Research Shows Chocolate Is Not The “Dietary Devil”

To eat or not to eat: is that the question?
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  • Article by Roland Bleyer
  • April 02, 2015 at 3:00 PM

This time of year brings all kinds of chocolate goodies within arms reach, but can also lead to concerns for weight watchers and the health conscious among us.

So how much do we need to think about these things? The good news is that it doesn’t seem like there is a close link between chocolate and our waistlines. Recent research from Roy Morgan has found that there is no immediately obvious connection between a person’s Body Mass Index (BMI) and whether or not they eat chocolate.

Across different BMIs, the proportion of chocolate-eaters varies only slightly: 64% of underweight adults, 64% of those whose weight is acceptable and 65% of overweight adults consume it in an average four weeks. At 68%, obese adults are the most likely to indulge in any given four weeks, but only marginally.

In 2014 almost two-thirds (65%) of Australians aged 18 and older (or 11,845,000 people) ate chocolate at least once in an average four weeks, showing that there is a lot of love for the sweet treat regardless of health concerns on either end of the BMI scale.

While BMI is just one measure of health, Roy Morgan Research Group Account Director Angela Smith says the findings show that chocolate may not be the “dietary devil” it’s often made out to be in the health world.

“Our findings show that underweight adults are just as likely as their overweight counterparts to eat chocolate in an average four-week period. Obese adults are slightly more likely to consume it, but not dramatically so,” she says.

“What’s more, Aussie adults who calorie-count, weight-watch and try to keep their snacks healthy are every bit as likely as the average Australian to eat chocolate! So much for carrot sticks and nuts.”

It’s worth noting, however, that moderation goes a long way when it comes to food and health – whether it’s nuts or chocolate on the table. As Smith notes of this research (which doesn’t cover how much chocolate each person consumed in a sitting):

“Whether a person eats chocolate once or 28 times in an average four weeks will obviously impact on their health (and probably their BMI).”

But basically the point of this research is to show that chocolate doesn’t have to be a “bad” food when it comes to health and weight. Indulging a bit over Easter should be fine for most Australian’s waistlines in the long run, making an egg or two look even sweeter right now.

Images: Apples vs. Chocolate, source: supplied; Easter Eggs, credit: Lotus Head via Wikimedia Commons.

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