It’s that time of year, summer is here & we’re all trying to lose that last 10-15 lbs. But do you really want to lose your chocolate….yea…no, you don’t. You know it, we know it, so here’s how to keep your chocolate and lose weight too.
Appetite and Chocolate Many studies have been done on weight loss and others on chocolate. But together, there has not been many. But what we do have is research on chocolate and how it affects appetite.
A study done in 2011 by the University of Copenhagen compared how milk and dark chocolate can affect your appetite. Without boring you with the details (I’ll link to the results below) they found that chocolate can affect your appetite in a positive manner for up to 5 hours after consumption.
What they found is after eating a 100g bar of dark chocolate, roughly 3.5 ounces, satiety and hunger were lower than with the milk chocolate. Now not many people would eat that much chocolate before eating a meal. But if you were, then over the day you would be more satisfied and would tend to eat fewer calories. (1) Chocolate Percentages Why is this happening? One possible theory is that the higher cacao in the dark chocolate is satisfying the “sweet tooth” in us and triggering a lower hunger level. Compared to the low rating of mass produced milk chocolate, around 30% or less, compared to 70% or more in most, if not all, craft dark chocolate. Bitter taste & Hormones Other studies have shown that the bitter taste of dark chocolate can decrease hunger by limiting the hunger hormone after the first 30 minutes of a meal. Your body does this by decreasing the amount of production of the hunger hormone (Ghrelin) which slows down digestion and decreases appetite. (2)
Dislike Dark Chocolate
That’s ok, let’s take a little bit of psychology and mix it with our ability to train ourselves. First, we should know that many of our taste aversions are predisposed on us as we are kids. We tried something we didn’t like and then associated that with other foods we try. Think about okra, it’s a slimy fruit (yes, it’s a fruit, shocked me too). Seeing it in its normal state makes you cringe and possible not eat it.
But if we take our ability to train ourselves then you can help yourself like it. You could just bite the bullet and eat one and see if you like it or not. This is good if you haven’t had it before but what if you know you don’t like bitter dark chocolate. There are a couple ways to adjust your palette to like it. You can put it in other foods. Such as shavings on top of ice cream, chunks in a salad or you could make chocolate bread. These are ways to get the bitterness of the chocolate but help tone it down and make it more palatable.
What I noticed is with a good craft chocolate isn’t bitter in the 70-75% range, but has a fruitier taste than mass produced chocolate. Try Different Recipes You can also try the food in different recipes until you find a way that you like it. And the final way would be to figure out what exactly do you not like about it? Is it the taste, texture, the look of the food? Going back to the Okra example, seeing a slimy piece of okra can turn many off compared to seeing a cheesecake with blueberries. We eat with our eyes as many studies have shown. (3)(4) If we can make the item look more appealing, then this will help in liking the item later on.
Recap Dark chocolate can reduce your appetite and hunger for up to 5 hours, if eaten before a meal. The bitterness can also help suppress your appetite by limiting the secretion of the hunger hormone (Ghrelin). If you don’t like dark chocolate, hide it in recipes you like, or try different dark chocolates to find one you do like.
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