

However, because of its high fat and calorie content, chocolate is not usually recommended by health experts.

Australia's ABC cited experts as urging moderation.

"Before you start eating a chocolate bar a day to keep the doctor away, remember that a chocolate bar can contain over 200 calories which mostly come from saturated fats and sugar," Nancy Copperman, director of Public Health Initiatives at the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System in New York, reportedly said.

"Consider limiting your chocolate fix to a one ounce (28 grams) portion of dark chocolate or adding cocoa powder which is very low in fat to your food once a day."

More from GlobalPost: Tough times for Australian billionaires