Eating chocolate at a certain time of day could help the body burn fat, a new study has found.
Many of us crave a sweet treat to help us get through the day, despite the realisation that sugary snacks can be detrimental to maintaining a healthy weight.
However, a new study from researchers at Brigham and the University of Murcia in Spain, has shown that postmenopausal women who enjoy a concentrated amount of chocolate during a narrow window in the morning could be able to burn fat and decrease sugar levels.
"Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight," said co-author and neuroscientist Frank Scheer.
For the study, 19 postmenopausal women ate 100g of chocolate either one hour after they woke in the morning, or one hour before they went to bed at night. Experts then studied weight gain among other measurements to determine any differences between the two groups, and compared them to participants who didn't have any chocolate.
The data collected showed that women didn't gain any weight when they ate chocolate either late at night or early in the morning.
Eating chocolate at these specific times can also influence hunger and appetite, as well as sleep and microbiota composition.
In addition, scientists believe the study has shown that a high intake of chocolate one hour after waking in the morning could help to reduce blood glucose levels and burn body fat.
"Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies," said co-author and visiting scientist Mart Garaulet.
The study was published in The FASEB Journal.