The mere mention of chocolate is enough to melt our hearts, right?! But for people who want lose weight, they are often advised to stay away from chocolate because they are believed to be packed with calories and would lead to rapid weight gain. But would you believe us if we told you can lose weight by eating chocolate? No, you wouldn’t! But we are here to tell you that, there’s a variety of chocolate, specifically, “dark chocolate,” that can help shed extra weight in multiple ways. Even though dark chocolate cannot be considered that magic wand that can melt away extra pounds, it can definitely boost the whole weight loss process. Various studies have established that dark chocolate with 70% cocoa can actually help shed pounds. Though not exactly low on calories, one ounce of dark chocolate with 60 percent or more of cacao has about 170 calories, it has many health benefits, including that on weight loss. So, in this post, we list down ways dark chocolate can help you lose weight so that the next time around you can nibble into that bar of chocolate without any guilt.
1. Full of Antioxidants: The high antioxidant content in dark chocolate such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins, and theobromine stimulate fat breakdown and promote the growth of friendly bacteria in the gut. Studies have found that people who ate a flavonoid-rich diet have lower central body fat. In fact, flavanols help lower blood sugar and decrease body weight.
2. Curbs Appetite for Sweet, Salty, and Junk Food: A small bite of dark chocolate can make you feel full and satiated and prevent binging on high-calorie junk food.
3. Boosts metabolism: MUFAs or monosaturated fatty acids come under the “healthy fat” category which boost metabolism, reduces the absorption of carbs, and improve insulin senstivity.
4. A Delicious Snack that Controls Frequent Cravings: A bite into a square of dark chocolate can curb appetite for sweet and junk food considerably by triggering the release of satiety hormone “leptin.”
5. You Would Eat Less in your Next Meal: A small square of dark chocolate just 20 minutes before a proper meal can trigger satiety hormones in the brain, so that you can feel full and eat less in your next meal, bringing down the calorie intake.
6. Makes Exercise Less Painful: Lack the motivation to exercise? Dump that granola bar and nibble into a piece of dark chocolate because it would make even intensive workout less painful by increasing strength and endurance due to the caffeine content and also magnesium level. Dark chocolate also boosts nitric oxide level, which improves heart health, helps with muscle recovery and growth, prevents cell damage.
7. Helps Reduce Insulin Resistance: Insulin is not just a hormone that helps to stabilize blood sugar levels, in fact, frequent insulin spikes push the sugar to get deposited into the fat cells. High insulin in blood also stalls the fat-burning process and cause frequent hunger pangs too. The polyphenols in dark chocolate helps to improve insulin sensitivity and helps in stabilizing blood sugar levels. In fact, polyphenols can delay and prevent the onset of type 2 diabetes.
8. Curbs Appetite by Reducing Hunger Hormone Ghrelin: Insulin, ghrelin, and leptin are three hormones that control appetite in our body. As mentioned previously, dark chocolate improves insulin resistance and also lowers the level of hunger hormone.
9. Lowers Chronic Inflammation: Inflammation is one of the main reasons why people tend to put on weight and have difficulty in losing weight. Dark chocolate has anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the level of inflammation.
10. Magnesium Boosts Metabolism and Reduces Inflammation: Rich in magnesium, dark chocolate also has iron, copper and manganese that boost metabolism.
11. Dark Chocolate Promotes Better sleep: The high polyphenol content in dark chocolate increases calmness. It also contains a lipid called anandamide which is also called as “the bliss chemical” which triggers motivation and pleasure.
12. Helps Reduce Stress: Increased stress is directly linked to weight gain. Increase in stress hormone cortisol triggers appetite and stalls fat burn. The compounds in dark chocolate stimulate the production of endorphins, a set of chemicals in brain that bring on feelings of pleasure. It also contains the chemical serotonin which makes you feel better.
Apart from all these benefits, it lowers LDL cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease.
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How To Choose the Perfect Dark Chocolate:
1. Should not have any added sugar or artificial sweetener.
2. Should not be fat-free.
3. Look for 70% cocoa.
But most importantly, practice portion control (10 Tips to Practice Portion Control) even with dark chocolate, consuming only one or two squares per day.
So, what’s preventing you from picking that dark chocolate bar?