Eating a high amount of chocolate in the first hour of the day could boost fat loss and lower blood sugar.
A study found that consuming 100 g of chocolate within an hour of waking up could help with burning fat, reduce blood glucose levels, and decrease daily cortisol levels (a stress hormone).
Milk chocolate, because of its high fat and sugar content, seems like a good recipe to put on weight, especially in postmenopausal women who are more likely to gain weight.
However, the current study suggests that the “timing” of chocolate intake affects microbiota composition and function, hunger, and fat burn.
For this study, 19 postmenopausal women were asked to consume 100 g of milk chocolate for 2 weeks either within an hour of waking up or within an hour before bedtime.
Weight gain and other factors such as blood glucose levels, hunger, and stress levels related to appetite were compared to a two-week period with no chocolate intake.
The results show that during the two weeks of chocolate intake women were less hungry, craving fewer sweets and so lost more weight.
Eating chocolate in the morning provided other benefits like reduced cortisol levels during the day and consequently lower stress-related appetite.
To some extent this may explain why those women when consuming chocolate in the morning showed better caloric compensation, adjusting their intake in response to changes in their daily calories.
The reduction in craving sweets might be due to longer satisfaction and improved mood from the release of endorphins in the brain.
A summary of the findings:
- Eating chocolate in the morning or in the evening didn’t cause any weight gain.
- Chocolate intake can influence microbiota composition, hunger and appetite, and sleep.
- Eating a fair amount of chocolate during breakfast time could help in losing belly fat and lower blood sugar levels.
- Eating chocolate in the morning prompted lipid oxidation (breaking down fatty acids) 26 percent more than evening intake.
- Eating chocolate in the evening prompted carbohydrate oxidation 35 percent higher than morning chocolate.
Dr Frank Scheer, the study’s senior author, said:
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight.”
Dr Marta Garaulet, study co-author, said:
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake.
Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies.”
Past studies have suggested that dark chocolate can lower the craving for fatty foods, sweet, and salty treats due to increased satiety and reducing the desire to eat more.
The study was published in The FASEB Journal (Hernández‐González et al., 2021).