We mostly consider dark chocolate as a sweet treat, as opposed to being a healthy snack. And while it does have its share of healthy benefits for the body, many people believe that its unhealthy effects to the body offset such benefits. However, we are now seeing evidence that chocolate does have legitimate reasons to do the body good. This might seem too good to be true, but it does have its backing up with science.

Instead of being a big contributor to your piling pounds, eating large amounts of dark chocolate via a chocolate diet is one of the ways to lose weight, one study has found. Spanish researchers examined the diets and activities of 1,500 teenagers aged between 12 and 17 in 9 European countries, including Spain and the UK. They found that people who admitted eating large amounts of chocolate had far lower levels of fat over their bodies on average. In particular, they were trimmer around the stomach area, regardless of whether they had an active lifestyle or were on a diet.

Dark chocolate was also found to have a positive effect on circulation, heart health and blood pressure. A study from the University of Granada backed up earlier findings from the University of California that suggested regular chocolate eaters have less body fat. This might be because, while chocolate has more calories than many other foods, it appears to make the metabolism work harder, which offsets the fat that otherwise might hand around.

However, there is also the issue of denial on dark chocolate being a big help in excess weight elimination. A recent poll found that 86% of slimmer’s who carried on enjoying their favorite healthy treat successfully treats lost weight. The commissioner of the survey said that extensive research has proven that diets centered on food elimination are so much more likely to fail. They key is to take a more relaxed approach and to have a little of what you like.

Previous research has shown that dieters who completely eliminate treats like chocolate, biscuits and wine are often more likely to put on weight as they compensate by eating more of other foods. One study even showed that as much as 65% of those who give up all treats actually and up ballooning in weight. Another one from the University of Cambridge found people who enjoyed chocolate every day were 29% less likely to have a stroke and 37% less likely to suffer with heart disease than those who avoided it most of the time.

It is the dark chocolate flavonoids in cocoa beans, which is the key ingredient in chocolate that seem responsible for the health benefits of chocolate. These flavonoids act as antioxidants which help mop up an excess of cell-damaging free radicals. As a rule, the higher the cocoa content, the more flavonoids and the greater the health benefits it contains. Dark chocolate with 40% cocoa solids has 5 times more flavonoids than white chocolate and twice as many milk chocolate.

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