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Research shows chocolate's catechin content helps patients lose weight, similar to green tea

Monday, December 02, 2013 by: L.J. Devon, Staff Writer
Tags: chocolate, catechins, weight loss

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(NaturalNews) The myth that high-calorie food like chocolate causes weight gain has been clinically debunked by researchers at the University of Granada. A comprehensive study, funded by the European Union, reveals evidence that greater chocolate consumption actually lowers body mass index and central body fat in the abdominal area, regardless of physical activity or diet. This revelation will help professionals understand that there are more important aspects of food beyond just total calorie and fat content. Specific flavanoids like catechins play an important role in how food interacts with the human body.

High chocolate consumption helps adolescents lose weight

In the comprehensive chocolate study, scientists examined 1,458 European adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17. The study, coordinated by the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence research group in the EU, spanned nine European countries, examining the correlation between chocolate consumption and body mass index. Adolescents' lifestyles and chocolate consumption were studied using a computer-based self registration tool.

Before and after the study, the adolescents' body mass indices was recorded. By using bioelectrical impedance and skin fold analysis, the scientists were able to measure body fat percentage on many places of the adolescents' bodies. The scientists measured height, weight and waist circumferences, comparing, measuring and averaging the data. The results were very similar even after factors such as age, sexual maturation, energy intake and exercise were taken into consideration.

The findings were interesting. Higher chocolate consumption in the adolescents was associated with lower levels of both total and central abdominal weight.

The novel study, published in the journal Nutrition, suggests that the biological impact of foods should not only be evaluated in terms of calories. The authors of the study conclude, "The most recent epidemiologic research focuses on studying the relation between specific foods - both for their calorie content and for their components - and the risk factors for developing chronic illnesses, including overweight and obesity".

"In moderate quantities, chocolate can be good for you, as our study has shown." Our findings "are also important from a clinical perspective since they contribute to our understanding of the factors underlying the control and maintenance of optimal weight".

The study wasn't the first of its kind. In the US, at the University of California, researchers found that higher chocolate consumption brought down the overall body mass index of every participant.

Chocolate contains beneficial flavonoid catechins

Chocolate contains more than just calories and fat. It's also rich in beneficial flavanoids, especially catechins, which have a strong influence on human cortisol production and insulin sensitivity. Both of these body processes are connected to weight modulation.

Same catechins in green tea extract help people lose weight

In Japan, the weight loss effect of catechins was studied for three months in Japanese men. For this study, catechin was extracted from green tea and utilized in a 12-week double-blind study. During the study, male participants were separated into two groups. One group ingested one bottle of oolong tea with high catechin content - 690 mg. The control group drank tea containing trace amounts of catechins - 22 mg.

The goal of the study was to investigate the correlation of body mass index and the amount of malondialdehyde and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances in the blood, to see the effects that catechins have on body fat reduction.

The results were telling. Body weight, body mass index, waist circumference, body fat mass and subcutaneous fat were significantly reduced in the group that consumed catechin-rich tea for three months. The weight reduction was significantly greater than the control group. The change was documented in blood samples. Catechins positively changed the concentration of malondialdehyde-modified low-density lipoprotein in the samples.

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