Turning common belief on its head, researchers from the University of Granada have found a link between low levels of abdominal fat and high intake of chocolate.
The study, which involved 1458 European teens aged between 12 and 17, found that high chocolate consumption did not lead to an increase in fat levels among the participants.
On the contrary, higher intake correlated with lower quantities of fat deposits all over the body regardless of physical activity, fruit and vegetable consumption, saturated fat consumption, and energy intake.
The results were also consistent among males and females.
Aside from reducing fat levels, it has been noted that chocolate also diminishes the risk of heart disease. Dark chocolate, in particular, is known to contain a high concentration of flavonoids – the metabolites responsible for many functions in plants, among them flower pigmentation and UV filtration. Researchers suggest flavonoids boost cortisol production and insulin sensitivity in the human body.
Magdalena Cuenca-García from the university of Granada explains, “They have important antioxidant, antithrombotic, anti-inflammatory and antihypertensive effects and can help prevent ischemic heart disease.”
The findings are consistent with a separate study made in 2012 by the University of California, which revealed that of 1000 individuals aged 20 to 85, those who ate chocolate more frequently had a lower body mass index (BMI), again, regardless of physical activity or diet.
Dark chocolate contains three kinds of fat: monounsaturated (oleic acid), palmitic acid and steric acid. None of these affect your cholesterol levels and are considered healthy fats.
Reducing risk of heart failure and diminishing abdominal fat are just two of an almost never-ending list of benefits we gain from dark chocolate. A 2013 study by Swinburne University in Australia concluded that dark chocolate even affects human mood, effectively increasing calmness and contentedness. The clinical trials, made over a month among 72 men and women aged from 40 to 65, showed those who drank chocolate in high concentrations reflected greater contentedness than those who took it in smaller doses.
That’s right folks, it’s official: chocolate and The Simpsons are the best inventions ever.