It turns out that teens looking to stay fit should go ahead and eat that chocolate bar after all.
A new study from the Nutrition Journal looked at European adolescents and showed that a higher chocolate consumption was associated with lower total and central fatness.
The authors studied the topic because of the potential role chocolate plays in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases.
It’s also been recently reported that adults who ate more chocolate typically had a lower body mass index than their peers.
This study specifically study looked at 1,458 adolescents (ages 12.5–17.5 years old).
The teens were asked to recall what they had eaten on two different days and then the researchers measured their weight and height to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI).
Taking into account other factors, such as exercise, the researchers found the teens who had eaten more chocolate had lower BMI, body fat estimated from skinfolds and Bioelectrical Impedance (BIA), and waist circumference, regardless of potential confounders.
“[These] results were surprising, because chocolate has been traditionally considered as unhealthy food [because of an] abundance of sugar and saturated fat. After the study, [we observed] the many health benefits of some components of chocolate,” study author Magdalena Cuenca-García, Ph.D, told Healthline News.
The researchers also told Healthline that when it comes to diet, the quality of food may matter just as much, if not more, than the number of calories you consume.