Weight loss journeys are never fun, especially since they usually force us to give up our favorite snacks. It is never fun to restrict ourselves when it comes to our diet, but sometimes it is necessary to ensure that we can meet our goals. Some treats are harder to give up than others, however, and we attempt to compensate by seeking out an alternative or simulacrum we can consume instead to get the flavor with none of the guilt. Unfortunately, one of the first things to go when we make these diets for ourselves is chocolate, the much-beloved treat of millions.
Very few people are happy to sacrifice chocolate in their diet as the number of people who dislike it is equally low. However, for chocolate lovers worldwide, finding a way to keep it in their life is a common goal. There are several varieties of chocolate, making one wonder if there is a type of chocolate they can eat while staying true to their weight loss goals. Fortunately, you might be in for a pleasant surprise when you learn that these chocolates are processed differently by the human body. This article will compare and contrast different types of chocolate so you can assess the best one for your weight loss journey.
Milk Chocolate and Weight Loss
Milk chocolate is easily the most common type of chocolate on the market. It is used in virtually every mainstream chocolate bar and has a soft, rounded flavor that is easy on the palate. Milk chocolate is likely your preferred type for these reasons. However, there is a question of how milk chocolate will impact your ability to lose weight. While milk chocolate is extremely common, it has the same pitfalls as most junk food, containing high levels of sugar and other unhealthy substances that can cause weight gain. However, some claim that milk chocolate can also help with weight loss.
The information surrounding milk chocolate and weight loss comes from a study performed at Brigham and Women's Hospital with some help from the University of Murcia. The trial consisted of 19 postmenopausal women separated into test and control groups. The women in the test group were tasked with consuming 100 g of milk chocolate within 1 hour of waking up in the morning or within 1 hour of going to sleep at night. This study lasted two weeks before the research team assessed the results.
The initial results showed that the consumption of milk chocolate within those timeframes decreased the women's appetites and desire for sweets. The women who ate the chocolate in the morning were found to burn fat at a higher rate when compared to the women who were not given chocolate. The women who consumed the chocolate at night seemed to have an altered metabolism for the next day.
On the surface, the evidence points to milk chocolate being effective for improving weight loss when the 100 g are consumed within the allotted time. However, there are some issues with this study. Namely, the test group was limited, and half the U.S. population suffers from at least one diet-related condition that could cause fluctuations. However, the biggest issue is that the women in the study instinctively compensated for the calories added by the chocolate in their diets. The women who consumed chocolate in the morning reduced their daily caloric intake by 300 calories, while the women who ate it at night reduced their intake for the next day by 150 calories.
These details, combined with the lack of similar studies, make the notion that milk chocolate can help with weight loss somewhat premature. Milk chocolate requires further study before it can be listed as a weight-loss tool. This might be disappointing to milk chocolate lovers, but another option might be on the horizon.
Dark Chocolate and Weight Loss
Dark chocolate is much purer than milk chocolate, having fewer added ingredients. As the name suggests, dark chocolate has a very dark coloration closer to natural cocoa and has an equally sharp and bittersweet taste to accompany its appearance. Despite the radically different flavor profile, dark chocolate is still delightful though it might be something of an acquired taste for some. However, if you want to eat chocolate while losing weight, you might find it your best bet. Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate provides a broader assortment of effects to help manage weight.
The biggest effect that dark chocolate has on your weight involves its effect on your body's insulin levels. Studies have been conducted on the effects of dark chocolate and the body's sensitivity to insulin, a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Dark chocolate has been proven to enhance our body's sensitivity to insulin so that our blood sugar levels remain regulated, but our blood remains clear of excess insulin. While this is not directly tied to weight loss, several studies suggest that an excess of insulin can lead to excess fat storage in the body.
This improved insulin sensitivity also lowers the rate of sugar crashes that might induce hunger and cause us to eat more than we need. So, dark chocolate can indirectly affect our appetites and prevent certain hormones from causing weight gain. Unlike milk chocolate, the studies for this are more plentiful and can be taken as factual.
However, the main benefit of dark chocolate is that it doubles as an appetite suppressant. While there might be hormonal or chemical causes to your weight troubles, overeating will only contribute to the problem. However, further studies on dark chocolate suggest that consuming this type of chocolate will reduce your overall appetite and prevent you from consuming excess calories. One of the more effective studies that helped discover this was when 12 women were given dark chocolate to smell and eat.
The women who were given the dark chocolate had reduced levels of ghrelin. Ghrelin is a hormone that stimulates hunger in humans and other animals. By reducing the levels of ghrelin, dark chocolate can prevent us from eating too much by ensuring we are not as hungry as we would have been otherwise.
A more significant study compared the effects of dark chocolate and milk chocolate on appetite suppression. The study took 16 individuals and divided them into three groups.
- Group 1: The dark chocolate group.
- Group 2: The milk chocolate group.
