Unless it's around Christmas and Easter, the idea of eating chocolate for breakfast is often one shamed by society. Sweet-toothed chocolate lovers the world over, though, rejoice - because it turns out it's good for you.
According to a recent study, eating milk chocolate for your first meal of the day can provide some unexpected side effects - such as helping your body burn fat.
Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, US, gave 100 grams of milk chocolate to 19 post-menopausal women within one hour of waking up and then again one hour before they went to sleep for two weeks.
You'd probably expect that a couple of weeks of that diet would soon see the pounds beginning to to pile on, but that's not actually what happened.
Instead, results found the chocolate intake made no difference in the participants' weight and actually aided weight loss.
The study suggested that eating chocolate in the morning can actually help burn fat and reduce glucose levels in the blood.
To get technical about it, the reason behind this may be down to the chemicals in cocoa, which chocolate is made out of. Called flavanols, they supposedly increase fat oxidation.
Eating the chocolate at night, meanwhile, helped the test's subjects to regulate sleeping patterns and alter metabolism.
During the trial, participants weren't restricted on what else they ate alongside their milk chocolate diet.
Frank A.J.L. Scheer, a neuroscientist with the division of sleep and circadian disorders, said: "Having chocolate in the morning or the evening/night results in differential effects on hunger and appetite, substrate oxidation, fasting glucose, microbiota (composition and function), and sleep and temperature rhythms."
He added: "Our findings highlight that not only 'what' but also 'when' we eat can impact physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of body weight.
"Our volunteers did not gain weight despite increasing caloric intake."
In further good news, the researchers added: "Results show that females were less hungry when eating chocolate and had less desire for sweets than with no chocolate, especially when taking chocolate during the evening/night.
"Moreover, daily cortisol levels were lower when eating chocolate in the morning than at evening/night."
Before everyone gets excited and starts chowing down chocolate every morning, though, it should be noted that - like anything else - eating chocolate should be done in moderation.
In other words, eat a ridiculous amount of chocolate and you'll probably still be putting on the pounds, no matter what time of day you eat it.
Still, this study at least gives you some ammunition at Christmas when you're eating chocolate for the sixth morning in a row.Featured Image Credit: Pexels