Eating Chocolate in the Morning May Help Burn Fat and Lower Blood Sugar

chocolate smoothie with black polka dot paper straw

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Key Takeaways

  • A new study suggests that eating 100 grams of milk chocolate in the morning could reduce cravings and energy intake.
  • Although these results sound exciting for chocolate lovers, they should be taken with a grain of salt as the sample size was very small.
  • Nutritionists recommend eating chocolate in moderation without compromising other nutritious foods.

Eating chocolate in the morning could help burn body fat and reduce blood sugar levels in postmenopausal women, according to a new study.  

Researchers found the timing of chocolate consumption plays a role in weight control. A sample of 19 postmenopausal women participated in the trial and those who ate milk chocolate every morning did not gain any body weight. Instead, they had decreased desire for sweets and lower energy intake. Meanwhile, those who were instructed to eat chocolate in the evening experienced better sleep rhythms and lower appetite.

Chocolate is a food that has been linked to both positive and negative health outcomes. While most studies focus on how the type and quantity of chocolate consumed can affect one's health, new evidence is suggesting the timing of food consumption may be more significant than dietary choices. Recent research showed that eating dairy as a snack after dinner is linked to a reduced risk of early death, but the same benefit did not apply when the snacks were consumed during other times of the day.

“Who doesn't want to hear research saying that chocolate is good for us? But don't get too excited just yet,” Melissa Azzaro, RDN, LD, a New Hampshire registered dietitian and author of “A Balanced Approach to PCOS,” tells Verywell.

She highlights that the participants in the new study consumed 100 grams of chocolate, the equivalent of 48 grams of sugar, every day. "[That's] nearly your whole day's allotment on a 2,000 calorie a day diet if you're aiming to keep added sugars below 10%," Azzaro says. "With so many Americans struggling with prediabetes and diabetes, adding this much sugar is just pouring fuel on the fire.”

How Can Chocolate Benefit Our Health?

Milk chocolate is made primarily from cocoa powder, milk, sugar, and sometimes cocoa butter. Ingredients may include add-ins like nuts and sugar alternatives like stevia.

The high sugar content in milk chocolate can increase the risks of cavities and obesity. Milk chocolate may also offer lower levels of antioxidants as it contains less cocoa than dark chocolate.

Past data has shown that eating cocoa is linked to various health benefits, which may:

  • Support healthy blood pressure by improving nitric oxide levels
  • Reduces the risk of cardiovascular events
  • Help improve mental performance

Cocoa flavonoids can also benefit those with type 2 diabetes, as this ingredient has been shown to enhance insulin secretion, improve insulin sensitivity, and reduce inflammatory damages associated with the disease.

Researchers from the study noted that the levels of cortisol, also known as the "stress hormone," were lower when participants ate chocolate in the morning rather than at night. Lower cortisol levels have been linked to a lower stress-related appetite, possibly explaining why the participants experienced less sweets craving after eating the chocolate.

Should Everyone Eat Milk Chocolate In The Morning?

Although eating milk chocolate every day showed a positive outcome in this study, the results were based on a small sample size and only one subset of people. 

Incorporating chocolate into one's breakfast routine may sound appealing, but Azzaro warns against the risk of adding chocolate into one's diet without considering other healthy foods.

"Keep your intake to a reasonable serving size, for example, an ounce, if you don't want to increase your waistline or displace other nutrients in your diet," she says.

Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, LD, a New Jersey-based dietitian and author of “The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club” agrees with the need to be mindful of chocolate consumption.

"Consuming 30% of your daily calories from chocolate is not ideal because it displaces much needed nutrients from a wide variety of foods," she tells Verywell. "Even if no weight was gained, it's not a desirable or sustainable strategy for the long term."

She adds that “a little chocolate as part of an overall healthy diet" may still be the best way to enjoy the treat while maintaining a healthy balance of calorie level and nutrients.

What This Means For You

Recent studies show that the timing of food consumption may affect our body differently. While one study finds that eating 100 grams of chocolate every morning does not change body weight, nutritionists recommend limiting consumption to a reasonable serving size.

How To Enjoy Chocolate In a Healthy Diet

Lainey Younkin, MS, RDN, a Boston-based weight loss dietitian, recommends introducing cacao powder into one's daily diet instead of milk chocolate. It can be added to smoothies or oatmeal.

“Cacao doesn't have any sugar but delivers the potent polyphenols, epicatechin, and catechin, which lead to positive changes in the gut,” Younkin tells Verywell. “Epicatechins and catechins have also been shown to increase fat burn and suppress appetite."

Alternatively, mixing a handful of chocolate chips into Greek yogurt or eating them plain after dinner can help satisfy cravings, Younkin says.

6 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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