Stop everything. Research conducted by a group of fabulous educators from the University of Granada in Spain found that eating huge chunks of chocolate can promote weight loss.
No, I’m not kidding.
As reported by the Daily Mail, 1,500 teenagers from nine countries participated in this study. Those who confessed to downing “large amounts of chocolate” were found to have lower levels of body fat, as well as smaller measurements around the mid-section. It’s also important to note that lifestyle habits, such as following a restricted diet and/or exercise plan, had no effect on these results. None!
Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time researchers have come to this conclusion. Last year experts from the University of California, San Diego also discovered that regular chocolate eaters are thinner.
According to the Daily Mail, Spanish researchers theorize that chocolate “appears to make the metabolism work harder, offsetting the fat that otherwise might hang around.”
I had to find out if there was any truth to this information, so I turned to nationally recognized nutritionist Keri Glassman. Her response: “It is possible that chocolate eaters are slimmer than those that deprive themselves,” says the host of Cook Your Ass Off premiering in December on HLN. “Indulging in a controlled manner is beneficial in terms of not going overboard later on. As to chocolate making your metabolism have to work harder... well, we'll have to see more research on that, but chocolate does contain healthy fats and we have seen healthy fats play a role in this.”
And if that isn’t enough to throw a parade, she had even more good news to share. “Dark chocolate does have many health benefits from helping protect the skin from sun damage, to improving mood to helping to lower blood pressure and improving heart health.”
However, Glassman isn’t convinced about the super-sized portion. “I would not recommend eating ‘large amounts’ of chocolate as the study suggests,” she said. “If I had to suggest an amount per day, I would say 1/2 ounce of at least 70% cocoa.” And contrary to the current study, she feels her suggested daily intake does depend on overall diet and lifestyle habits.
I don’t know about you, but I feel like Charlie Bucket when he opened the wrapper of the Wonka Bar to find the last Golden Ticket. And Charlie had the right idea: He only bought one bar, was incredibly grateful for the treat and ran all the way home.
Amy Capetta is a contributing writer at iVillage.com. You can follow her on Twitter.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.