It’s here, ladies and gentlemen. We finally have a scientific reason why we have to drink wine and eat chocolate.

A recent study conducted by King’s College London has shown that chocolate and red wine actually help keep people fit and healthy. Forget counting calories. Professor Tim Spector believes that a successful diet has less to do with calorie counting, and more to do with the microbes living in a person’s gut. The human stomach is home to around four pounds of bacteria. Some of this bacteria helps our bodies digest food, while some bacteria is involved in appetite and fat storage. According to Professor Spector, eating the right foods will lead to more good bacteria in the body. In this way, a person can stay at a healthy weight.

Professor Spector shared his research at the Oxford Literary Festival. He said, “We ingest these microbes and they end up in our gut, where they diversify with the new foods we introduce over the years. The more diverse foods we eat, the more varieties of microbes in our bodies, which makes us healthier.”chocolate-183543_1280He suggested regular consumption of probiotic foods, as they are rich in microbes and will increase microbe levels in the body. Oils, nuts and seeds are also beneficial, because they act as a fertilizer for microbes. He said that our gut bacteria also enjoys chocolate and red wine as much as we do!

Junk food however, has no place in a healthy diet. Professor Spector has explained that fatty, sugary foods kill the good bacteria in the gut, while allowing potentially toxic bacteria to thrive. He conducted a study on a man named Tom who ate food from McDonald’s for ten days. He explained the results of the study: “Tom’s gut microbes had been devastated – 1,400 different species accounting for 40% of his gut diversity, had been lost.”

Microbes are not only essential to food digestion – they also control the calories we absorb and provide vital enzymes and vitamins. The more diverse our diets are, in a healthy way, then the more diverse our microbes are. And the better our health is!1280px-Red_wine_closeup_in_glass

In his book titled, “The Diet Myth: The Real Science Behind What We Eat,” Professor Spector wrote, “Ultimately, everyone should treat their gut as a beautiful English garden. The more varieties of microbes and foods we eat, the more flowers our gardens have and the healthier they look. Throw in some probiotics like yogurts and cheese, along with nuts, seeds and oils to nourish the microbes, and our gardens will be flourishing.”

He adds that avoiding processed foods is key to a healthy gut and healthy body. Instead, why not enjoy some chocolate and red wine to promote a happy exterior and a healthy interior?

So there you have it. Actual research that gives you a solid, scientific reason to eat chocolate and drink wine. This might just be my favorite study ever. Enjoy!

h/t: brightside