Who doesn’t like chocolate? Chocolate has gotten a terrible reputation when it comes to weight reduction. Is chocolate bad for you? There are various factors to consider depending on how much chocolate you consume. Let’s take a look at the 12 health benefits and risks of eating chocolate.
Is chocolate healthy or unhealthy?
Some health benefits have been linked with consuming chocolate, although excessive consumption may lead to weight gain. The cocoa seeds are taken from tropical Theobroma cocoa trees, which were originally utilized by the Mesoamerican Olmec culture.
Originally utilized by the Mesoamerican Olmec civilization, the term “chocolate” was coined in Europe and gained huge popularity.
Chocolate is now a well-known food, and millions of people enjoy it every week since it has a unique, full-bodied, and delicious flavor.
Just because chocolate intake is popular, doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Or does it?
Is chocolate bad for you?
Chocolate was criticized for its high-fat and sugar content. It has been linked to acne and diabetes in certain studies. Interestingly, chocolate may cause fewer headaches than other foods.
A study out of the Netherlands focuses on discovering the existence of biochemically active phenolic compounds within the cocoa-based ingredient of chocolate.
Chocolate has long been linked to obesity and heart disease. These links have caused people to reevaluate their opinions of chocolate while also encouraging research on its impact on aging, including hypertension, diabetes, oxidation, and hypertension.
12 Health benefits of eating chocolate
Dark chocolate may help prevent heart disease and lower the risk of stroke
Chocolate consumption has been linked to better heart health, and there’s evidence that it can help. When compared to a placebo, chocolate-eating monthly was found to lower cholesterol levels, while reducing the risk of arteries being clogged.
In May 2021, the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition released a more comprehensive study that compared chocolate consumption among veterans to the usual calorie intake of one ounce of chocolate.
According to research, dark chocolate is beneficial in maintaining heart health and lowering coronary artery disease.
Dark chocolate may cause your risk of heart disease to decrease
Flavanol is an antioxidant present in chocolate that may aid in the prevention of heart disease. Flavonols have been shown to improve blood vessel health and function, lower blood pressure, reduce insulin resistance, and enhance memory in humans.
Chocolate consumption has been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, according to one study. Chocolate, on the other hand, can be health-enhancing rather than just a healthier alternative.
Dark chocolate may fight free radicals and may play a role in cancer prevention
It is currently unknown what dark chocolate can do to prevent certain cancers. Several research studies have indicated that antioxidant therapy may help to control cell damage caused by free radicals.
In some people, the presence of too many radicals in a cell affects its cells and can cause inflammation and other diseases including cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
According to the American Cancer Society, eating foods high in flavonoids can prevent cancers from occurring in the body and prevent cancer cells.
Your brain will be sharper
Two cups of hot chocolate a day, according to researchers at Harvard Medical School, may help prevent cognitive impairment and memory loss in older people.
The researchers discovered that drinking hot chocolate improved blood flow to areas of the brain where it was needed.
Chocolate, according to another research published in the journal Appetite in 2016, can help improve cognitive function if eaten at least once a week.
Dark chocolate could improve blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes
Taking a bite a day to eat chocolate does not seem like an effective diabetes treatment, but studies show that eating a good amount of dark chocolate rich in cacao can improve metabolism.
According to Statpearls, insulin resistance results in high blood sugar and is a symptom of type 2 diabetes. According to researchers, the flavonoids in dark chocolate protect against oxidative stress, which they believe causes insulin resistance.
Is dark chocolate good for weight loss?
According to a recent study, dark chocolate might help you lose weight by curbing cravings and increasing feelings of fullness.
In a 12-person experiment, smelling and consuming dark chocolate reduced hunger and lowered levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates appetite.
Another research study in 16 participants compared the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate and discovered that people felt less hungry and fuller after eating dark chocolate.
In separate research, 14 postmenopausal women who were fed dark chocolate had lower food intake than those who ate white and milk chocolate.
Even though most of the research has been conducted on a smaller scale, it appears that dark chocolate is beneficial for weight reduction and does not need to be avoided or denied.
Chocolate is good for your skin in more ways than one
Vitamin and mineral-rich dark chocolate are beneficial to the skin, according to Harvard University’s School of Public Health. Manganese, like collagen, helps elongate skin cells by promoting their retention.
