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Healthy Diet Plans  >> Slideshow >>  Can Chocolate Help You Lose Weight

Can Chocolate Help You Lose Weight

Submitted on November 1, 2013
You probably donít need a reason to eat chocolate, but find out why eating chocolate may not be so bad after all!
Chocolate Lose Weight

Chocolate is probably one of the most popular food items around with world. People of all ages are absolute fans of this treat, right from toddlers to the elderly. As you walk down the supermarket aisle, you will probably come across different types and brands of chocolate available in a variety of flavors. Unfortunately, many of us limit our intake of chocolate or even avoid this sinful, bittersweet delight altogether, just because we are afraid to gain weight. However, recent studies may give chocolate-lovers a reason to smile…and reach out for another piece!

According the researchers at the University of California, San Diego, eating a small amount of chocolate regularly is more likely to help you slim down. A study was conducted on about 1,000 men & women in San Diego and all the participants were weighed, measured and given questionnaires to fill out. It was seen that those who ate chocolate on more days of the week had a lower BMI as compared to those who ate chocolate less frequently. These findings do not appear to be the result of better overall health habits; the participants who ate chocolate more often did not exercise more or consume fewer calories.

The Author of the Study, Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, says that their results seem to suggest “The composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight”. However, researchers caution people that their analysis doesn’t prove a cause and effect relationship between chocolate consumption and weight loss.  They further state that additional research is required, to examine the exact effects of chocolate on the body. In the meantime, she advises people to consume no more than 40grams of dark chocolate per day.

Certain nutritionists advise people to nibble on a small piece of dark chocolate, as it slows down their digestion and keeps them full for a longer period of time. In addition to fiber, dark chocolate also contains vitamins and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and copper. Given below are some of the other health benefits of chocolate -

  • Any chocolate, especially the dark kind, contains antioxidants, which remove the free radicals in your body and reduce cell damage.
  • Eating a small piece of chocolate regularly stimulates the production of endorphins, thereby giving you an increased sense of happiness and well-being
  • The serotonin content present in dark chocolate acts as an anti-depressant and can help you feel more cheerful
  • Flavonoids present in dark chocolate have a positive impact on vascular health. They have been associated with reducing blood pressure and improving the circulation of blood to the brain.
  • Controlled trials have shown that cocoa powder reduces the levels of oxidized LDL (bad cholesterol) in men, to a great extent. Men with high blood cholesterol problem are advised to eat a small piece of dark chocolate regularly, to increase their HDL or good cholesterol levels.
  • Unlike other sweets and candies, dark chocolate can reduce your risk of getting cavities, as long as you practice the right dental hygiene. This is because it contains a substance called theobromine, which hardens tooth enamel.

Of course, this does not mean that you can eat all the chocolate you want, without any regard to the calories. Do remember that chocolate contains ingredients like sugar and fat, which could have a harmful affect on your body. To enjoy the maximum benefits of chocolate, opt for the dark, organic variety with 70% or more cocoa content. If you are going to have some amount of chocolate every day, it is important for you to work out too. Surprisingly, chocolate and exercise go really well together!

While there are a few health benefits that have been associated with chocolate, it is necessary to check with a doctor before making this item a regular feature in your diet.

References:

  • Golomb, Beatrice A.; Sabrina Koperski, Halbert L. White (26). "Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index". Arch Intern Med. 172 (6): 519–521
  • Khawaja O, et al. Chocolate and coronary heart disease: A systematic review. Current Atherosclerosis Reports. 2011;13:447.
  • Kaynak HE, et al. Is bitter better? The benefits of chocolate for the cardiovascular system. Current Hypertension Reports. 2011;13:401.