It might be considered a sinful pleasure, but the fact is that chocolates help lose weight and improve health.
These revelations were made by Victoria University researcher Lily Stojanovska in the book "The Chocolate Diet: How to eat chocolate and feel great about it".
"We set out to dispel the myths about chocolate and help chocolate-lovers realise they don`t need to feel guilty about eating it," said Stojanovska, who co-authored the book with John Ashtona.
"We are not saying you can eat a family-size block of just any chocolate," she said. "It must be good quality, dark chocolate in moderate amounts, and the bitter the better."
"Most chocolates that contain 75 per cent or 85 per cent cocoa are usually bitter than the sweeter milk chocolates that contain a lot less cocoa."
The book says that good quality dark chocolate contains the antioxidant epicatechin which increases the rate at which a body burns fat, suppresses the appetite and contains more than twice the antioxidant levels found in red wine.
Cocoa, a main ingredient in chocolate, is also rich in the alkaloid theobromine, which is known to increase muscle stimulation and energy, as well as widen blood vessels and reduce blood pressure.
It also decreases cholesterol levels and reduces the incidence of stroke and risks of cardiovascular disease. Cocoa contains natural compounds that help the body produce mood-altering brain chemicals, decreasing the risk of depression.
The book also contains a 14-day eating plan that incorporates a couple of squares of dark chocolate or a hot chocolate drink before bedtime, as well as an exercise plan, recipes, and interesting chocolate facts.