The Bad, The Good And The Dark

Dark ChocolateCan chocolate really protect your heart (like many studies show) and fit into a weight-loss program? Well, yes, but not all chocolate is the same.

If you’re one of the dieters that cannot live without chocolate, go for the purest dark chocolate you can find. That’s the kind loaded with flavonoids — antioxidant chemicals that help prevent cell damage, reduce clot formation and improve blood sugar levels. The cacao plant, which is what chocolate is made from, contains the same antioxidants — including catechins and phenols — found in red wine, apples, onions and grapes. Stay away from the milk chocolate or the chocolate with stuffing. This types of chocolate have more calories than the dark one.

Look for the chocolate with at least 60% cocoa (some brands of dark chocolate contain as much as 75% or even 90%). Milk chocolate has fewer flavonoids than dark, and white chocolate has almost none.

As an added treat, chocolate also contains caffeine and other chemicals that help boost your mood and may ease women’s premenstrual symptoms. :D

Moderation is key

Now that you now dark chocolate is good for you, don’t overeat it every day! Two squares of a bar can satisfy a craving without blowing your diet.

Dark chocolate can be loaded with calories, saturated fat and sugar. A normal chocolate bar has about 500 calories and it isn’t necessarily the best source of flavonoids. You can get similar antioxidants from vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Unlike chocolate, they are low-fat, low-cholesterol, high-fiber and caffeine-free, but I know, they are not as sweet.
When you get a craving, it’s better to satisfy it with 1-2 chocolate squares (which has below 100 calories) than to deprive yourself all day. You might end up eating a whole bar just before bed.

Treat ideas

If you have one chocolate bar is hard to limit yourself to only 2 squares. For me it is, so the best way is no to have any chocolate at home. Still, if you want just to satisfy your cravings and not eat the entire bar, you can:

  • Smear 1 teaspoon of chocolate cream on 1 whole-grain bread or 1 cracker; you can add a sliced banana also.
  • Dip fruits in melted chocolate and eat them after 10 minutes.
  • Shred some chocolate flakes into a bowl of milk and cereals.
  • Mix some low-fat sweet cheese with pieces of chocolate and fruits.

RSS Trackback URL 19. March 2007 (17:49)
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