Can chocolate help you stay slim?

It sounds crazy, we know, but a new study has suggested that people who enjoy a bit of chocolate now and then are slimmer than those who rarely indulge in the brown stuff.

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The research was conducted in the US, with the diet, calorie intake and body mass index (BMI) of nearly 1,000 people being recorded and analysed.

And the researchers have come to the unlikely conclusion that those who enjoy eating chocolate a few times a week were slimmer than those who only eat it occasionally.

They found that despite boosting the calorie intake of those who ate it, regular chocolate consumption was linked to lower BMI - even when other factors such as the amount of exercise taken were included.

The researchers have therefore concluded that chocolate could contain ingredients that promote weight loss.

Lead researcher Dr Beatrice Golomb, of the University of California at San Diego, explained: "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."

The team suspect that antioxidant compounds, known as catechins, might be able to improve lean muscle mass and reduce weight in those ingesting them. And they say this is supported by research on rodents.

But that doesn't mean you can place a bulk order on Dairy Milk now and not expect to put on weight - because they stressed that there are still unanswered questions and too much chocolate is bad for you.

What do you reckon? Does a little bit of what you fancy do you good? Comment below...