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Researchers at the University of Granada in Spain have found a link between chocolate consumption and lower body-fat levels.
The study has shown that higher consumption of chocolate is associated with lower levels of total fat (fat deposited all over the body) and central fat (abdominal), independently of whether or not the individual participates in regular physical activity and of diet, among other factors.
The study involved 1458 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years and results showed that a higher level of chocolate consumption associated with lower levels of total and central fat when these were estimated through body mass index, body fat percentage–measured by both skinfolds and bioelectrical impedance analysis–and waist circumference. These results were independent of the participant’s sex, age, sexual maturation, total energy intake, intake of saturated fats, fruit and vegetables, consumption of tea and coffee, and physical activity.
“Chocolate is rich in flavonoids–especially catechins–which have many healthy properties: they have important antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects and can help prevent ischemic heart disease” says principle researcher Magdalena Cuenca-Garcia.
The effect could be partly due to the influence of catechins on cortisol production and on insulin sensitivity, both of which are related with overweight and obesity.