Did you know that chocolate is the most craved food in North America? Chocolate is so popular that 40 percent of women list it as their favorite food (1-2). But what some people may not realize is that chocolate can be a valuable weight-loss tool.
According to a 2011 study performed by researchers at Pennsylvania State University, it may be more advantageous to try to work chocolate into your weight-loss reigmen instead of cutting it out altogether.
The study randomly assigned 26 overweight, premenopausal women to eat either a reduced-calorie diet with a daily dark chocolate snack or a non-chocolate snack. They found that both groups lost weight, but that the daily, portion-controlled chocolate snack didn’t hinder any weight loss (3).
From the results of the study, the authors suggested that those trying to lose weight should consider the incorporation of portion-controlled snacks with respect to overall daily calorie intake to assist with meeting their goals (3).
“When prescribing a dietary plan for weight loss, an individual’s food preferences and usual intake pattern, which also includes snacks, should be considered,” the authors concluded. “Education about the importance of controlling sweet snack portion size and its contribution to overall daily energy intake is critical.”
The research suggests that moderate, daily chocolate consumption can be a useful weight-loss tool for many, as it often helps curb cravings when eaten periodically throughout the day.
Quality, Portion-Controlled Chocolate
IsaDelight® chocolates, which are available in Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Dark Chocolate with Mint Flavor, and Milk Chocolate with Sea Salt and Caramel, are an ideal product that allows people on weight-loss regimens to get their chocolate fix without packing on tons of extra calories.
At 60 calories per square, IsaDelights stand out among other kinds of chocolate because they include amino acids and B vitamins and are infused with green tea. They contain no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners.
Daily Intake and Timing
Regardless of the quality, it’s still possible to have too much. It’s generally suggested that consumers limit chocolate to no more than four 10-gram pieces (or 1.5 oz.) of quality chocolate per day to stay on track with health or weight-loss goals.
Not overindulging can come down to timing. Saving one’s chocolate allowance for the end of the day may seem like a good way to unwind and reward oneself at the end of a long day. However, with so many food temptations throughout the day, some may also find it helpful to always have quality chocolate on hand, allowing them to easily avoid those more unhealthy options.
In the Penn State study described earlier, subjects spread their chocolate consumption throughout the day (totaling about 150 calories) to help them curb cravings, leading to the consumption of fewer calories and eventual weight loss (3).
Small amounts of chocolate can combat cravings and provide a little pick-me-up during the day. IsaDelights are also a wonderful companion on Cleanse and Shake Days and can even be a sweet treat for loved ones this Valentine’s Day.
- Asarian L, Geary N. Sex differences in the physiology of eating. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2013 Dec;305(11):R1215-67.
- Macdiarmid JI, Vail A, Cade JE, Blundell JE. The sugar-fat relationship revisited: differences in consumption between men and women of varying BMI. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 22: 1053–1061, 1998
- Piehowski KE, Preston AG, Miller DL, Nickols-Richardson SM. A reduced-calorie dietary pattern including a daily sweet snack promotes body weight reduction and body composition improvements in premenopausal women who are overweight and obese: a pilot study. J Am Diet Assoc 2011;111:1198-203.