Is there a real reason that chocolate-lovers everywhere should be rejoicing about chocolate helping with weight loss, or is it just a myth?
Research has shown that cocoa is rich in flavanols, and these have been shown to improve blood flow and help lower blood pressure. However, recent research has found that a flavanol in cocoa called oligomeric PCs have been linked to weight loss.
It’s also possible that there’s a link between eating dark chocolate and feelings of fullness and satisfaction. Researchers observed that dark chocolate eaters had a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than those who didn’t eat chocolate. As a bonus, the study found that chocolate eaters were less likely to suffer from a heart attack or stroke.
Is there any real, hard evidence to show that chocolate may help you lose weight?
The claims above certainly sound good, but before you start eating chocolate every day, there are some things to bear in mind:
Oligomeric PCs have been linked to weight loss, but that’s based on a study conducted on mice – the findings haven’t been replicated in humans
Dark chocolate’s ability to increase feelings of fullness applies only when compared to eating milk chocolate
It’s not actually proven that eating chocolate results in lower BMI’s. It’s just a correlation, and most study subjects only received a small piece of chocolate, not a whole bar
There is, sadly, no direct evidence that eating chocolate will help you lose weight, but that doesn’t mean you should cut it out altogether if you’re on a diet.
A little of what you fancy does you good, but the key word here is “little”. Allowing yourself a small indulgence of your favorite food can actually help you stick to your diet because you don’t feel deprived.
How to incorporate chocolate into your diet
Eat cocoa-rich dark or semi-sweet chocolate, but do keep an eye on portion sizes and your total calorie intake.
Have a small amount after dinner to round your meal off with some sweetness and to help you feel satisfied.
Make hot chocolate by dissolving 1 ½ tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder and 1 tsp. mini semi-sweet chocolate chips in ¼ cup of water just off the boil. Add 1/3 cup milk and another ¼ cup water and microwave until hot.
Add some chocolate protein powder into a low-calorie shake or smoothie.
Use mini dark chocolate chips to add to hot oatmeal – a little goes a long way!