Dark Chocolate: Can It Help You Lose Weight?

It is often hailed as a nutritious food due to the dark chocolate quality of beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins.

In fact, a variety of health benefits including improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and improved brain function, have been linked to it.

Many people still question if dark chocolate will help weight loss due to its recent superfood status.

Potential Benefits

When it comes to weight loss, dark chocolate can offer many potential benefits.

Enhances insulin sensitivity

Some research indicates that dark chocolate could help enhance the sensitivity of your body to insulin, the hormone responsible for shuttling sugar out of your bloodstream and into your cells where it can be used. This may help lower blood insulin levels, which can be related to increased weight loss and decreased fat accumulation.

Although further research is needed, some small studies have also shown that dark chocolate can help improve the regulation of blood sugar. This can help to stop blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to symptoms such as increased appetite.

Minimize hunger and appetite

Research suggests that dark chocolate can decrease cravings and encourage feelings of fullness, which can help facilitate weight loss.

Smelling and eating dark chocolate reduced appetite and decreased levels of ghrelin, the hormone that promotes hunger, in one study of 12 people. Another small study of 16 individuals compared the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate and found that after eating dark chocolate, participants felt less hungry and fuller and happier.

In addition, at a subsequent meal, they also consumed 17 percent less calories, relative to participants who ate milk chocolate. Similarly, a study of 14 postmenopausal women found that consuming dark chocolate resulted in higher food consumption reductions relative to eating white and milk chocolate.

However further research is needed to determine how dark chocolate, relative to other foods, can influence appetite and food intake.

Improves mood

Several studies have shown that mental health and mood can be positively influenced by dark chocolate, which can guarantee that you feel your best and help promote weight loss.

Those who consumed higher concentrations of dark chocolate had a 57% lower risk of developing depressive symptoms than those who did not regularly eat dark chocolate, according to one study in 13,626 individuals.

Eating 1.5 ounces (40 grams) of dark chocolate daily decreased stress levels in women over 2 weeks in another small study. Moreover, a study of 72 adults found that drinking a dark chocolate drink for 30 days contributed, compared to placebo, to increased feelings of self-rated calmness and contentment.

To decide if the possible mood-boosting effects of dark chocolate could be beneficial for weight loss, additional research is required.

Possible Drawbacks

Although dark chocolate may offer some possible weight loss advantages, there are several downsides to consider.

First, fat and calories are relatively high in dark chocolate. In fact, 155 calories and almost 9 grams of fat are contained in a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of dark chocolate.

A single serving may contain one-half to one-third the amount of calories in a standard chocolate bar, depending on the particular brand and product.

There are also high levels of added sugar in certain forms of dark chocolate, which can harm your health. Added sugar may lead to chronic health conditions including liver disease, heart disease and diabetes, in addition to raising the amount of calories in a food.

Therefore, while dark chocolate will possibly work into a diet for weight loss, it is important to stick to varieties of high quality and avoid going overboard.

Stick to about 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time for the best results and select a product that is low in added sugar and contains at least 70 percent cocoa.

To Sum It Up

Dark chocolate can promote weight loss by many mechanisms, such as improving insulin sensitivity, decreasing appetite and hunger, and improving mood.

It is important to bear in mind, however that dark chocolate is often high in calories and fat, and there are high levels of added sugar in many varieties. For this reason, as part of a balanced, well-rounded diet, it is best to choose high quality items that are low in added sugar and contain at least 70 percent cocoa, as well as enjoy it in moderation.

Fortunately, it is possible to buy dark chocolate in bite-sized, individually wrapped pieces, which could help encourage regulation of portions.

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