Perhaps this is due to flavanols, beneficial chemicals. Milk chocolate may not be the first food you think of when you decide to go on a diet known for its high sugar, fat, and calorie content. But, as scientists have found, starting the day with chocolate may have “unexpected benefits” by helping the body burn fat.
Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, USA, gave 100 grams of milk chocolate to 19 postmenopausal women within one hour of waking up and one hour before they went to bed for two weeks.
The results showed that chocolate consumption did not affect the weight of the participants and actually contributed to weight loss. It says that eating chocolate in the morning can actually help burn fat and lower blood glucose levels.
This may be due to flavanols, beneficial chemicals naturally found in cocoa that enhance fat oxidation. While eating chocolate at night helped regulate sleep patterns and change metabolism. During the trial, participants were allowed to eat “any other food”, including sweets, in addition to their milk chocolate diet.
Frank A.J.L. Scheer, a neuroscientist specializing in sleep and circadian disorders, said: “Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening/at night has different effects on hunger and appetite, substrate oxidation, fasting glucose levels, microbiota (composition and function), sleep rhythms and temperatures.
“Our findings suggest that not only what we eat, but also when we eat, can influence the physiological mechanisms involved in body weight regulation.”
The researchers added: “the results show that women were less hungry when they ate chocolate and experienced less desire for sweets than without chocolate, especially when they took chocolate in the evening/at night.
“Moreover, daily cortisol levels were lower when eating chocolate in the morning than in the evening/night.” However, chocolate should still be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.