When it comes to weight loss, we are sure you’ve heard it all. Eat bananas only if you want to lose weight, eat eggs only if you want to lose weight and many other fringe diets that are just ridiculous, to say the least. There is a reason for this, weight loss on its own is a million-dollar industry. There has been talk about a new food that would help in weight loss, and it is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate weight loss? This is the first reaction most of you may have after reading such a statement, as you might think your eyes were playing tricks on you since there is simply no way dark chocolate and weight loss can belong in the same sentence. Well now, let’s see if it can actually be true that dark chocolate does indeed help with weight loss.
Dark Chocolate: Does It Play A Role In Improving Your Health?
Chocolate is usually among the first things you are encouraged to eat less of when you are on a weight loss journey. After all, common dark chocolate contains over 70 % cocoa which may aid in weight loss. Chocolate bars that are less than 70% cocoa usually have more added sugar and unhealthy fats which are not what you want when you are on a weight loss journey.
According to numerous studies, dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants and is packed with numerous nutrients, making it a superfood. Dark chocolate a superfood? A lot of new information right? It contains flavonoids which are plant chemicals that act as antioxidants and help in cancer prevention, may help improve your cardiovascular health, as well as aid in weight loss. Dark chocolate is mostly made up of cocoa. The cocoa plant contains theobromine, a compound that can reduce inflammation and the risk of high blood pressure.
Before you get too excited and start eating bar after bar of dark chocolate, remember that it is still chocolate which means that it is packed with numerous calories, hence it is advisable to eat not more than 1 ounce of dark chocolate in a day.
Dark Chocolate: Nutrition Value
Before you add dark chocolate to your diet, it is important to know it’s nutritional content. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one bar of dark chocolate that is 101g and contains 70% – 85% of cocoa provides macros and micros in the following quantities (7).
- Calories: 604
- Proteins: 7.87 grams
- Fats: 43.06 grams
- Carbohydrates: 46.36 grams
- Dietary fiber: 11.00 grams
- Sugar: 24.23 grams
- Iron: 12.02 milligrams
- Magnesium: 230.00 milligrams
- Zinc: 3.34 milligrams
Dark Chocolate And Weight Loss
Dark chocolate is said to promote weight loss in many different ways. Here are some of the ways it can help cut those extra pounds.
Dark Chocolate Helps Control Appetite
When eaten, dark chocolate triggers the production of hormones that make your brain think you are full (3). Generally, three hormones are known to control your appetite. These three hormones are insulin, ghrelin and leptin. They all play different roles. When ghrelin is produced in your body, it increases your appetite. When produced in your body, leptin reduces your appetite while insulin helps transfer glucose from the bloodstream to the cells (5). People who are insulin resistant lose the ability to feel full.
A study was done in the Netherlands to show the effects of dark chocolate on these hormones. 12 women took part in two 60 minute studies. In the first 60 minute study, all the 12 women were given a 100-gram mixture of chocolate with 85% cacao content and 12.5 grams of sugar (5).
In the second study, half of the women (6) only smelled the chocolate while the other half were not allowed any at all.
The results showed that when the women ate the chocolate, they had a noticeable decrease in hormone ghrelin levels (5). The same was experienced for the women who smelled the chocolate as compared to those who did not smell it. The ones who did not smell it had the same level of hormone ghrelin. Having decreased amounts of ghrelin translates to decreased appetite levels, resulting in you consuming fewer calories and hence weight loss (5).
Dark Chocolate Helps Encourage Exercise
How? We know that is the question on your mind. Most people don’t exercise due to the pain and strain that comes after exercising, and that is what dark chocolate helps with. Dark chocolate consists of anti-inflammatory constituents and a good amount of magnesium which, when combined, leads to less pain (5). If you feel pain after an exercise, you should take about an ounce of dark chocolate per night as it will help with that and it will get you ready for exercising the next day (2).
Dark Chocolate Helps To Curb Cravings
One way to surely gain weight is by being at the mercy of your cravings. Dark chocolate helps eliminate cravings of sweet, salty and fatty foods. That’s pretty much almost everything. In his book, neuroscientist Will Clower says eating chocolate 20 minutes before a meal and 5 minutes after a meal ( lunch and dinner) will cut your appetite by up to 50% (4). Experts also claim that dieters who eat chocolate are able to maintain weight loss. The reason for this is that these dieters don’t feel as deprived and as they would if they were missing something and hence it is easy for them to stick to their diets.
Dark Chocolate Helps With Your Mood
Most of you can attest to the fact that you feel good when you eat chocolate. Regular consumers of chocolate are said to be less stressed and sleep better (2). When you are stressed, it is hard for you to lose weight as stress comes with unhealthy eating habits, especially for people who eat to deal with stress. The same can be said for sleep. Sleeping is essential when it comes to weight management. A person should sleep for at least 7 hours. Studies show that people who sleep for more than 7 hours in a day gain less visceral fat as compared to people who sleep for less than 7 hours (6). Lack of sleep also encourages bad eating habits like late snacking, which increases your daily calorie intake and hence hinders your weight loss journey.
Those are some of the ways in which dark chocolate can help in weight loss.
Other Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
Apart from helping with weight loss, dark chocolate comes with an array of many other benefits. Here are some of them:
Dark Chocolate Is Good For Your Skin
Dark chocolate is full of vitamins and minerals like copper, iron and magnesium, which are good for your skin. It contains manganese which helps to keep your skin looking healthy and young. It does this by helping with the production of collagen (3). Calcium, on the other hand, helps repair and renew your skin. In addition to all these already impressive benefits of dark chocolate for your skin, dark chocolate has high levels of antioxidants which help protect the skin from the damage produced by harmful ultraviolet rays emitted by the sun (1).
Dark Chocolate May Play A Role In Cancer Prevention
Although there is no conclusive evidence to this, dark chocolate has properties that could help people prevent some cancers. Antioxidants that are available in dark chocolate help protect your cells against free radicals (3). Free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are usually responsible for promoting aging and also cause diseases. When you have too many of these unstable oxygen molecules, they begin to attack your cells, and after some time, this leads to low-grade inflammation and some diseases like Alzheimer’s, various cardiovascular diseases and cancer (3).
Those are some of the benefits associated with dark chocolate.
The Bottom Line
Dark chocolate weight loss is a new thing, so not so much research has been done yet. Although that may be the case, the various points given throughout this article on how the various properties of dark chocolate may help in showing you that the talk about weight loss have been proven true. It is important to note that dark chocolate is a high-calorie food, and so you may not want to consume more than one ounce or 30 grams at a time, lest you are likely to gain weight instead of losing it. If you are allergic to chocolate, it is not advisable for you to take it even though it offers many promising results when it comes to weight loss and other benefits.
Remember that a proper diet is not everything you need. Supplement your diet with some exercise to double your results.