A recent study from the University of Tor Vergata in Rome found that consuming dark chocolate with 70% cacao for just one week markedly improves cardiovascular health and measurably reduces excess abdominal body fat.
The study involved women aged 20 to 40 years, and gave each a 100 gram bar of dark chocolate with 70% cacao per day. Each of the participants was classified as “Normal Weight Obese,” which means each woman was of normal weight relative to height, but had a higher proportion of body fat than normal, typically 30% or more.
After controlling for variables, the researchers found quantifiable, consistent results across the participants. Not only did cardiovascular health improve as measured by various markers in the blood, such as interleukin-1 receptor antagonists, but HDL (good) cholesterol improved and bad cholesterol (LDL) decreased. Most visibly, excess abdominal fat was measurably reduced, resulting in slimmer waistlines.
It’s important to note, however, the quality of dark chocolate used. The cacao itself is the active ingredient, and is typically largely stripped out of the majority of commercial chocolate bars and chocolate products. The closer you can get to the real, unprocessed, and preferably organic cacao bean, the better.