You'll agree with me when I say: "Keeping a healthy weight is hard." Also, when I say: "Keeping a healthy weight while eating chocolate is impossible!"
Well, it turns out that dark chocolate is healthy for your weight. This answer will be controversial; however, here in Club ChoKolate we review the evidence available and add our own insight. Then, we provide you with a summary of practical tips that you can try yourself.
I believe that one of the reasons I can maintain my weight is that I consume a small amount of bean-to-bar dark chocolate daily. This not only delights my taste buds and provides me with a frequently fascinating experience but also helps my weight, one of the many dark chocolate benefits.
Here are the facts:
FACT #1 - THIN people eat dark chocolate more frequently
In 2012, one study showed that a lower body mass index (BMI) happened in people that consumed dark chocolate more frequently. The research carried out at the University of California mentioned that the average frequency of chocolate consumption was two (2) times per week AND interesting to note that the quantity consumed did not correlate with weight. In fact, this group consumed more calories overall.
FACT #2 - Cacao, the origin of chocolate, activates your metabolism
Cacao, and therefore dark chocolate, has capsaicin and magnesium, chemical compounds that activate the metabolism. They act as energy generators and become "fat burners," accelerating your body's functioning naturally.
Some animal studies show that dark chocolate's health benefits might be due to activating cellular mechanisms that are promoters of the body's metabolism and changing fat absorption in the gut. Simultaneously, it enhances the body's ability to use glucose, our primary fuel, therefore increasing the so-called "insulin sensitivity." If the body is using glucose better, your brain will think that it does not need additional energy and will feel satiety quicker.
FACT #3 - Dark chocolate increases satiety
In 2011 the medical journal of Nutrition & Diabetes set the goal of comparing dark chocolate and milk on appetite sensations and energy intake in healthy and normal-weight men.
16 young, healthy, and average weight men participated in a study where the test meals were 100 gr of milk chocolate versus the same amount of dark chocolate. Visual analog scales were used to record the sensations of appetite before and after the test meal was consumed and, subsequently, every 30 minutes for 5 hours.
The results showed that participants felt more satiated or less hungry after consuming dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. The desire to consume sweet, greasy, or salty treats was lower after consuming dark chocolate.
This study concluded that one of the critical dark chocolate benefits is the promotion of satiety, decreasing the desire to eat sweets.
FACT #4 - Antioxidants present in dark chocolate prevent obesity
In 2014, a group of researchers found that an antioxidant in cocoa prevented lab mice from gaining weight and lowered their blood sugar levels. The study published by the American Chemical Society revealed that flavonoids present in cocoa beans stop weight gain.
The scientists decided to go beyond proving this dark chocolate benefit and separated the different types of flavonoids present in cocoa and evaluate each one individually. The mice ate different baits, including high and low-fat treats, and some supplemented with various flavanols.
Oligomeric procyanidins were responsible for the most significant difference in keeping the weight of mice lower.
FACT #5 - Real dark chocolate has less sugar and more fiber
Jody Braverman, a professional writer and personal trainer wrote in 2019 the following: "Dark chocolate is also lower in sugar than milk chocolate. One ounce has 6.8 grams of sugar, compared to 15.8 grams in one ounce of milk chocolate. Staying away from sugar is key to successful weight loss."
Also, in her www.livestrong.com article from 2019, she reports: "...milk chocolate has a higher sugar content, dark chocolate has a higher fiber content. Fiber is the "anti-sugar." Your body can't digest it, and it doesn't offer any nutrients. Still, it helps slow the absorption of sugar into your bloodstream and dampen its effects on blood sugar. It also delays stomach emptying, which can help you feel full for longer after you eat it.
FACT #6 - Chocolate can mimic exercise
The website Rogue Health and Fitness report a study from the American Society of Sports Medicine, where mice got epicatechin from cacao beans (cocoa). The mice that got the compound daily for 15 days had better exercise performance, blood flow, and mitochondrial biogenesis (energy "tank" within cells) in extremities and heart muscle. Besides, they had less muscle fatigue. These effects were enhanced with the addition of exercise. The improvements were noted when compared to water.
FACT #7 - Cacao (cocoa) prevents fat formation
Another animal study was done in South Korea (in Seoul National University) showed that mice fed a high-fat diet and treated with cocoa polyphenol extract had consistently decreased high-fat diet-induced weight gain, resulting in obesity prevention.
Many consumers choose milk chocolates or even grocery store dark chocolates whose cocoa content is low. Also, they tend to have large amounts of sugars and might have additives that decrease cacao's benefits. This results in a significant increase in calorie intake.
As chocolate lovers, we recommend choosing a craft dark chocolate. The higher the cacao %, the less sugar it will have. Hello to the whim and goodbye to excess calories! Remember, these chocolates offer a unique experience; it's not only about cacao %.
More and more studies on the benefits of dark chocolate have turned into a trend that this delicious snack can be a secret to wear a slim figure by accelerating metabolism and decreasing the desire to consume sweet or greasy food.
Let's eat dark chocolate and live #TheGoodnessOfLife.
- Golomb BA, Koperski S, White HL. Association between more frequent chocolate consumption and lower body mass index. Arch Intern Med 2012; 172:519–521
- Sørensen, L., Astrup, A. Eating dark and milk chocolate: a randomized crossover study of effects on appetite and energy intake. Nutr & Diabetes 1, e21 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1038/nutd.2011.17
- Melanie R. Dorenkott et al. Oligomeric Cocoa Procyanidins Possess Enhanced Bioactivity Compared to Monomeric and Polymeric Cocoa Procyanidins for Preventing the Development of Obesity, Insulin Resistance, and Impaired Glucose Tolerance during High-Fat Feeding. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2014 62 (10), 2216-2227 DOI: 10.1021/jf500333y
- Villarreal F (2010). Chocolate: an exercise mimetic? Southwest Chapter American College of Sports Medicine Annual Meeting. San Diego, CA. 36.
- Nogueira L, Ramirez-Sanchez I, Perkins GA, et al. ()-Epicatechin enhances fatigue resistance and oxidative capacity in mouse muscle. J Physiol 2011; 589:4615–4631.
- Gu Y, Hurst WJ, Stuart DA, Lambert JD. Inhibition of key digestive enzymes by cocoa extracts and procyanidins. J Agric Food Chem 2011; 59:5305–5311.
- Gu Y, Yu S, Lambert JD. Dietary cocoa ameliorates obesity-related inflammation in high fat-fed mice. Eur J Nutr 2013. This study investigated the effects of cocoa supplementation on obesity-related inflammation, insulin resistance, and fatty liver disease.
- Min SY, Yang H, Seo SG, et al. Cocoa polyphenols suppress adipogenesis in vitro and obesity in vivo by targeting insulin receptor. Int J Obes 2013; 37:584–592.