As with many other foods that were first pilloried for being harmful to health, chocolate seems to have turned the corner, finally. Countless studies have given the chocolate a thumping approval for the numerous health benefits it provides.
Dark chocolate has shown to greatly reduce insulin resistance, reduce the metabolic effects of stress, and curb your cravings for sweet, salty, and fatty foods. A combination flavonoids and healthy fats, in dark chocolate, slow down the absorption of sugar and prevent insulin spikes, that can switch off your body’s fat burning mechanisms, making you feel hungry all over again in no time. Insulin spikes are the starting blocks for diabetes and insulin resistance.
Polyphenols in dark chocolate boost energy levels by increasing the number of energy producing mitochondria in your muscles. Fiber and protein increase satiety and the sweet taste calms the nerves, giving both the mind and the body complete nourishment. Overall it increases calorie burn, reduces overeating and negates blood sugar imbalances…all critical for a healthy weight loss diet.
Before you open that chocolate wrapper and dive into your favorite bar with guiltless enthusiasm, be wise enough to check its contents. All the benefits that chocolate promises only apply to the “dark” variety and especially ones that have a higher cacao content (>70% ideally). The whiter (or less darker) varieties contain added sugar and milk (brings in its own sugar as well) totally negating its health benefits and in fact creating more health issues. Stick to dark “bitter” chocolate as it has less added sugar, contains monounsaturated fatty acids, and the bitter taste keeps consumption low.
Refrain from eating beyond recommended levels (1-2 helpings, each no bigger than the end of your thumb, daily) of dark chocolate. More than that and you are piling on the sugar and fat, making it “bitter” not just for your taste buds but for your health too.