Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss?
Dark chocolate has long since been lauded as a weight loss treat. Many people have found dark chocolate to help them shed the pounds faster than they've thought possible. Some also say that eating dark chocolate has aided them in developing a better relationship with food.
But on the other side of the fence, experts are saying that dark chocolate does not do anything to help you lose weight; in fact, it can even do the opposite.
So, which side should you believe? Can eating dark chocolate really help you lose weight? Or is it just another diet trend that doesn't have any basis?
Today, we will settle the debate once and for all. In this article, we will talk about eating dark chocolate in relation to weight loss, which types of dark chocolate to choose, and which ones to avoid if you're trying to lose weight.
First, let's figure out our most pressing dilemma:
So, Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss?
Chocolate is an indulgent treat. It's loaded with fat, dairy, and sugar, which is basically everything you need to gain weight. With that in mind, it's no wonder why many people avoid chocolate like the plague when they're trying to lose weight.
The same cannot always be said, however, for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has a higher cocoa content and lower fat and sugar content in comparison with milk and white chocolate. Dark chocolate also contains high levels of polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins; compounds that are linked to certain health benefits like reduced risk for heart disease, lower blood sugar, and better digestion.
On top of it all, dark chocolate is known to decrease hunger and appetite--one of the many health benefits of chocolate that make it a great addition to the diet. So, when you eat dark chocolate, you are satisfying your sweet tooth but also reducing your ghrelin levels (the hunger hormone) at the same time. We will delve deeper into the science in the next section.
However, dark chocolate still contains significant levels of calories and fat. That said, eating dark chocolate as a way to lose weight is only effective when done in moderation.
Apart from eating dark chocolate in moderation, choosing the right type of dark chocolate also matters - some are filled with sugar to make it taste better, while others contain high fat content for that extra creamy texture. Remember that the health benefits start to dwindle the more chocolate is altered from its natural state, as is the case for many big-name brands.
How Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss?
Dark chocolate has the potential to aid in weight loss, but how exactly? To further understand the role of dark chocolate in weight loss, let's discuss its potential health benefits in detail:
Improved Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is the hormone that transports sugar from your bloodstream and into your cells to be used for energy. Some studies show that dark chocolate can help improve your body's insulin sensitivity, which reduces the amount of insulin in the blood. This, in turn, allows the body to burn more sugar for energy instead of storing it as fat.
When you are insulin resistant, you will have more trouble losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight. Insulin resistance can also cause your body to prioritize burning carbohydrates for energy, which can lead to increased sugar cravings and even more weight gain.
Lower Hunger and Appetite Levels
As we've mentioned earlier, eating dark chocolate can reduce your appetite and hunger levels. In a small study done on the effects on hunger and appetite of dark chocolate vs. milk chocolate, it was found that participants who consumed dark chocolate felt more satisfied and less hungry compared to those who ate milk chocolate.
Moreover, the dark chocolate group ate fewer calories than the participants who ate milk chocolate. This suggests that when you eat dark chocolate after a meal, you may have reduced appetite during the next one, which can help you consume fewer calories and lose weight.
Any type of chocolate can be a good mood booster, but dark chocolate is known to have more significant benefits for mental health compared to other types of chocolate. In one study done on more than 13,000 people, it was found that those who consumed more dark chocolate had 57% lower chances of experiencing symptoms of depression than participants who did not eat dark chocolate regularly.
A smaller study found that women who ate 1.5 ounces of dark chocolate per day experienced reduced stress levels in the course of 2 weeks.
But what does this have anything to do with weight loss, you may ask?
Simply put, being in a good state of mind gives you better odds of losing weight effectively and keeping it off in the long term. When you are not burdened by negative feelings like anxiety and stress, you will be much better able to eat healthily, stick with your workout routine, and avoid stress eating.
Which Dark Chocolate Is Good For Weight Loss?
As we've touched on before, not all types of dark chocolate are good for weight loss. Many big-name brands contain lots of sugar to make the chocolate taste better, but this defeats the purpose of it being a healthier alternative to milk and white chocolate. That said, it is imperative that you opt for high-quality varieties that contain minimal added sugar and at least 70% cocoa.
Diabetic chocolate bars check all of these boxes. They contain the least amount of added sugar and are made with natural chocolate, formulated to prevent blood sugar spikes for diabetics and non-diabetics alike. So, when you eat this type of dark chocolate, you are getting all those feel-good hormones in your brain--but without putting notorious amounts of sugar in your bloodstream.
If you want to know more about this special type of chocolate, check out our article: is diabetic chocolate good for you?
Dairy free chocolate is another great alternative to regular chocolate if you're trying to shed the pounds and if you're lactose-intolerant. These are chocolates made with zero dairy content and may contain plant milk instead, which makes them have lower fat content than regular chocolate.
So, is dairy free chocolate healthier? Yes, if they are consumed in moderation and contain high-quality ingredients. To ensure that your chocolate is truly dairy-free, look for dark chocolate that contains alternatives to cow's milk, such as oat milk, cashew milk, and almond milk. Alternatively, choose companies that specialize in making dairy free chocolate products.
At the end of the day, however, how much dark chocolate you eat is more important than the type of chocolate you eat. Even if you're eating high-quality dark chocolate, you may not be able to lose weight if you don't moderate your intake. So, if you want dark chocolate to fit well into your weight loss diet, consume no more than 1 ounce (28 grams) per day.
Pro tip: eat dark chocolate at least 20 minutes before a meal. This can help curb your appetite and eat fewer calories.
Is Dark Chocolate Good For Weight Loss? Wrapping Up
Yes, dark chocolate can be good for weight loss--but only if you eat the right type of dark chocolate and practice moderation. Keep in mind that dark chocolate still contains significant amounts of calories and sugar, so it is important that you control your consumption if you want to reap the full benefits of dark chocolate.
More than that, be sure to choose high-quality dark chocolate that is made from real chocolate and has minimal added sugars. Luckily for you, you're already in the right place! Here at MidDay Squares, we create a wide variety of all-natural chocolates that are sure to satisfy your cravings--but without the guilt!