After a certain age, keeping ourselves in good health seems to be a little bit harder. From rising blood sugar to a more-pronounced muffin top, sometimes it feels very doom and gloom. But a new study has some great news for post-menopausal women: Eating chocolate may help you burn fat and lower blood sugar. And no, not one square of dark chocolate like you normally read about, we’re talking an actual bar of creamy milk chocolate — if it’s eaten at the right time.
Chocolate Benefits for Post-Menopausal Women
According to the study, published in The FASEB Journal, eating a bar of milk chocolate during a small window of time in the morning could help decrease blood sugar and increase fat burn for postmenopausal women.
Yes, you read that right. Your favorite indulgence may actually help you get healthier — as long as you eat it at the right time. For the randomized controlled trial, 19 postmenopausal women were asked to eat 100 grams of milk chocolate (that’s equivalent to a large chocolate bar containing about 540 calories!) every day for two weeks either in the morning, within one hour of waking, or at night, within one hour of going to sleep. The researchers measured and recorded their weight, microbiota composition (a measure of gut health), sleep quality, blood sugar levels, and other metabolic indicators before the trial, and on the first, eighth, and last day.
Results of the trial indicated that the women who ate chocolate in the morning actually had reduced body fat and blood sugar levels compared to baseline, before the women began eating the chocolate! Those who ate chocolate in the evening experienced elevations in blood sugar and body fat, though interestingly, neither group gained weight. They also found that cortisol levels (that’s the stress hormone) were reduced in the women who ate chocolate in the morning, while both groups experienced less hunger and cravings for sweets. No major differences were found in sleep quality for either group, but both had increased numbers of gut microbiota.
“Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight,” said Frank A. J. L. Scheer, Ph.D., MSc, neuroscientist and co-author of the study. So before you forego your favorite sweet treat in an attempt to be healthier, remember that it’s all about timing it within your first hour of waking up.
We always tout the benefits of dark chocolate for your health, but we’re thrilled to share that when it comes to eating creamy milk chocolate, it’s not all bad news after all. In fact, eating some in the morning might just be the key to better overall health and a healthier weight. Chocolate lovers, rejoice!