The Truth About Weight Loss and Dark Chocolate
The popular media is hailing dark chocolate as the latest and greatest diet food. Wait…what? Chocolate? The delicious, dark dessert that Iâ€™ve spent a lifetime feeling guilty about?
Actually, scientific research has found that dark chocolate (note that milk chocolate is still considered an enemy of slim thighs everywhere) contains a cocktail of chemicals that have a net positive effect on the body.
Chocolate is made from the cacao bean, a chemically potent little sucker that can affect mood, health and appetite. Cacao beans are a huge source of antioxidants, which combat the ravaging free radicals that the body naturally accumulates. By neutralizing free radicals, antioxidants help prevent inflammation, heart disease and premature aging.
Research has found that cacao beans contain also powerful neurotransmitters , which help to stabilize mood and boost positive feelings. As for the weight loss claims, dark chocolate rates low on the glycemic index, which means it breaks down slowly in the digestive tract. Low glycemic foods promote feelings of fullness and suppress appetite.
Not a bad turn around for dark chocolate. Unfortunately, some have taken this happy news a bit too far. Popular chocolate diet books are now hitting shelves, and the Internet is buzzing with advice to gobble up dark chocolate by the handfuls.
Another one of my momâ€™s favorite sayings was, â€œtoo much a good thing is usually bad.â€ In the case of dark chocolate, sheâ€™s right.
Dark Chocolates nutritional value is legit, but it still contains a high amount of calories and fat. Dieters should only incorporate small amounts of dark chocolate into their daily eating plan. Fifty grams or less of chocolate with at least 60% cacao is more than enough each day.
For those who seriously want to lose weight, chocolate is only a small (albeit a very tasty) piece of the puzzle. Youâ€™re going to slim down the old fashion way by adopting a nutritious diet and committing to a regular exercise plan. However, adding a little dark chocolate to the mix will definitely add a little sweetness to your efforts.
Best of luck!
Dark chocolate and cholesterol?
A recent meta-analysis of studies on dark chocolate and cholesterol levels which included a total of 320 participants found that consumption of dark chocolate resulted in statistically significant reduction in total and LDL cholesterol levels (-6.2 mg/dl and -5.9 mg/dl respectively.)
Dark chocolate and cardiovascular disease?
Researchers from Harvard Medical School conducted a cross-sectional study which included 4970 participants. Â They found that consumption of flavonoid rich dark chocolate is inversely associated with coronary heart disease risk. Â 
- Tokede OA, Gaziano JM, DjoussÃ© L. Effects of cocoa products/dark chocolate on serum lipids: a meta-analysis. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2011 May 11.
- DjoussÃ© L, Hopkins PN, North KE, Pankow JS, Arnett DK, Ellison RC. Chocolate consumption is inversely associated with prevalent coronary heart disease: the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study. Clin Nutr. 2011 Apr;30(2):182-7. Epub 2010 Sep 19.
6 thoughts on “The Truth About Weight Loss and Dark Chocolate”
The most important thing, Jennifer, is how the cacao beans are processed. Commercial processing destroys most of the fragile antioxidants. And low-glycemic, diabetic friendly sweeteners are better for you than sugar-free sweeteners. Our bodies need the good sugars and good fats for fuel. How to know for sure? Find a company that certifies the amount of antioxidants on their package – (on the finished product – not just the individual ingredients).
I am glad to see a post like this question, I can tell you from experience that if the chocolate is made with organic sugarless ingredients then it Is good for you!
You are right about the benefits coming from cocoa. The chocolate I referenced in cocoa101.com is a proprietary blend (XoVita) of unprocessed cocoa powder, Acai and blueberries. The amount of flavanols as well as the ORACfn score (antioxidant level) are certified by an independent testing lab – Brunswick Labs. So this is the type chocolate that is the type that is used in the clinical trials you are reading about.
Yes there are health benefits of dark chocolate but that doesn’t give a free pass to over indulge in it.
Dark chocolate in moderation has many other health benefits as well, including improved blood circulation, lowered blood pressure, lowered cholesterol, protection from cancer, improved brain function, protection against tooth decay, improved post-workout muscle recovery, and skin damage protection. These benefits are attributable to the high concentration of antioxidants in dark chocolate.
Commercial dark chocolate that you buy in the stores is indeed full of sugar and bad fats. There is a cutting edge, category creator dark chocolate that has all of the good and none of the bad in dark chocolate. Clinical papers are soon to be published on this 50 person one year weight loss/wellness system in which all 50 participants lost an average 44.6 pounds. Centered around the first high antioxidant protein meal replacement (one shake equals 100 cups of spinach!, this is a new approach to weight loss. The culprit to weight gain, and the inability to keep lost weight off, is free radicals. The high antioxidant diet counteract the free radicals and stop inflammation. You can find more information on a high antioxidant diet under the weight lose tab on cocoa101.com.