There’s good news and bad news when it comes to chocolate. The good news is almost all chocolate tastes good and some types of chocolate are actually good for you. The bad news is most people are eating too much chocolate and doing it in the name of health. Although the health benefits of chocolate are widely publicized, more chocolate isn’t always better from a health standpoint. How much chocolate should you eat per day?
How much chocolate should you eat?: Choosing the right chocolate.
First, you have to be sure you’re eating the right kind of chocolate. The health benefits of chocolate have been described for dark chocolate, not milk chocolate and not white chocolate. In fact, the presence of milk in chocolate can offset the positive health effects seen with chocolate consumption by interfering with the absorption of the flavonoids that give chocolate its beneficial health properties.
When selecting dark chocolate, it’s best to choose a bar that has a high percentage of cocoa solids. This is usually printed on the front of the label in the form of a percentage. Compare chocolate bars and look for the highest percentage of cocoa you can find. Now check the label for sugar content. Select a dark chocolate bar that has the lowest sugar content to maximize health benefits. In some cases, you can even find dark chocolate bars with no added sugar. These are ideal although they may not taste as good to you if you’re accustomed to sweet, milk chocolate bars. If possible, buy organic chocolate since it can contain pesticide residues.
How much chocolate should you eat?: Don’t overdo it.
Secondly, you have to consume enough to get the health benefits of dark chocolate without adding too many calories. Chocolate isn’t known for being a low-calorie food. To get the health benefits of dark chocolate, you only have to eat about half of a standard sized candy bar or one or two squares of dark chocolate per day. This isn’t very much and it’s easy to eat too much chocolate once you get started. The best way to prevent the problem of eating too much chocolate is to buy a large dark chocolate bar and partition and break it into squares. Place one to two squares into a baggy and only eat one bag per day.
How much chocolate should you eat?: What are those health benefits?
What kind of health benefits can you expect from eating dark chocolate? Studies have shown that the flavonoids in chocolate may reduce the risk of heart disease and increase insulin sensitivity which can help to maintain more stable blood sugar levels. Not only that, but the nitrous oxide found in cocoa can help to lower blood pressure. All of these wonderful benefits from food that tastes so good. Amazing!
The next time you’re at the grocery store, steer your cart to the chocolate aisle and do some comparisons of dark chocolate bars. These days there’s a variety to choose from. Just make sure you choose one with a high cocoa content and minimal sugar and be sure to watch how much you eat Otherwise, your expanding waistline will remind you that you really can eat too much chocolate!