Chocolate’s antioxidant qualities have been noted in several prior research. Chocolate’s antioxidant properties have not yet been conclusively proven, however previous studies suggest that it protects skin from UV radiation. Other studies found no significant antioxidants in chocolate against UV radiation.
Chocolate contains several nutrients that can help with suppleness and elasticity, but I wouldn’t recommend soaking in chocolate and then exposing yourself to the sun just yet. Chocolate continues to be studied for its health benefits on your skin.
Chocolate may improve cognition, prevent memory loss and boost your mood
Without a doubt, studies have established that eating chocolate with high amounts of caffeinated foods improves brain function. Research suggests eating chocolate boosts neuronal activity in areas that associate pleasure and reward that decrease your stress and improve your mood.
More research on chocolate’s effect on our brains is currently ongoing. It will be interesting to find out more possible health benefits!
Chocolate can positively affect your blood pressure
Flavanols in cocoa have been discovered to promote the formation of endothelial nitric oxide, which promotes vasodilation and lowers blood pressure.
The researchers discovered that healthy individuals had a small but statistically significant blood pressure-lowering effect after consuming flavanol-rich cocoa products.
Dark chocolate may cause good cholesterol to rise and bad cholesterol to fall
Chocolate consumption, according to one study published in The Journal of Nutrition, may aid in the reduction of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels, often known as “bad cholesterol.”
The researchers aimed to see whether chocolate bars with plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) affect cholesterol levels.
The researchers wrote: “Chocolate bars with PS and CF, when consumed as part of a low-fat diet, may promote cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and lowering blood pressure.”
You may get an energy boost from eating chocolate
Chocolate is a good source of caffeine, thus the reason it is considered an energy booster. You can get up to about 20 milligrams from one ounce of chocolate.
Theobromine, a milder stimulant found in chocolate, is also present. In other words, you may get the boost without the shakes that come with too much coffee.
Is chocolate bad for you or is it OK to eat chocolate every day?
The correct chocolate dose can be hard to determine. Not all chocolate is created equal. Making sure you have quality chocolate can make a huge difference in how much you consume.
For the greatest outcomes, stick to 1 ounce (28 g) at a time and choose a product that is low in refined sugar and has at least 70% cocoa content. This will be much more beneficial than commercially available chocolate bars.
Some of the best-rated dark chocolates are:
- Hu Dark Chocolate Bar – Best Overall.
- Lindt Excellence Extra Dark Chocolate Bar – Runner-Up.
- Lily’s Dark Chocolate Bar – Honorable Mention.
- Brookside Dark Chocolate Candy – Also Consider.
- Bouchard Belgian Dark Chocolate.
- Divine Exquisitely Rich Dark Chocolate.
This is a rather subjective list. It may be amusing to try out various brands and see which ones work best for you.
Too much chocolate can lead to digestive problems
Unfortunately, some people find chocolate more severe than other foods that cause gastroesophageal reflux and can affect stomach acidity in some cases. Chocolate may cause irritable bowel syndrome as well.
If chocolate gives you stomach pain, examine the quality of your chocolate and stay away from it if it is giving you problems or discomfort.
There is nothing wrong with finding another delicious treat to satisfy your sweet tooth.
You’ll gain weight if you eat more chocolate than your body needs
Chocolate with high-fat content and sugars, such as dark chocolate, is included in this category. A diet that consists of too much of anything might cause weight gain. You should eat only small amounts of chocolate to maintain or lose weight.
This means you get the health benefits of chocolate without causing a health issue.
Is milk chocolate good for you?
Manufacturers of light, or milk, chocolate argue that their product is healthier since it includes milk and has protein and calcium. Dark chocolate enthusiasts tout the higher iron content and antioxidant levels in their bar.
So I guess finding a balance between both could be the way to go!
So, Is chocolate bad for you? Is it healthy or unhealthy?
Both. It is important to remember that chocolate is not a “health” food. Many times, however, it is dark chocolate with lower sugar levels that are considered beneficial for weight loss.
The key is moderation.
It’s critical to maintain a healthy dose of balance, much like everything else related to your health. Satisfying the sweet taste does not have to negate your weight-loss objectives, whether it’s dark chocolate or straight cocoa beans.
You are free to enjoy the health benefits of chocolate while also staying mindful of the risks of overconsumption.
Lesley Goth, PsyD is a sustainable weight loss coach. Find out more about Lesley and her free masterclass where you can transform your relationship with food and your body and have long-term success on your weight loss journey.