Consumption of dark chocolate attenuates subsequent food intake compared with milk and white chocolate in postmenopausal women

Appetite. 2017 Sep 1;116:544-551. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.05.050. Epub 2017 May 29.


Background: Chocolate has a reputation for contributing to weight gain due to its high fat, sugar and calorie content. However, the effect of varying concentrations of cocoa in chocolate on energy intake and appetite is not clear.

Objective: To compare the acute effect of consuming an isocaloric dose of dark, milk and white chocolate on subsequent energy intake, appetite and mood in postmenopausal women.

Methods: Fourteen healthy postmenopausal women (57.6 ± 4.8yr) attended an introductory session followed by three experimental trials performed in a counterbalanced order at a standardised time of day, each separated by one week. Ad libitum energy intake, perceived appetite, mood and appetite-related peptides were assessed in response to consumption of 80% cocoa [dark chocolate], 35% cocoa [milk chocolate] and cocoa butter [white chocolate] (2099 kJ), prepared from a single-origin cacao bean.

Results: Ad libitum energy intake was significantly lower following dark (1355 ± 750 kJ) compared with both milk (1693 ± 969 kJ; P = 0.008) and white (1842 ± 756 kJ; P = 0.001) chocolate consumption. Blood glucose and insulin concentrations were transiently elevated in response to white and milk chocolate consumption compared with the dark chocolate (P < 0.05), while pancreatic polypeptide was elevated in response to higher cocoa content chocolate (dark and milk) compared with white chocolate (P < 0.05). No differences in active ghrelin or leptin were observed between conditions, nor was mood altered between conditions (P > 0.05).

Conclusions: Dark chocolate attenuates subsequent food intake in postmenopausal women, compared to the impact of milk and white chocolate consumption.

Keywords: Ad libitum energy intake; Appetite; Cocoa; Ghrelin; Mood; Polyphenols.

MeSH terms

  • Affect
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Appetite*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Mass Index
  • Chocolate / classification*
  • Diet
  • Dietary Carbohydrates / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage
  • Dietary Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage
  • Postmenopause*
  • Prospective Studies


  • Blood Glucose
  • Dietary Carbohydrates
  • Dietary Fats
  • Dietary Proteins
  • Insulin
  • Polyphenols