Meanwhile, consuming it at night helped regulate participants’ sleeping patterns and alter their metabolism.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” said Harvard Medical School professor Frank AJL Scheer who helped lead the study.
“Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake,” added co-author Marta Garaulet of Brigham hospital.
During the 14-day trial, participants were allowed to eat “any other foods” and not restricted to a particular diet.
Scheer explained that he and his colleagues “hypothesised that having a high-energy and high-sugar food such as chocolate during a short-term period of two weeks” may affect energy balance, weight distribution, and the bacteria in the gut.
Indeed, their findings suggest that chocolate consumption can decrease hunger and the desire for sweets and reduce energy intake.
In addition, daily levels of the stress hormone cortisol were lower when eating chocolate in the morning.
Key to the medicinal properties of chocolate are the chemicals in cocoa called flavanols. They supposedly increase fat oxidation and have been linked to a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke and death from cardiovascular disease.
That said, don’t get too excited.
Before you go reaching for the Dairy Milk at 7am tomorrow, remember the old mantra: “Everything in moderation.”