Chocolate has often been thought of as the enemy for dieters, especially those with a sweet tooth. But, now a study says that people who eat chocolate a few times a week are slimmer than those who are more sparing.
The study, involving 1000 people, carried out at the University of California, San Diego, found that even though chocolate is high in calories (we could have told you that), it contains ingredients that could help burn fat (yes!).
Regular chocolate consumption was found to lower BMI in the people who took part in the study published in Archives of Internal Medicine. But hang on, that doesn't mean you can go gorging on Snickers bars just yet, the study found that it is how often you eat the chocolate that makes the difference, not the quantity. Sadly it is early days and there is only a link between chocolate and thinness, no concrete proof of how and why this occurs.
Lead author Dr Beatrice Golomb, from the University of California at San Diego, said: 'Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight.'
This means that rather than just focusing on lowering our calorie consumption to lose weight, we need to think about where the calories we eat come from; and by the sounds of it balance and what we always knew - having a little of what you fancy - is key.
If you're still not sure about chocolate other studies claim it could be good for your heart, as well as having other favourable effects on blood pressure, insulin sensitivity and cholesterol level. While dark chocolate contains antioxidants which can help mop up harmful free radicals in the body.
The study found that antioxidant compounds found in chocolate, called catechins, can help improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight. But before you reach for a Mars remember - chocolate bars contain high levels of fat and sugar so it's best to stick to a little dark chocolate now and again to reap these possible benefits.