By Sarah GogginWe’re all familiar with the fact that chocolate is a great source of energy, but how much of it does your body actually use?
It turns out that not all of it is actually used up by your body, according to researchers at University College London.
According to a paper published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), the answer is not that much.
“This is because chocolate is relatively rich in energy-dense compounds, such as caffeine and polyphenols,” Dr. Maira Macdonald, a professor of nutrition and food science at University, said in a statement.
“But it is also possible that some of these compounds may not be as biologically active as they seem.”
In other words, it’s possible that chocolate isn’t really as energy-packed as it might seem.
In fact, the authors found that the amounts of energy-rich compounds in chocolate were “quite small.”
And as you can imagine, it doesn’t take much to make a big difference when you’re dealing with more than 100 grams of chocolate per person.
So how much chocolate does your diet really need?
Dr. Macdonald explained that the amount of chocolate you’re actually eating can vary a lot.
“You could say that the best diet for most people is the diet that’s going to provide the most calories, but there are other diets that can provide even more calories,” she said.
“So the best way to assess your actual diet is to compare it to the recommended diet for your weight.”
In fact the more calories you’re eating, the more likely you are to get some of the health benefits from chocolate.
For example, a study published in Nutrition Research and Practice found that people who consumed more than 10 grams of cocoa per day had lower waistlines and better cholesterol levels than those who ate less.
The researchers also found that chocolate intake was not correlated with cardiovascular disease risk factors like diabetes.
Macdonald added that it’s important to remember that not every food has the same health benefits, and some of those health benefits can be attributed to the amount and quality of the food itself.
“So it’s really important to try different types of chocolate, like whole milk, to see which one is the best choice,” she explained.
“It can be really helpful to know the difference between different types, because it’s so easy to eat the wrong one.”
The bottom line, according the researchers, is that the science is clear on chocolate.
“We know that chocolate has the potential to be a very important food source for weight loss and prevention,” Dr Macdonald said.
“And that is why the science behind chocolate is really interesting, because the chocolate industry is constantly expanding their range of products to make chocolate even more nutritious, delicious and affordable.”