In addition to being tasty AF, folks love dark chocolate for its potential health perks. Some even claim that it can help you shed some pounds.
Does dark chocolate aid weight loss?
Just eating dark chocolate won’t directly help you shed pounds. But, dark chocolate does offer health benefits like:
- regulating insulin
- curbing snacking
- boosting mood
- adding antioxidants and minerals
On the flip side, dark chocolate is also high in calories, fat, and sugar.
Here’s what the science says.
Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants, especially flavonoids, according to a 2011 research review. Here’s a deep dive into the yummy benefits.
Hangry? Improve insulin function
Tired of feeling hangry? Low blood sugar can provoke symptoms like increased hunger and mood swings. The cacao in chocolate might help balance your blood sugar levels.
A research review found that dark chocolate could boost your bod’s sensitivity to insulin (aka your hormone that transports sugar through your bloodstream and into cells). This might help you lose weight.
Lower insulin levels are also linked to increased weight loss and decreased fat storage. A study found that, when combined with diet modification, dark chocolate may help improve blood sugar control in folks with diabetes compared to diet modification alone.
Got the munchies? Curb snacking
A balanced diet is the best way to stay satiated. (And to keep your hands outta the cookie jar!) But noshing on a bit of dark chocolate might help too.
In a small study of 14 people experiencing postmenopause, participants ate less food later on after eating dark chocolate compared to when they ate white or milk chocolate.
While more research is def needed to link dark chocolate and appetite suppression, it might be a healthier sweet to eat than other crave-able treats.
Feeling blue? Boost your mood
Whether you’re going through a breakup or drowning in work, sometimes you need a pick-me-up. Studies show that eating chocolate — especially dark chocolate — might make you feel better.
According to a study of over 13,000 people, those who ate higher quantities of dark chocolate had 57 percent lower odds of experiencing depressive symptoms compared to people who did not eat chocolate.
In a 2014 study, researchers found that consuming 40 grams of dark and milk chocolate on the daily for 2 weeks reduced stress in students. Another 2013 study of 72 adults found that having a dark chocolate drink for 30 days increased feelings of calmness.
Need an antioxidant boost? Get some extra minerals too
Dark chocolate is a good source of antioxidants, iron, copper, magnesium, zinc, phosphorous and flavanols, according to Harvard University’s School of Public Health.
Additionally, the beneficial compounds found in chocolate and other cocoa products like flavanols may help your heart and give your immune system a boost.
But! Even though dark chocolate does contain some important nutrients, it’s best to balance dark chocolate with other healthy snacks.
For example, add some dark chocolate or cacao nibs to a homemade trail mix of nuts, seeds, and dried cherries for a balanced, nutrient-dense snack.
Dark chocolate is a superfood that has lots of health benefits. But it’s def not a cure-all or the best way to lose weight. Here’s why.
High in calories and fat
PSA: Sweetened dark chocolate is still a dessert. Although it might have some added health benefits over other foods, it’s def not giving carrots a run for their money. A 1 ounce serving of dark chocolate has about 155 calories and 9 grams of fat.
On the other hand, unsweetened cocoa products like cacao powder and cacao nibs are lower in calories, contain no added sugar, and are packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health, healthy adults should consume about 20 to 35 percent of their daily calories from fat.
Pour some sugar on me
Most dark chocolate has beaucoup added sweet stuff. According to one study, eating too much sugar can lead to chronic health concerns like liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes. (Sorry Team Sweet Tooth.)
On average, vagina owners shouldn’t consume more than 25 grams of added sugar per day and penis owners shouldn’t have more than 36 grams, according to the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association also reports that a standard dark chocolate bar with 70 to 85 percent cacao has about 600 calories and 24 grams of sugar.
Too much of any sweet, high calorie food can lead to weight gain and other health concerns. So, if you’re trying to manage your weight, sticking to 1 ounce of dark chocolate a day prob offers the best benefits.
Pro tip: Opt for dark chocolate that has less than 24 grams of sugar. Also, be on the lookout for brands that boast 70 percent dark cacao content.
Even though high quality dark chocolate is healthier than your average chocolate bar, it’s not a good idea to add dark chocolate to your diet specifically to boost weight loss.
It’s true that dark chocolate can provide health benefits and can be enjoyed on any dietary pattern, including those supportive of weight management.
However, there’s no evidence that adding a ton of dark chocolate to your diet will help you lose weight. Instead of using dark chocolate for its possible effects on weight loss, add a bit of dark chocolate to your day for its delicious taste and its other potential health benefits.
But hey, life is short and chocolate is delicious. If you want to get your mocha choca latte ya ya on, more power to you! Just don’t expect weight loss benefits to follow.