Indulging your sweet tooth by munching on your favourite chocolate makes for a healthier old age, a slimmer waist and a positive outlook, reports a new study.
Research suggests that elderly men who ate chocolate were fitter, more optimistic and had enjoyed psychological well-being.
Since the 1960s a team from the Finnish universities of Oulu and Helsinki have been studying a group of Helsinki businessmen born between 1919 and 1934.
The group were asked how they felt about life, including a question about what sort of sweets they preferred? Of the 1,367 who responded, just over 100 said that they didn’t eat sweets. Of the rest 860 preferred chocolate and 399 some other sort of sweets.
Their average age was 76, the team reports in European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
The chocolate-lovers tended to be leaner, with smaller waist sizes, and suffer less diabetes than those who ate other sweets. They were also slightly better educated.
But the biggest difference was in psychological wellbeing and attitudes towards life.
Chocolate eaters rated their own health significantly higher, felt happier, less lonely and were less likely to be depressed. They were also more likely still to be planning for the future. Previous research has shown that eating chocolate releases endorphins, which produce a feeling of pleasure and reduce sensitivity to pain.