Remember when you were born, you got that memo that all girls get that outlines the rules of how we must behave, like how we all have to be obsessed with shoes and we have to be scared of spiders? Then you probably remember rule #36, on the subject of chocolate. It dictates that we're all required to ooh and ahh at the mere mention of it, but then there's that terrible fine print underneath which says we're also supposed to constantly be trying to deny ourselves from enjoying it because it makes us fat, which is in violation of rule #1: never be fat. Well, brace yourselves because new research has found that eating chocolate regularly actually makes you thinner.
Wait? Is Ashton Kutcher hiding under the floorboards waiting to slither out and Punk us? No, he's not because he's not on that show anymore, but also this is no joke. This study, which was funded by the National Institutes of Health, looked at about 1,000 adults who were asked about what they ate and drank, including how many times they ate chocolate in a week. Their body mass indexes were also calculated. What researchers found was that the people who ate chocolate more often tended to be thinner than the people who ate it less often. And it wasn't because the more frequent chocolate eaters ate fewer calories or exercised more often. Actually, the eager chocolate eaters ended up eating more total calories than those who didn't eat much chocolate. Huh, well how do you like them chocolate-covered apples?
Actually, sorry, ladies who love Lindt. Here's where we start to wade into the brown swamp of bad news. These results don't necessarily mean you can just eat endless Ho Hos and hot fudge and chocolate pudding and lose weight. Dammit! Researchers say that in fact this study doesn't prove a link between eating chocolate often and losing weight. Oh, it doesn't? Then why did you even bother doing it? Riddle us that, scientists. Sorry, we should calm down, but we can't because we are PMSing so hard right now.
Anyway, what the research actually does suggest is this, according ot the Wall Street Journal:
[T]he health benefits of chocolate may be linked to how many times in a given week chocolate is eaten rather than the total amount consumed in that week, says the study's lead researcher, Beatrice Golomb, an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Eating a small amount of chocolate each of five days during a week was linked to a lower BMI, even if the person ate more calories overall and didn't exercise more than other participants.
If they really want to find out if eating chocolate does make you lose weight, they've got to do a study that's designed to compare chocolate eaters and non-chocolate eaters by giving people placebo chocolate, and they're having trouble figuring out how to make fake chocolate good enough to pass as a placebo. (Well, don't use carob; nobody's gonna buy that.) Still, the basic news is that there is some benefit to be derived from chocolate, and it seems to come from eating it often. Dr. Golomb even says, "It's my favorite vegetable." A doctor calling chocolate a vegetable?! A thousand writers of novelty magnets and Cathy-inspired cartoons just achieved simultaneous orgasm. Add to that the fact that previous research has shown it can lead to a small reduction in blood pressure and cholesterol, and there isn't any reason not to eat chocolate every day.
OK, eating guilt-free chocolate every day is pretty much living the dream. Except that now you're sort of doing it for your health, and that involves eating dark chocolate—not Oreos and M&Ms, which isn't quite as fun. At first your choco-bites will seems like a little treat, but soon it will come to seem routine, like taking your vitamins or brushing your teeth. And eventually you're going to start to resent your daily dose of chocolate. It won't feel like an indulgence, it will feel tired and old. As with any dream, it'll wear out its welcome. It's like how if you lived with Ryan Gosling, he could only bite his lower lip and charmingly flare his nostrils at you so many times before you'd be like, "Enough, dude, I need to get some sleep. I have to work in the morning." So maybe we ought to just eat chocolate when we feel like it and not feel guilty about it, because it's certainly not terrible for you. Plus, it's possible that after our Sex vs. Chocolate March Madness tournament concludes, we might have to give up chocolate entirely and switch over to having sex all the time. So, we might as well enjoy chocolate in all its many glorious forms while we still can.
A Chocolate a Day to Get Slimmer? [Wall Street Journal]
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