If you are trying to lose a few pounds or just try to be sensible by eating healthy food, you might be wondering whether it’s a good idea to eat chocolate. The good news is that there is a good chocolate that can be found amongst the myriad of chocolate flavoured snacks and sugary fuelled chocolate bars.
The best option is dark chocolate
Generally speaking, the best chocolate to eat on a diet is dark chocolate with high cocoa solids content. All chocolate contains sugar, but the higher cocoa solids content the lower the amount of sugar there is. Saying that sugar is not necessarily the evil here!
I would always go for real sugar chocolate (or real sugar substitute) than a chemically produced sugars, such as low-calorie sugars.
Always check the ingredients list on the back of the chocolate packaging and have a look at the nutrition percentages too. You’ll be pleasantly surprised that your dark chocolate might have about the same amount of fibre as your breakfast granola or porridge oats and about half the protein of a salmon.
Yes, there is also fat, but it’s a ‘proper’ fat that you need to fuel your body and to give you energy. Check that the fat comes from cocoa butter and that the butter hasn’t been replaced with cheaper vegetable or animal fats.
What type of dark chocolate is best to eat on a diet?
60 – 85% dark chocolate bar (plain or any flavour, including nuts)
This is the best type of chocolate as it will fill you up, give you the right chocolate ‘kick’ and won’t make you want more chocolate afterwards (you’ll feel happily content eating just a few squares of chocolate).
There are so many amazing chocolate bars with some great flavours like Lime & Salt or Goji Berries. You can buy chocolate directly from an independent chocolate producer or specialist chocolate or health shop, or make your own healthy chocolate bars at home.
The types of chocolate bars you will be looking for are:
- Dark/Plain Chocolate Bars with 60-85% (or more..) cocoa solids
- Raw Chocolate Bars
- Single Origins Chocolate Bars
- Healthy chocolate bars with extra protein
- Plain chocolate bars with natural sugar (like coconut blossom)
What about low-calorie chocolate bars?
So, here is the thing, mainstream manufacturers have perfected the art of total chocolate seduction, by adding enzymes, additives, replacing cocoa butter with vegetable or animal oil, adding more sugar (and low-calorie sugars), flour to bulk up the volume of chocolate and other ingredients that turn our taste buds into crazy disco partygoers.
This pretty much means, that no will power will stop you from eating the second Twix finger in the packet. You might think that having a smaller version of your favourite snack bar will help to curb the calories (and yes, it probably will), but the snack bar will not fill you up as it would few squares of proper chocolate, and a few moments later you’ll want more.
What chocolate helps you to lose weight?
Again, I would recommend dark chocolate. Depending on your taste, go for as high cocoa solids content as you can find and you enjoy eating. This type of chocolate taste great, will fill you up, help to stabilise your blood sugar levels so that you won’t crave more chocolate or other food.
On its own, chocolate is obviously not going to help you to lose weight, but swapping a cake for a few squares of good quality artisan produced chocolate is a great start.
Can I eat chocolate and still lose weight?
Yes, as long as you are sensible with how much you eat. Few squares of dark chocolate every day will be much more beneficial than eating so-called healthy breakfast bars or other sugar-filled snacks.
Which chocolate has the least calories?
It’s tricky to choose low-calorie chocolate from commercially produced chocolate bars, but since most people would have come across more of these than artisan chocolates, here are few examples:
Small Milky Way Bar has just over 100 calories
One and 1/3 of Twix fingers are 100 calories
10 Maltesers are 100 calories
Is 85% cocoa solids chocolate healthy?
Yes, such chocolate has only 15% sugar and contains minerals such as magnesium, zinc and iron. If you buy your chocolate bar directly from artisan makers, your chocolate bar will also contain the original cocoa butter.
What’s the best dark chocolate to eat for health benefits?
Any artisan-made chocolate bar with at least 80% cocoa solids and containing the original cocoa butter.
Does eating chocolate increase weight?
Chocolate on its own is not the culprit here. The problem is that most chocolate bars and snacks are also high in sugar, animal or vegetable fat, flour and lots of additives.
Eating a few squares of dark chocolate bar each day is not going to cause an increase in weight, but if you swap it for a chocolate snack bar, you’ll probably notice the difference fairly soon.
Can I eat chocolate every day?
Yes, if it’s in moderation! Few squares of plain dark chocolate will be absolutely fine, but whole milk or white chocolate bar each day won’t do you any favours. The good quality chocolate contains magnesium, zinc and iron and can lower your blood pressure. But, like with all other treats, don’t overdo it!
Is dark chocolate healthier?
Yes, it’s definitely healthier than milk or white chocolate. It also depends on how many cocoa solids your dark chocolate contains. The higher the cocoa solids content the lower the amount of sugar.
Is milk chocolate good for weight loss?
Unfortunately, milk chocolate contains more sugar and milk than dark chocolate, which means that you’d need to eat even less of it than plain- dark chocolate.
If you are really craving milk chocolate, try to go for a 50% cocoa solids dark chocolate, which will be sweeter than 85% cocoa solids chocolate and the jump from milk to dark chocolate won’t be to bad. You can also make a delicious milk chocolate at home and it’s really not that difficult.
What should I eat when I crave chocolate?
This is a tricky one because if you are craving chocolate, you’ll want to eat chocolate! So, me telling to eat something else is only going to delay that reach for the chocolate bar by whatever I suggest.
So, the best thing to do is to eat chocolate but to eat good quality dark chocolate with at least 60% or more cocoa solids or make your own chocolate from cocoa nibs at home. That way you’ll have the chocolate taste, but you’ll fell nicely content by eating filling chocolate and won’t crave so much another chocolate bar.
Another option is to have a hot chocolate drink, made from a dark chocolate bar and a milk of your choice. That way you’ll still have your chocolate taste, but fewer calories and it will help with your water/drink intake for the day.
Why do I crave chocolate so much?
Cravings for chocolate might be caused by your body needing magnesium. You can swap chocolate for eating food rich in magnesium, such as almonds, cashews, peanuts, avocados, seeds, fatty fish, tofu or legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, peas and soybeans).
Other foods containing a high level of magnesium include spinach, quinoa or natural yoghurt.
I’m sure there are many other questions you’d love to ask about chocolate and a diet, so feel free to add them to the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them.