Dark chocolate has a number of beneficial effects, including increased cerebral blood flow, improved oxygen and glucose delivery, and increased cognitive function. Cocoa is rich in flavonoids, which have potent antioxidant activity and may be responsible for many of the health benefits associated with dark chocolate consumption. However, mounting evidence suggests that antioxidants can be a double-edged sword in the context of exercise adaptation. This study examined the effect of dark chocolate consumption on resting and steady-state exercise metabolism in athletic women.
In a 30-day randomized controlled trial, 18 exercise-trained female participants were randomized to supplement 20 grams per day of 70% dark chocolate or calorie-matched white chocolate. Resting energy expenditure (REE) and exercise energy expenditure (EEE) were measured at baseline, before the start of supplementation, and again after the trial.
REE increased by 9.6% in the dark chocolate group, but EEE was not significantly different between groups. These results suggest that daily consumption of a relatively low amount of dark chocolate can have significant effects on resting energy expenditure.
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