Scientists in the British Medical Journal December 2004 examined all current research into food and health. They wanted to investigate what foods would significantly reduce cardiovascular disease (biggest killer in the world). The ingredients of the meal they produced included many of the foods you would consider healthy but also on the list was chocolate!
Chocolate is full of flavonoids and trace minerals which all have a positive effect on the body. Flavonoids are an antioxidant and help protect the body from environmental toxins. The specific flavonoid in chocolate is called flavanols which is known to have various other benefits. Flavanols prevent ‘bad’ fats from clogging up your arteries and help control blood pressure. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that blood pressure and insulin sensitivity could be control in healthy people when consuming a certain amount of chocolate.
Chocolate also contains the trace mineral magnesium. Magnesium is responsible for more than 300 chemical reactions in the body and is a common deficiency.
However, the catch is, not all chocolate produces similar effects. The health benefits only come from dark chocolate with greater that 60% real cocoa, because anything less has too much sugar. Too much sugar at one time causes an insulin spike which leads to increased fat storage.
Milk chocolate or white chocolate doesn’t have high level of flavanols and milk blocks the absorption of antioxidants. Also when choosing your chocolate you should avoid brands that use high-fructose corn syrup as it has been linked to obesity (REF). Additionally, you should consider keeping it organic as some non-organic chocolate can have over 200 different synthetic chemical.
For my weight loss clients i recommend keeping the amount consumed down to 50 grams per day and to use a grater to finely shave the chocolate. This allows more flavor to be release and slows down the eating, leaving you more satisfied.