In the good old days, people were told that in order to be successful at losing weight they needed to stick to a diet, or a weight loss program, and to avoid all foods that were high in calories and considered to by the experts to be “empty calories.” For generations chocolate has topped the list of foods that dieters need to avoid. However, new scientific studies, and studies in the fields of psychology and weight loss now suggest that for some people at least, chocolate may actually play an important role in helping overweight people lose weight.
Dark and Milk Chocolate Both Offer Some Nutrition
Despite what we have been told for generations, both dark and milk chocolate contain nutrients. Dark chocolate contains vitamins C, A, E, and D as well as Phosphorus and copper, while milk chocolate is high in protein, magnesium, and calcium. These two chocolates also contain powerful anti-oxidants, although the anti-oxidant power in dark chocolate is far superior to that of milk chocolate.
But What About the Calories?
Of course there is no getting around the fact that chocolate is extremely high in calories, with milk chocolate containing far more sugar than dark chocolate, and the added calories from milk that also is turned into sugar by the body. However, there is some scientific evidence to suggest that people who regularly consume chocolate actually tend to be thinner and have a lower BMI than people who consume very little or no chocolate. There are other studies to suggest that eating small amounts of chocolate may help dieters in other ways. Here is some of what these studies revealed.
- Eating a piece of chocolate about the size of tip of your thumb 20 minutes before lunch and dinner and 5 minutes after dinner may help to reduce your appetite by up to 50%.
- Chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, seems to help prevent sugar spikes. When sugar spikes after eating, insulin actually keeps your body from releasing stored fat even when you exercise, making it more difficult to shed pounds and putting you at risk for insulin resistance and diabetes.
- Dark Chocolate also may help to reduce the metabolic effects of stress and is also known to be a mood elevator which can help to lift diet depression.
You need to keep in mind that these studies are new and somewhat scattered, so no one who is trying to lose weight is advised to consume chocolate on a daily basis or in large amounts; however, there is one more way that chocolate may actually help you reach your weight loss goals, and this reason is the most compelling of all.
Chocolate Can Help Fight the Effects of Psychological Deprivation on Dieters
One of the leading reasons why most dieters fail in their weight loss attempts is because their minds get in the way of their weight loss. When you begin a weight loss program the first thing you are told is that you can’t have most of your favorite foods until your goal is achieved. In most cases, those foods we are asked to forsake are those high-calorie sweet foods that we love and we emotionally or mentally crave.
By foregoing these foods, we feel deprived and find ourselves longing for those very foods we are being denied. This feeling of deprivation can cause a dieter to feel depressed and actually crave those very foods to the point that having those foods becomes, in the dieters mind, more important that shedding those unhealthy and unwanted pounds. Before you know it, you are eating those foods, feeling guilty and telling yourself you have failed again, and end up going off your weight loss program entirely.
Diet Experts picked up on this trend and after some experimentation have realized that allowing some forbidden foods, to be consumed every so often actually helps dieters reach their weight loss goals. They found that allowing dieters to consume that candy bar, (or other food they crave) once every couple of weeks or once a month without the guilt associated with it, actually helped to reduce those food cravings and helped dieters to stick to their diet. If you are trying to lose weight and crave chocolate or some other food, ask your weight loss professional how to incorporate these foods into your diet in a healthier way.