Cocoa-rich chocolate and body composition in postmenopausal women: a randomised clinical trial

Br J Nutr. 2021 Mar 14;125(5):548-556. doi: 10.1017/S0007114520003086. Epub 2020 Aug 4.


During menopause, women undergo a series of physiological changes that include a redistribution of fat tissue. This study was designed to investigate the effect of adding 10 g of cocoa-rich chocolate to the habitual diet of postmenopausal women daily on body composition. We conducted a 6-month, two-arm randomised, controlled trial. Postmenopausal women (57·2 (sd 3·6) years, n 132) were recruited in primary care clinics. Participants in the control group (CG) did not receive any intervention. Those of the intervention group (IG) received 10 g daily of 99 % cocoa chocolate in addition to their habitual diet for 6 months. This quantity comprises 247 kJ (59 kcal) and 65·4 mg of polyphenols. The primary outcomes were the between-group differences in body composition variables, measured by impendancemetry at the end of the study. The main effect of the intervention showed a favourable reduction in the IG with respect to the CG in body fat mass (-0·63 kg (95 % CI -1·15, -0·11), P = 0·019; Cohen's d = -0·450) and body fat percentage (-0·79 % (95 % CI -1·31, -0·26), P = 0·004; Cohen's d = -0·539). A non-significant decrease was also observed in BMI (-0·20 kg/m2 (95 % CI -0·44, 0·03), P = 0·092; Cohen's d = -0·345). Both the body fat mass and the body fat percentage showed a decrease in the IG for the three body segments analysed (trunk, arms and legs). Daily addition of 10 g of cocoa-rich chocolate to the habitual diet of postmenopausal women reduces their body fat mass and body fat percentage without modifying their weight.

Keywords: Body composition; Body fat distribution; Body weight changes; Chocolate; Postmenopause.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Composition / physiology*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Cacao* / chemistry
  • Chocolate*
  • Diet*
  • Energy Intake
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Polyphenols / administration & dosage
  • Postmenopause / physiology*
  • Spain


  • Polyphenols