Studies show that eating dark chocolate is great for your heart. It's not only linked to preventing a first heart attack or stroke, but to preventing a second heart attack after a first. But the dark side of dark chocolate is its calories — a 3-ounce bar delivers 450 calories. Definitely not a diet food…or is it? A new study shows that you can eat a little bit of chocolate every day and still lose weight!
Researchers at Pennsylvania State University studied 26 overweight women on a weight-loss diet of 1,500 to 1,800 calories, dividing them into 2 groups. One group ate two chocolate snacks a day, totaling 90 calories (that's 4 Dark Chocolate Hershey's Kisses a day), and had a cup of unsweetened cocoa for breakfast. The other group ate fruit-flavored licorice snacks and a cup of cocoa. Women in both groups lost 11 pounds in 3 months.
A diet with sweet snacks "may provide an effective weight-loss strategy for women who struggle with other more restrictive diet plans," concluded the researchers in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
The bottom line is that it may be OK to enjoy yummy dark chocolate on a weight-loss diet, allowing just a little bit of chocolate to melt in your mouth. Small, individually wrapped chocolate sweets like Kisses are perfect for portion control — and you can eat up to two, twice a day, instead of other sugary snacks!
"A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study." J Am Diet Assoc. 2011 Aug;111(8):1198-203.
Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.