No, it's not unhealthy to gorge on a few pieces of milkchocolate early in the morning or before you go to bed. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston has revealed that it can actually help you shed a few pounds!
As part of their study, researchers gave 100 grams of milk chocolate to 19 post-menopausal women twice a day—the first hundred within one hour of waking up and the second, one hour before they went to sleep—for two weeks. In the duration of the trail, the participants had no restrictions on their diet or lifestyle.
Shockingly, the findings showed that despite eating 200 grams of chocolate a day, the 19 women did not put on any weight in 14 days. As a matter of fact, it helped some of them to slim down. The results were surprising because milk chocolate is dense in calories—just 100 grams has around 535 calories. A healthy lunchtime meal should normally have 500 calories altogether, so that means these women were adding over 1000 calories to their daily diet and they still managed to either maintain the same weight, or cut down.
Co-author and neuroscientist with the division of sleep and circadian disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Frank A.J.L. Scheer said:
Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake.
Results show that females were less hungry when eating chocolate and had less desire for sweets than with no chocolate, especially when taking chocolate during the evening/night.
When to eat chocolate
Their findings also uncovered that chocolate has a different effect on your system depending on when you consume it. Eating chocolate in the morning was found to burn fat and reduce glucose levels in the blood. Whereas having a late-night chocolate snack changed the metabolism rate of the participants and also helped them to regulate their sleep cycles.
Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight.
Having chocolate in the morning or the evening/night results in differential effects on hunger and appetite, substrate oxidation, fasting glucose, microbiota (composition and function), and sleep and temperature rhythms.
Additionally, Scheer divulged that the women’s cortisol levels were also significantly lower when they ate chocolate in the morning than at night.
So there you have it. Turns out it's not so bad to devour a couple squares of milk chocolate every morning (and night). Remember, just a couple squares! Eat more than that and you definitely won’t see the same results as these women.