Are you the kind of person who feels guilty after eating a tiny bar of chocolate? Do you die a little every day because your determination towards your fitness goals shadows your urge to eat chocolates? Well, not anymore. Science brings good news to you - the kind of news that might make you want to marry science.
A new study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Medicine reveals that epicatechin, a plant nutrient found in cocoa, is responsible for increased stamina and endurance during fitness.
"Adding a little dark chocolate to a training diet may effortlessly improve endurance performance, according to a new study of sports nutrition."
The findings point towards improvement both for athletes looking for an edge and those hoping for (any) excuse to indulge.
Researchers from England's Kingston University tested eight male cyclists before and after swapping regular snacks for about one and a half squares of either dark or white chocolate every day for two weeks. Just to make things clear here, white chocolate is totally cocoa free.
Results, you ask? "The riders who had eaten the dark chocolate performed far better in physical tests after two weeks than their white-chocolate counterparts. They used less oxygen, rode longer before tiring, and covered a larger sprinting distance than previously."
"The upshot of these findings would seem to be that recreational athletes who would like to improve their performance might consider swapping a daily cookie or soda for a square or two of dark chocolate", said Rishikesh Kankesh Patel, a graduate student at Kingston University who led the study.
But he cautioned that "scientists do not yet know the ideal dosage of dark chocolate for athletes."
Maybe, more than 40 grams is not going to help your waistline but, like they say, everything in moderation...including moderation.