Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers say having this sweet breakfast treat in moderation could lower "ad libitum energy intake," leading to a reduction in hunger.

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Indulging in chocolate is one surefire way to satisfy a sweet tooth. And according to a new study published in The FASEB Journal, your health can actually benefit from this treat. Brigham and Women's Hospital researchers found that eating chocolate for breakfast might help you burn fat and improve your blood sugar.

To gather their findings, the team studied 19 postmenopausal women who ate 100 grams of chocolate within one hour of waking up in the morning. Next, their volunteers dined on the same amount of the sweet one hour before going to sleep. After examining weight gain and similar measures in comparison to people who didn't eat chocolate at all, the researchers discovered that those who consumed the treat didn't experience a weight increase. Plus, they noticed that the women's appetite, gut microbiome balance, and sleep quality improved specifically by consuming cocoa in the morning.

chocolate breakfast cereal
Credit: Getty Images

Doing so, they say, might help people burn fat easier and reduce blood glucose levels long-term. "Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight," Frank A. J. L. Scheer, a study author and neuroscientist, said in a media release.

"Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake. Our results show that chocolate reduced ad libitum energy intake, consistent with the observed reduction in hunger, appetite, and the desire for sweets shown in previous studies," Marta Garaulet, PhD, a co-author, added. As for the researchers' suggestions on how to incorporate chocolate into your morning diet? Pour yourself a bowl of chocolate cereal.

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