The Science-Backed Reason To Eat Chocolate For Breakfast Postmenopause
Today in good news: A bit of chocolate at breakfast might actually help out with keeping blood sugar levels low—specifically for postmenopausal women.
In a small study, researchers from Brigham & Women's Hospital in Boston (in collaboration with investigators at the University of Murcia in Spain) found that eating a small amount of chocolate in the morning may help to reduce blood sugar levels.
How a dose of chocolate in the morning might affect blood sugar (and more).
The study divided a group of 19 postmenopausal women into three tests that lasted two weeks. One group ate 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of chocolate in the morning, one group ate 100 grams of chocolate in the evening, and one group had no chocolate—but their eating habits were otherwise not controlled.
After the two weeks, researchers found that the women who had a piece of chocolate in the morning had 4.4% lower fasting glucose levels. Additionally, they found that having morning or evening chocolate resulted in decreased hunger and fewer sweet cravings.
"Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight," said neuroscientist Frank AJL Scheer, Ph.D., MSc.
Fun, healthy ways to enjoy chocolate as part of your morning routine.
Because this was a small study, it's not necessarily strong evidence you should start your day with 100 grams of chocolate—but there's also no real reason not to start your day with a bit of this delicious food, especially if it's dark chocolate.
On the mindbodygreen podcast, nutritional psychiatrist Drew Ramsey, M.D., posed the question: "Does dark chocolate need to be your treat, or can it be something that you have for breakfast?" According to this study, it might be OK—and Ramsey says so, too, especially if it's organic raw cacao.
"Those flavanols [in cacao] increase blood flow to the brain. They get involved with the microbiome," he explained on the podcast. "They are involved with short-term memory and in the areas where neurogenesis (new brain cell growth) happens in the brain."
Some of our favorite chocolaty breakfast ideas include the buckwheat chocolate pancake recipe Ramsey shared with us, these simple double chocolate muffins, this chocolate avocado smoothie with a hidden serving of veggies, and this holistic health coach's favorite breakfast: dark chocolate on toast.
Eliza Sullivan is an SEO Editor at mindbodygreen, where she writes about food, recipes, and nutrition—among other things. She received a B.S. in journalism and B.A. in english literature with honors from Boston University, and she has previously written for Boston Magazine, TheTaste.ie, and SUITCASE magazine.