EATING CHOCOLATE for breakfast could be the secret to losing weight quickly, a study has claimed.
While a balanced and healthy diet is essential to any weight loss plan, scientists believe a little late night indulgence could help you shed any unwanted pounds.
It certainly goes against common logic, which dictates that milk chocolate's high sugar and fat content makes it a sweet treat to avoid for anyone on a diet.
However, researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, US, have uncovered some potential benefits to chocolate.
The study, published in the FASEB Journal, looked at the dietary data of 19 postmeopausal women to determine whether it could help weight loss.
Each of the 19 women consumed 100g of milk chocolate either within one hour after waking up or in the hour prior to going to be.
Scientists then compared the weight gain of those women who had eaten the chocolate and those who didn’t.
The researchers found eating chocolate in the morning or evening did not lead to weight gain but could actually act as an appetite suppressant.
In the morning, eating chocolate was found to help with fat burn while reducing glucose levels in the blood. Meanwhile, at night, it was found to alter metabolism and lead to better, more regular, sleep patterns.
Frank A.J. L. Scheer, a neuroscientist with the division of sleep and circadian disorders, who worked on the study said: "Having chocolate in the morning or in the evening/night results in differential effects on hunger and appetite, substrate oxidation, fasting glucose, microbiota (composition and function), and sleep and temperature rhythms.
"Our findings highlight that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight."
The trial took place over a period of 14 days with researchers noting that, aside from chocolate, the women studied were free to eat “any other foods”.
During the study they were only allowed to eat milk chocolate but were free to have other sweets and treats.
The researchers concluded: "Results show that when eating chocolate, females were less hungry and had less desire for sweets than with no chocolate, especially when taking chocolate during the evening/night.
"Moreover, daily cortisol levels were lower when eating chocolate in the morning than at evening/night."