In the past month, I’ve blogged a couple times about chocolate: how to make it more nutritious and its ability to increase energy and exercise stamina and support a healthy heart in older adults. However, studies determining its importance for weight regulation, in particular within the context of a controlled dietary measure, have rarely been conducted.
A new study published in the International Archives of Medicine divided men and women between the ages of 19 and 67 into three groups (2015;8(55):1-8). One group was instructed to keep a low-carb diet and to consume an additional serving of 42 g/d of chocolate with 81% cocoa content (chocolate group). Another group was instructed to follow the same low-carb diet as the chocolate group, but without the chocolate intervention (low-carb group). In addition, a third group ate at their own discretion, with unrestricted choice of food.
At the beginning of the study, all participants received extensive medical advice and were thoroughly briefed on their respective diet. At the beginning and the end of the study, each participant gave a blood sample. Their weight, BMI and waist-to-hip ratio were determined and noted. During the study, participants were encouraged to weigh themselves on a daily basis, assess the quality of their sleep as well as their mental state and to use urine test strips.
Subjects of the chocolate intervention group experienced the easiest and most successful weight loss. Even though the measurable effect of this diet occurred with a delay, the weight reduction of this group exceeded the results of the low-carb group by 10% after only three weeks. While the weight cycling effect already occurred after a few weeks in the low-carb group, with resulting weight gain in the last fifth of the observation period, the chocolate group experienced a steady increase in weight loss. This is confirmed by the evaluation of the ketone reduction. Initially, ketone reduction was much lower in the chocolate group than in the low-carb peer group, but after a few weeks, the situation changed.
The low-carb group had a lower ketone reduction than in the previous period, they reduced 145 mg/dl less ketones, whereas the chocolate group had an average reduction of an additional 145 mg/dl. Effects were similarly favorable concerning cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels of the chocolate group.
Moreover, the subjects of the chocolate group found a significant improvement in their well-being (physically and mentally). The controlled improvement compared to the results of the low-carb group was highly significant.
The researchers concluded consumption of chocolate with a high-cocoa content can significantly increase the success of weight-loss diets. The weight-loss effect of this diet occurs with a certain delay. Long-term weight loss, however, seems to occur easier and more successfully by adding chocolate. The effect of the chocolate, the so-called "weight loss turbo," seems to go hand in hand with personal well-being, which was significantly higher than in the control groups.