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Chocolate as Your Weight Loss Program

irresistible favorite chocolate and candy

Chocolate souffle candy dessert with chocolate praline and cocoa beans. (Valentin Jucov/Dreamstime)

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Friday, 12 July 2019 06:57 AM Current | Bio | Archive

Your Favorite Candy May Help You Shed Pounds

Love chocolate but think its not on your diet? Think again. Apparently, it might even help you lose weight . . . if you eat the right kind.

Whether you are on a diet or just watching your weight, one of the most popular, all time favorite foods is usually found on both the naughty list and the "most wanted" list.

You guessed it: chocolate.

We add chocolate to enhance a variety of already enjoyable items, from candy to chips, milk to martinis. It is routinely described as everything from an incentive, to a reward, to a weakness.

The common denominator is that most people love it.

So, barring allergies or specific health conditions, why on earth would you give it up?

There is an easy answer here too — to lose weight.

But this might sound unthinkable, if not impossible.

No one wants to embark on a diet where you have to absolutely avoid the foods you love.

There has to be an easier way.

Sure enough, there is.

Your "Most Wanted" Can Be Managed

Banning favorite foods simply places them on the dietary "most wanted" list.

Most people who are unable (unwilling?) to give up their favorites cold turkey have evolved from deprivation to moderation. They are the lucky ones who are disciplined enough to buy that bag of chips or box of cookies but exercise the willpower to limit their indulgence.

But there might be other ways to enjoy the same amount of a favorite food simply by switching to what type of it you enjoy. And no, I don´t mean substituting your favorite ice cream or candy with the sugar free/ fat free version. We are not fooling anyone with that swap. But if you are a chocolate lover, for example, have you thought about switching from milk to dark?

Yes, Dark Chocolate Impacts Appetite

When it comes to weight gain, chocolate gets a bad rap.

Even though it has (some) health benefits, it is also usually high in calories and high in fat— which of course is why it tastes so good (and tops the most wanted list).

But research demonstrates that if you are a chocolate lover, you are in for a sweet surprise.

Studies show that you might be more likely to eat less afterwards if you eat dark chocolate, than milk or white. This phenomenon appears to be true for both men and women.

Men Eat Chocolate Too

In one study, L.B. Sørensen and A. Astrup (from 2011) compared the impact of milk versus dark chocolate on appetite sensations and subsequent food consumption in normal-weight, healthy men.

The results?

Participants were more satiated, felt less hungry, and reported lower ratings of prospective consumption of food after eating dark chocolate than after eating milk chocolate. When they consumed their next meal, which was a laboratory test meal of ham and cheese pizza, sure enough, caloric intake was 17% lower after eating dark chocolate than milk chocolate.

The authors explain that apparently, dark chocolate stimulates a feeling of satiety, decreases the desire for to consume something sweet, and suppresses subsequent caloric intake as compared with milk chocolate.

A Valentine´s Day Truth: Women Love Chocolate

And now for the ladies. Channa E. Marsh et al. (from 2017) conducted a study to test the impact of milk, white, and dark chocolate on subsequent caloric intake, appetite, and mood, in postmenopausal women. In doing so, they acknowledge the research by Sørensen and Astrup, as well as other research finding that healthy young women also ate less of a test meal following a dose of dark chocolate as compared to milk chocolate.

In their research, however, Marsh et al. tested three types of chocolate rather than two, and all from a single source. Using the same cacao bean, they tested the impact of three different types of chocolate: 80% cocoa [dark], 35% cocoa [milk] and cocoa butter [white]. The results? Subsequent energy intake was significantly lower after eating dark chocolate as compared to either milk or white chocolate. Mood was not altered.

Marsh et al. concluded that dark chocolate reduces food consumption, as compared to milk and white chocolate in postmenopausal women.

Bittersweet Victory

Understandably, some people do not consider substituting semi-sweet dark chocolate for their rich milk chocolate flavor to be an acceptable swap. But for those who love any type of chocolate, this research is good news — particularly for those with a candy dish on their desk, or who are otherwise prone to snacking on chocolate between meals.

Although any individual study must be taken with a grain of salt, if you are on a diet but love chocolate, this body of research at least delivers a bittersweet victory in terms of how to satisfy those mid-afternoon chocolate cravings, that might make you eat less later as well.

This article was first published in Psychology Today.

Wendy L. Patrick is a career prosecutor, named the Ronald M. George Public Lawyer of the Year, and recognized by her peers as one of the Top Ten criminal attorneys in San Diego by the San Diego Daily Transcript. She has completed over 150 trials ranging from human trafficking, to domestic violence, to first-degree murder. She is President of the Association of Threat Assessment Professionals San Diego Chapter and an ATAP Certified Threat Manager. Dr. Patrick is a frequent media commentator with over 4,000 appearances including CNN, Fox News Channel, Newsmax, and many others. She is author of "Red Flags" (St. Martin´s Press), and co-author of the revised version of the New York Times bestseller "Reading People" (Random House). On a personal note, Dr. Patrick holds a purple belt in Shorin-Ryu karate, is a concert violinist with the La Jolla Symphony, and plays the electric violin with a rock band. To read more of her reports — Click Here Now.

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Research demonstrates that if you are a chocolate lover, you are in for a sweet surprise. Studies show that you might be more likely to eat less afterwards if you eat dark chocolate, than milk or white. This phenomenon appears to be true for both men and women.
chocolate, sweet, cocoa
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2019-57-12
Friday, 12 July 2019 06:57 AM
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