The right kind of dark chocolate can be a valuable ally when it comes to weight loss. This might sound contradictory but it’s true. Dark chocolate contains several components that indirectly contribute to weight management.
- Firstly, the antioxidants (specifically flavonoids), can boost metabolism and support fat oxidation. Fat oxidation is the process of breaking down fats into energy we can use for day-to-day life.
- Secondly, the presence of small amounts of caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate provides a mild stimulant effect enhancing our ability to burn calories.
- Thirdly, and probably most importantly, eating dark chocolate has the ability to satisfy sweet cravings which help curb the desire to binge on less healthy treats.
Including some dark chocolate in your diet makes it feel less restrictive and so you’ll be more likely to stick with your diet plan.
Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Research also provides some compelling evidence that supports the idea that dark chocolate can be beneficial in controlling appetite and reducing cravings. One study found that participants who consumed dark chocolate with a higher cocoa content experienced increased feelings of fullness and a reduced desire to eat compared to those who consumed chocolate with a lower cocoa content.
Another study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that dark chocolate intake was associated with lower levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger, potentially contributing to appetite regulation.
Additionally, research has suggested that dark chocolate may influence the expression of genes related to satiety and metabolism. Pretty incredible!
Mood Elevation and Stress Reduction
We know that the rich cocoa content in dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphins, the feel-good hormones, in the brain. It also stimulates the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter known for its mood-regulating and stress-relieving properties.
When we feel better we’re less likely to boredom eat, stress eat, or overindulge. Therefore we could presume that a little dark chocolate may increase feelings of fullness and satisfaction.
Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss?
Dark chocolate has also been associated with improved blood sugar levels. This is because the flavonoids in cocoa can enhance insulin sensitivity. When our cells are sensitive to insulin we are better at burning fat.
While the information above paints a pretty convincing picture of the way dark chocolate can positively impact appetite and cravings, we don’t want you reading this article and heading off to have a block of dark choc every evening. Quality, moderation and mindfulness is key. What do we mean by that?
Mindful eating teaches both our body and mind about hunger and satisfaction. It has been shown to reduce binge eating, help with weight loss, and make us feel good all over. It also helps us gain control over our eating habits. In essence, mindful eating involves paying full attention to the food we eat, including what we buy and how we prepare and enjoy our meals.
Avoid snacking on chocolate while standing at the kitchen bench, instead, take the time to create a ritual of nourishing intent. You'll end up consuming less as you're present in the moment of eating and more likely to stop when you feel satiated. We love the idea of breaking off a row, brewing a pot of herbal tea and sitting down somewhere comfy without distraction.
Tips for selecting high-quality dark chocolate
Choosing a good dark chocolate involves considering several factors, from the cocoa content to the ingredients and origin.
When buying dark choc, look for the cocoa percentage on the packaging. It typically ranges from 50% to 90% cocoa. A higher percentage indicates a more intense, less sweet chocolate flavour. The higher the better for weight management.
Be sure to also check the ingredient list. High-quality dark chocolate should have a simple ingredient list with cocoa, cocoa butter, possibly vanilla, and a little sugar - although you can get no-calorie, naturally sweetened varieties (using erythritol or stevia).
Avoid chocolates with additives, preservatives, or artificial flavors. You might also like to consider choosing dark chocolate with fair trade and organic certifications. These certifications ensure that the cocoa beans were produced ethically, with fair wages and environmentally sustainable practices.
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