A little bit of dark chocolate every day, combined with a healthful diet and plenty of exercise, helps you lose weight without feeling deprived. Dark chocolate suppresses your appetite and is high in good fats which prevent obesity and protect against disease.
Dark chocolate helps suppress your appetite. Although chocolate is packed with calories (about 50 calories in two bites), scientists at the University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate helped increase satiety — the feeling of being full — and reduced cravings more than milk chocolate does. The reason: dark chocolate’s bitter taste and its higher amount of cocoa butter makes you feel fuller longer, so you are less apt to overeat.
Dark chocolate is high in healthful fats. According to research published in Yale-New Haven Hospital’s Nutrition Advisor, about a third of dark chocolate’s fat is stearic acid, a saturated fat usually found in animals products that helps slow digestion. Unlike most saturated fats, stearic acid doesn’t raise LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Most of the stearic acid in dark chocolate is converted by the liver to oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat which comprises another third of dark chocolate’s fat. Oleic acid in dark chocolate is the same fat in olive oil shown to be beneficial in preventing obesity and protecting against breast cancer, heart disease and aging.
Keep portions small to avoid excess calories. Many chocolate manufacturers increase the calories by adding fats, more sugar and milk–all of which counteract its healthful benefits. As much as we might like the idea of eating as much chocolate as we want, the unconstrained consumption of any food as calorie-dense as chocolate without a corresponding increase in the amount of physical activity will increase your risk of obesity, not reduce it. Better to eat only small amounts of the best dark chocolate (70% cocoa or more) you can find, and savor every bite. A third of an ounce of dark chocolate daily only adds 50 calories.
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