Can you resist? The British Heart Foundation is asking people to give up chocolate in March. Photo: John Selkirk
The rustling wrapper might be a dead giveaway, but a survey has found nearly half of all adults lie to their partners to hide how much chocolate they eat.
Eating chocolate on the way home, secretly eating it under the bed covers or hiding the wrappers in a drawer are among the most popular ways of avoiding detection, the British Heart Foundation survey found.
The foundation study of 3000 Britons found 43 per cent had hidden wrappers to disguise how much they ate, 37 per cent had lied about their chocolate consumption, 32 per cent had secretly eaten it on the way home and 10 per cent had eaten it under the bed covers. One in eight waited until their partner left the room to take a nibble.
The study also found about 45 per cent had a secret chocolate stash for "emergencies". Common hiding spots included work desk drawers and bedside cabinets.
The research has been released as the British health group asks people to give up chocolate in March and raise money for heart disease research, as part of its DECHOX campaign.
Those who give up chocolate are asked to get friends, family and colleagues to sponsor them for the cause. They are also asked to donate the money they saved on foregoing chocolate for the month.
It's going to be a tough act for some with 28 per cent saying they would find it harder to give up chocolate than they would alcohol, caffeine or even sex.
In Britain, the average chocolate eater has nearly three chocolate bars a week.
British Heart Foundation dietician Tracy Parker said a chocolate lover could shed up to five kilograms in a year if they stopped eating the sugary treat.
"It's amazing the lengths we'll go to so that we can hide just how much we love our favourite sweet treat," Ms Parker said.
"A bit of chocolate is fine in moderation, but it should be a treat. If you've got into the habit of eating a lot of chocolate then, giving it up for a month is a great way to get into healthier habits," she said.
Australians on average are said to consume between four and six kilograms of chocolate a year.
In Australia, the heart foundations in Victoria and NSW say they have no immediate plans to create their own DECHOX, but have encouraged Australians to take up the challenge.
Heart Foundation Victoria spokesperson and qualified dietitian Beth Scholes said giving up chocolate for a month was a great way to kick the "everyday" chocolate habit.
"Chocolate is high in sugar, fat and kilojoules and not a good source of vitamins and minerals," Ms Scholes said.
"It's also easy to overeat on chocolate because it's not very filling," she said.
She said many people mistakenly believed chocolate was good for them because it is high in antioxidants.
"But research shows that regular store-bought chocolate is not a good source of antioxidants and therefore has no real benefit for health. It should be enjoyed as an occasional treat," she said.
"It can start to affect our health if it becomes an everyday habit."
Gratefully, Easter Sunday, the traditional chocolate gorge, is outside March this year and will fall on April 5 in 2015.
- With the Plymouth Herald and AP