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Starting your day off with chocolate, or even sneaking in a bit before bed may not have the dire effects on weight gain you’d suspect, especially if done correctly among a certain population. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied the impact of adding milk chocolate to the diets of postmenopausal women for a paper published in The FASEB Journal. 

The study analyzed 19 postmenopausal women who were involved in a randomized, controlled cross-over trial. The women consumed 100g of milk chocolate either within one hour of waking up or within one hour of going to bed. The researchers compared weight gain and other measures to women who had no chocolate intake. 

The researchers reported that morning or nighttime chocolate intake did not lead to weight gain and that eating chocolate in either the morning or the evening can influence hunger and appetite, microbiota composition, sleep and more factors. They also found that a high intake of chocolate during the morning hours could actually help with fat burning and reduce blood glucose levels. Eating chocolate at night could also alter metabolism the following morning. 

“Our findings highly that not only ‘what’ but also ‘when’ we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight, long term side effects of methotrexate ” Frank A.J. L. Scheer, PhD, MSc, a neuroscientist with the division of sleep and circadian disorders, department of medicine and neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said in the news release. 

The authors acknowledged that their study was limited to a small group of postmenopausal females, and said further studies involving men and young females would confirm the results. It also called for future studies to distinguish if the benefits discovered are consequences of the rewarding effect of chocolate. 

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