In a mouth-watering claim sure to make many chew the fat, a Japanese doctor tells that eating chocolate can help you lose weight.

“Chocolate lovers can still enjoy the tastes they like and lose weight while doing so,” Hiroshige Itakura, an Ibaraki Christian University professor specializing in “lifestyle diseases,” like hypertension and hardening of the arteries.

But, just as anything healthy to eat almost certainly tastes terrible, there’s also a catch to Itakura’s assertion. He says that chocolate’s weight loss benefits can only be obtained under strict conditions.

The chocolate being eaten has to have cacao content of at least 70 percent, no more than 50 grams a day can be consumed and it should be broken up and eaten during or before each of the three meals. Following these guidelines for a month could lead to a loss of 2 to 3 kilograms.

“The greater the cacao content, the more effective its weight loss effects are. …

Something in the 90 percent range would be really good, but it would also be incredibly bitter,” Itakura says. “The diet’s success is entirely dependant on continuity, so something around 70 percent cacao content is best. If you go to 60 percent or lower, you get more sugar and other substances mixed in and the dietary effects are weakened.”

Itakura continues, explaining how he thinks the “chocolate diet” works.

“Cacao contains a substance called cacao polyphenal that absorbs glucose and burns fat. Cacao is also really rich in natural fiber, which also absorbs fat and loosens the bowels. Then there’s a substance called theobromine, which is what gives cacao its bitterness, but also has relaxing quantities that can combat stress — a major cause of overeating,” the doctor says.

Itakura warns that a chocolate diet is not all about literally having your cake and eating it, too.

“Chocolate has calories (about 300 of them in a 50 gram block), so if you eat it, you have to give up something else like rice or noodles or potato chips, if you want to lose weight,” Itakura says. “The most effective way to eat chocolate is to let it melt in your mouth as the longer it takes to consume it, the more likely the stomach is going to feel full. Chocolate also has plenty of vitamins and minerals, so there’s no worry about losing these, either.”Itakura adds more.

“If ‘bad’ cholesterol in the bloodstream is oxidized it leads to the formation of plague that lines the artery walls, which in turn hardens the arteries, makes it more difficult for them to contract and causes high blood pressure. Chocolate combats the oxidization of cholesterol and thus works to prevent the hardening of the arteries,” .

“What’s more, cacao also contains properties that fight against harmful bacteria.”