THERE’S good news for chocolate lovers hoping to indulge in one or two Easter eggs this week.
A new study has found that those who eat chocolate on a regular basis actually weigh less than those who only eat it occasionally.
After surveying more than 1,000 adults aged between 20 and 85, researchers at the University of California found that there was a link between greater chocolate consumption and a lower body mass index.
This was strongest in people who did not overindulge in one sitting but ate a small amount every day.
“People assume that chocolate, because it has lots of calories and is considered a sweet, is therefore bad,” explained Dr. Beatrice Golomb who led the study.
“But it’s associated with lower blood pressure, greater insulin sensitivity and favourable lipid profiles.
“These are often factors that track with weight.”
The results back up previous studies that chocolate – particularly dark chocolate – contains a number of antioxidants found in cocoa that can be good for the heart and can lower blood pressure, cholesterol and weight.
However researchers say more study is needed before chocolate can be considered a diet food.
“The study does not support the theory that eating large amounts of chocolate will automatically lead to weight loss,” added Golomb.
“But those who regularly eat it should perhaps stop feeling guilty for doing so.”