- Group 3: The control group.
When the study concluded, the dark chocolate group expressed increased satisfaction with their caloric intake. They felt no desire or need to consume further calories later in the day, cementing dark chocolate as an effective appetite suppressant. However, there is more to consider about chocolate than its effects on our bodies.
Chocolate Nutritional Information
While milk and dark chocolate have certain effects on the human body that can make them effective dietary tools, it is important to know the nutritional values of each. While it is easy to look at the calorie count of either type of chocolate, there is more than meets the eye with nutritional information. Not all calories are created equal, and they certainly will not affect the body similarly. Milk and dark chocolate are made differently from one another and have different ingredients, meaning their nutrition is different enough to make knowing the differences important.
Let us start with milk chocolate. The nutrition information for 100 g of milk chocolate is as follows:
- Calories: 535
- Total Fat: 30 g
- Saturated Fat: 19 g
- Cholesterol: 23 mg
- Sodium: 79 mg
- Potassium: 372 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 59 g
- Dietary Fiber: 3.4 g
- Sugar: 52 g
- Protein: 8 g
- Caffeine: 20 mg
As you can see, milk chocolate is by no means a lean treat. However, the important question at the moment is how the nutrition of milk chocolate stacks against that of dark chocolate. The nutritional information for a 100 g serving of dark chocolate is as follows:
- Calories: 600
- Total Fat: 42.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 24.5 g
- Cholesterol: 3 mg
- Sodium: 20 mg
- Potassium: 715 mg
- Total Carbohydrate: 45.9 g
- Dietary Fiber: 10.9 g
- Sugar: 24 g
- Protein: 7.79 g
- Caffeine: 80 mg
At a glance, it might seem as though dark chocolate is heavier and less healthy than milk chocolate. However, as we stated before, not all calories are created equal. Even though dark chocolate has more calories than milk chocolate, it has less sugar and cholesterol, making it a healthier choice than milk chocolate. This is because sugar is more fattening than most other ingredients and the sugar content in dark chocolate is natural as opposed to the supplementary sugar found in milk chocolate.
In addition to having less sugar, dark chocolate has more cocoa than milk chocolate. While the average bar of milk chocolate only has between 10% to 55% cocoa in them. In contrast, dark chocolate can have anywhere between 60% to 100% cocoa. However, you might be curious to know why the cocoa concentration of chocolate is important.
Why is Cocoa Important?
Cocoa is the main ingredient of chocolate and the substance from which it is made. In addition to being the primary ingredient of chocolate, cocoa has many important benefits to our health. This means that you will want to select a chocolate that is closer to pure cocoa than one that is overly diluted. However, the benefits of cocoa might be something worth assessing. Regarding weight control, cocoa offers a surprising set of effects that can benefit your weight loss journey. The first possible benefit is that cocoa can help with energy regulation.
Cocoa can help your body process energy more effectively and reduce appetite. Cocoa can also reduce inflammation while increasing fat oxidation and the sensation of being full. These effects have been corroborated by studies dedicated to uncovering cocoa's benefits. Population studies on cocoa found that those who consume larger quantities of certain chocolates maintained a lower body mass index when compared to those who eat less chocolate or avoid it completely.
One of the most definitive studies on cocoa and weight loss involved a group of subjects following a low-carbohydrate diet. However, one group was also given 42 g of chocolate with a cocoa concentration of 81%. The group that was given the chocolate showed a remarkably faster rate of weight loss when compared to those who only followed the diet.
That said, other studies have connected the consumption of chocolate to weight gain. The issue with those studies is that the results did not differentiate between the chocolate types used in the study. We cannot determine how much cocoa was involved without knowing what kind of chocolate was used. Especially since a study using white chocolate would not have any cocoa since white chocolate is not technically real chocolate. However, the best way to use chocolate for weight loss is to find a chocolate product designed for weight loss.
Keep it All Natural!
Chocolate is beloved by people worldwide as a tasty, sweet treat that is difficult to resist. However, when it comes to losing weight, consuming too much chocolate can be counter-intuitive and compromise your chances of succeeding. As shocking as it may be, you can instead use certain chocolates to aid weight loss. Most doctors and nutritionists will likely tell you to avoid chocolate if you want to lose weight. However, the benefits of certain chocolates are too substantial to overlook. Especially if you love chocolate too much to write it off completely, you will want to look for a chocolate product designed for losing weight rather than stocking up on Hershey's bars.
We at Bella All Natural have heard your pleas and are happy to offer a solution. We offer a slim chocolate shake you can use to enjoy the sweet taste of chocolate while maximizing its weight loss benefits. By adding a tablespoon to water or milk, you can enjoy a chocolatey beverage designed to help you lose weight through its high cocoa concentration and lean ingredients. So, if you want to begin the sweet journey to weight loss, consider ordering a jar for yourself today. But no matter what you do, remember to keep it All Natural!