Who doesn’t love chocolate, right? When it comes to people looking to lose weight however, this is one f the first things they cut out of their diet. But what if we told you can enjoy some chocolate while sticking to your fitness journey?
Not all chocolate is the bane of your weight loss goals. Today, we’ll be talking about how you can enjoy chocolate while still sticking to your fitness goals. Let’s get started!
Let’s get one thing out of the way first: the type of chocolate you enjoy matters. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are loaded with extra sugar. It’s what makes them super palatable.
However, you can still enjoy the goodness of chocolate by switching to dark chocolate. This kind of chocolate is rich in minerals, such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. The cocoa in dark chocolate also contains antioxidants called flavonoids, which may provide several health benefits.
Note, however, that not all dark chocolate brands are created equal. Some brands actually load their products with sugar. So when choosing a dark chocolate bar to enjoy, be sure to check the label.
Also, while dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, it can also be high in calories and fat. So moderation is key. You don’t have to fully restrict yourself. For best results, stick to around 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time and pick a product that's low in added sugar and contains at least 70% cocoa.
Some research suggests that dark chocolate could help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for shuttling sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells where it can be used for energy.
This can help decrease levels of insulin in the blood, which may be associated with increased weight loss and reduced fat storage.
Although more research is needed, some small studies have also found that dark chocolate may help improve blood sugar control.
This may help prevent spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels, which can lead to symptoms like increased hunger.
Studies show that dark chocolate may reduce cravings and promote feelings of fullness, which may help support weight loss.
In one study in 12 women, smelling and eating dark chocolate decreased appetite and reduced levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger.
Another small study in 16 people compared the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate and found that participants felt less hungry and more full and satisfied after eating dark chocolate.
Furthermore, they also consumed 17% fewer calories at a subsequent meal, compared with participants who ate milk chocolate.
Similarly, a study in 14 postmenopausal women showed that consuming dark chocolate led to greater reductions in food intake, compared with eating white and milk chocolate.
Still, more research is needed to evaluate how dark chocolate may affect appetite and food intake, compared with other foods.
Several studies have found that dark chocolate may positively affect mental health and mood, which can ensure that you feel your very best to help promote weight loss.
According to one study in 13,626 people, those who consumed higher amounts of dark chocolate had 57% lower odds of experiencing depressive symptoms than those who did not regularly consume dark chocolate.
In another small study, eating 1.5 ounces (40 grams) of dark chocolate daily reduced stress levels in women over 2 weeks.
What’s more, a study in 72 adults showed that consuming a dark chocolate drink for 30 days led to increased feelings of self-rated calmness and contentedness, compared with a placebo.
Additional research is needed to determine whether the potential mood-boosting benefits of dark chocolate may be beneficial for weight loss.