The health benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, have long been known about — from being a source of antioxidants to improving brain function. Plus, there's the fact that it tastes delicious and makes us feel pretty good while we're eating it.
And now, scientists think they might have discovered a surprising new benefit of our favourite sweet treat, particularly for post-menopausal women.
Scientists from the University of Murcia in Spain have now found eating milk chocolate first thing in the morning may help post-menopausal women stay slim.
During the research, 19 women with an average age of 52, ate 100g of milk chocolate within an hour of waking or before bed for two weeks.
Although neither group gained weight, only morning chocolate was linked to increased fat burning, likely due to a 'decreased hunger and desire for sweets' throughout the day.
It's not just what you eat, but when you eat, with 'food timing a relevant factor in weight control', the scientists wrote in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology journal.
The timing of our meals is known to affect our body clock. Eating a sugary high-calorie snack, like chocolate, in the evening or morning is said to have varying effects on the 'clocks of different organs and tissues, and consequently on body weight and metabolism'.
'Milk chocolate has a name for contributing to weight gain due to its high fat, sugar and caloric content,' wrote the scientists.
Of course, it's important to note that the sample size used for this study is small, and so we wouldn't recommend immediately rushing out to stock up on Dairy Milk, but it's certainly an exciting discovery to bear in mind if you have a sweet tooth.
And, if we've peaked the attention of your sweet tooth, here are some of our favourite chocolate dessert recipes to whip up this weekend.
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