You may have heard our mothers or grandmothers reminiscing about the figure they had when they were younger. Even with diet and exercise, age-related weight gain is sometimes unavoidable and hard to control, especially in women after menopause.
However, there seems to be a sweet way to help burn fat for older women. Believe it or not, chocolate may actually help in weight loss, according to research. Let’s look at the finding and see if chocolate can be a sweet solution.
According to study co-author Frank Scheer, Ph.D., a neuroscientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, researchers used milk chocolate to test the connection between weight loss and chocolate because it has more fat, sugar, and calories than dark chocolate, which has been praised for its health benefits. So, by choosing milk chocolate instead, the study offered a different perspective on popular dietary beliefs.
The researchers conducted a controlled study of 19 postmenopausal women who ate around 3.5 ounces of milk chocolate every day at different times for two weeks to determine if the practice caused weight gain. The study concluded that the women who ate 3-5 ounces in the morning and in the evening refrained from gaining weight but also experienced other health benefits. Scheer shares that the study also showed the importance of when we eat, not just what we eat.
Chocolate and Weight Gain
You might be asking yourself how it’s possible that eating chocolate will prevent you from gaining weight. Most of your life, you’ve probably been told that chocolate will make you gain weight. But Shena Jaramillo, RD, dietitian at Peace and Nutrition, explains that it is possible because the women in the study were actually meeting their caloric needs.
By being constantly in a caloric deficit, the body is undernourished and grabs onto nutrients in every bit of food eaten. By adding a little bit of chocolate as a treat, the body meets its caloric needs and the occasional cravings for sweets will be reduced. However, moderation here is the key, since eating chocolate all day will give you those extra pounds regardless of your age.
Besides slower weight gain, some of the benefits reported were fewer food cravings, higher energy levels, and better sleep.
Eating small amounts of chocolate in the morning, especially within the first hour of waking up, will decrease your hunger level and sugar cravings. The main reason behind this is the reduction of glucose blood levels. It is also a catalyst for fat-burning processes. The women in the study also reported higher energy levels for physical activities during the day.
Eating chocolate one hour before sleeping, meanwhile, boosts the production of melatonin, which is a neurotransmitter that helps us fall asleep. It also greatly benefits the circadian system which not only results in better sleep but also impacts our metabolism and body weight.
It is known that eating a large meal right before bed leads to weight gain and trouble sleeping, but it also can disturb the microflora of your digestive system and elevate blood sugar.
But by eating chocolate an hour before sleeping and nothing else after, the participants reported that they had no trouble falling asleep and even sleep better throughout the night.
A Sweet Conclusion
Contrary to popular belief, chocolate is not “forbidden fruit” when it comes to controlling weight gain in older women. And this does not mean that you should restrict yourself to dark chocolate only.
Even though the study conducted was relatively small and short, it highlights how what we eat is important. When we eat is also as important as what we eat. And it’s important to make sure that you meet your body’s caloric needs since this will not only help you lose weight, but it is also crucial to your body’s health.
Do you have a sweet tooth? What is your favorite type of chocolate? What is your best weight loss method? Let us know in the comment section below!