Chocolate Consumption Tied to Lower Body Mass Index

Finding persists even after adjusting for calories, saturated fats, and depression

TUESDAY, March 27 (HealthDay News) -- More frequent chocolate intake is linked to a lower body mass index (BMI), according to a research letter published in the March 26 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Beatrice A. Golomb, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues studied data from 972 men and women (mean age, 57 years) without known cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or extremes of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels (115 to 190 mg/dL inclusive), who completed the Fred Hutchinson Food Frequency Questionnaire and had their BMI determined (mean, 28 kg/m²). Activity was assessed, and mood was evaluated using the Center for Epidemiological Studies Depression scale (CES-D).

The researchers found that chocolate consumption frequency correlated significantly with greater calorie and saturated fat intake and higher CES-D scores, each of which was positively associated with BMI. There was no significant association between the frequency of chocolate consumption and greater activity (P = 0.41). The frequency of chocolate consumption was significantly linked with lower BMI in an unadjusted analysis (P = 0.01). This association persisted after adjustment for age and gender as well as in different models, including activity, calories, saturated fats, and CES-D scores.

"Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often," the authors write. "The findings were retained or strengthened in a range of adjustment models and [were] not explained by calorie intake (frequent chocolate intake was linked to more overall calories), activity, or other assessed potential confounders."

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