12 January - 20 June 2016

Chocolate consumption associated with lower BMI in adolescents

6 Nov 13

Previous studies have indicated that chocolate consumption is associated with lower risk of cardiometabolic disorders and a recent study has reported that higher frequency of chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI in adults.  Chocolate contains flavonoids, especially catechins, which have been reported to have antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-inflammatory effects amongst others.  A study published in Nutrition has investigated whether higher chocolate consumption is associated with lower BMI, as well as other markers of total and central body fat in adolescents.  This current study by Cuenca-Garcia et al. from the University of Granada, Spain, involved 1458 adolescents aged 12.5 years to 17.5 years who participated in the Healthy Lifestyle in Europe by Nutrition in Adolescence Cross-Sectional Study (HELENA- CSS).   On 2 non consecutive days, the participants self reported their 24 hour dietary recall.  Chocolate consumption, including all chocolate products that have chocolate as their main component, was recorded.  Data on type of chocolate such as white, milk and dark was not available.  Physical exercise was calculated, body weight, height measured and BMI calculated.  Cuenca-Garcia et al also measured triceps and subscapular skinfold thickness.  The scientists report that the participants who were in the highest tertile of chocolate consumption (median 42.6 g/d) had lower marker levels of fatness, were more physically active, had higher energy and saturated fat intake compared with those in the lowest tertile (median 4.7g/day).  Higher chocolate intake was associated with lower levels of total and central fatness.  The results remained unchanged even when the scientists took into account foods which had high concentration of catechins.  They also remained unchanged when they exclude the group of obese adolescents, who are likely to underreport more frequently than normal weight participants.

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