It turns out that eating chocolate first thing in the morning has some impressive health benefits.
A recent randomized controlled trial showed that eating a large amount of milk chocolate (100 grams) within 1 hour of waking up in the morning actually helps to burn body fat and lower blood sugar levels.
You probably associate chocolate with weight gain, but this study will make you think again. In the study, 19 women were assigned to eat 100 grams of milk chocolate either in the morning with breakfast (within 1 hour of waking up) or in the evening (within 1 hour of going to sleep) for a period of 2 weeks.
100 grams of milk chocolate packs a whopping 31 grams of fat, 58.4 grams of carbohydrates, 57.5 grams of sugar, and 542 calories! Despite all of these extra calories — and being able to eat as much as they wanted throughout the day in addition to the chocolate — the women did not gain any body weight.
In fact, the women who ate chocolate in the morning actually reduced their waist circumference by 1.7% and spontaneously cut back on their daily calorie intake by 16%. Specifically, they had less desire for other forms of sweets.
Eating chocolate at night didn’t have any impact on waist circumference and caused only slight reductions in calorie intake.
The morning chocolate eaters also burned fat 25.6% more than the evening chocolate group (the evening chocolate eaters were predominantly burning sugar).
Additionally, eating chocolate in the morning decreased fasting glucose by 4.4% compared to eating no chocolate, whereas eating chocolate at night increased fasting glucose by 4.9% compared to morning chocolate.
Daily levels of cortisol — the body’s primary stress hormone — were also lower when eating chocolate in the morning than at night, helping to boost mood and lower stress (while reducing stress-related eating).
Eating chocolate — regardless of timing — also had a beneficial impact on the gut microbiome, increasing microbial diversity and beneficial bacteria while inhibiting potentially harmful bacteria. This could be due in part to the modest fiber content in chocolate (1.8 grams of fiber in 100 grams of milk chocolate).
100 grams of milk chocolate also delivered 854.3 mg of extra polyphenols (mainly epicatechin and catechin) per day, yielding powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Overall these results show that you can feel perfectly fine about satisfying your sweet tooth with some chocolate.
In fact, eating a large chocolate bar with breakfast might just be the ideal way to start your day.