A letter published in the March 26, 2012 issue of the American Medical Association journal Archives of Internal Medicine reveals the results of a study which found that adults who ate chocolate more frequently had a lower body mass index (BMI) compared to those who consumed it infrequently. Higher body mass index is a component of metabolic syndrome, a cluster of factors linked to the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego analyzed data from 1,017 men and women aged 20 to 85 years who had no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or abnormal low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels upon enrollment in the UCSD Statin Study, which examined the noncardiac effects of statin drugs. Participants were queried concerning how many times per week they consumed chocolate, and food frequency questionnaires were completed by the majority of subjects.
The participants in the current study consumed chocolate an average of twice per week. Although greater frequency of chocolate intake was associated with increased calorie consumption and saturated fat intake, those who consumed chocolate more often had a lower body mass index than those who consumed it infrequently in several adjusted models.
"Our findings—that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI—are intriguing," Beatrice A. Golomb, MD, PhD and her colleagues write. "They accord with other findings suggesting that diet composition, as well as calorie number, may influence BMI."
"A randomized trial of chocolate for metabolic benefits in humans may be merited," they conclude.
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