Imagine being able to eat as much chocolate as you want without gaining an ounce. Heaven has dropped down to earth, right? Now imagine this: The more chocolate you eat, the more weight you lose. Sounds like we’re living in the land of if-only, but we’re not. This is hands-down the best news we’ve had since learning about the invention of red wine that doesn’t cause hangovers.
There’s only one small catch. To lose weight by chocolate, you have to eat a lot of it—slowly.
Really slowly. As in one tiny bite every hour, or 3 squares after a meal.
Which may be near impossible for most of us, at least according researchers at the University of Delhi who have been studying the effects of what has become known as “slo-mo chocolate ingestion on women’s digestion.” “This is a breakthrough in the diet world,” says chief study head Kami Jha. Not only will it shift our negative perception of what we consider to be treat versus healthy foods, but it is also poised to have “a huge and lasting effect” on how women view their snacking habits.
The controlled study was a fascinating one (too bad no one signed us up!). It followed 300 women between the ages of 20 and 60, divided into three groups. While the first was given no chocolate for two years (suckers!), the second ate 6 squares after every meal for one year. The third enjoyed the same amount, but parceled out more slowly: 3 squares per meal for the length of the two-year study. With all other diet variables remaining the same, guess which group lost the most weight? While the first group remained basically static on the scale, the second gained a total average of 2 pounds per person. No surprise there. Amazingly, it was the third group that changed the game for the rest of us chocoholics: by losing an average of 2 pounds per person.
The study’s findings were “clear and unequivocable” and “indicate that the more chocolate you eat, as long as it’s ingested slowly and in small amounts, the more it will aid in weight loss efforts,” a researcher involved in the study stated in a recent press release. For many women, however, it’s restraint that is precisely the problem when it comes to our favourite treat. Chocolate may be delicious but it doesn’t quite go far enough in satisfying the perennial sweet tooth, at least not for long. So it’s hard to eat it slowly, which is the prescription required to use it to shed pounds. That’s because, scientists say, chocolate contains addictive properties that can cause mood swings, rendering it difficult for women to stop eating it.
In fact, chocolate is the single most frequently craved food in women because it is habit-forming. It releases seratonin in the body, producing an instant feeling of well-being, and so, even a short abstinence from it creates symptoms of withdrawal. So where do we go from here? The next step, researchers say, is to isolate the actual amount of chocolate required for weight loss and the limits on its effectiveness, followed by the study of the cocoa bean genome that may be responsible for the results. In other words, what exactly causes this miracle anyway?
And when it comes to chocolate, how much is too much? On second thought, we’re thinking it’s time to stop asking questions. After all, we could be using our valuable time on more valuable endeavours—like eating chocolate and losing weight. Who’s with us?
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