Did you know that a serving of dark chocolate has less sugar than a 4 oz. organic baby yogurt? Yes, you heard me right. I’m not saying you shouldn’t give your kids yogurt because of the sugar content. But it sure puts chocolate in perspective, doesn’t it.
When we eliminate food, the message we are really sending to ourselves is that it’s ‘BAD’, which has a negative impact, not the least of which is sucking all the joy right out of life.There is some well supported evidence out there that chocolate is good for you in more ways than one. Regular and moderate consumption (emphasis on ‘moderate’) of chocolate is associated with:
- Improved blood pressure
- Healthier cholesterol levels
- Lower BMI
Why It’s Not A Good Idea To Demonize Food
Science shows us that those who restrict food are more likely to binge, and restricting a particular food makes it more likely that you’ll overindulge when you do eat it. Which leads to increased feelings of guilt. So not eating chocolate could translate into eating larger amounts at some point, feeling really really bad about it (and yourself), and giving up the idea of ‘healthy eating’ entirely because it’s just too hard. Sound familiar?
Break The Cycle Of Restriction and Over-Compensation
It’s my distinct pleasure to be the bearer of such wonderful news that you can, and in fact, should eat chocolate on a regular basis. But here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to chocolate consumption.
Guidelines For A Happy Chocolate-Filled Life
Stick With Dark: Several chocolate terms fall under the dark chocolate category. Because little regulation exists in the US regarding ratios of ingredients (ie cocoa solids, sugar, etc.), it’s hard to know exactly what dark, bittersweet, or semi-sweet really mean. This article about dark chocolate from Cooks Illustrated clears things up (sort of). The take home message is, chocolate with around 60% cacao is the dark chocolate that has the most favorable taste.
Eat A Reasonable Portion: Whether you weigh it in grams on a scale, or count a number of rectangles, or visualize a 2 inch square, stay aware of how much you’re eating.
Savor It: How slowly can you eat your chocolate? It’s a big challenge. One that I often fail, but always strive to meet. Can you let it melt? If you’re going to eat great food, don’t do it as quickly as you possibly can, looking over your shoulder. Eat it in plain sight with your family and revel in it.
Eat A Small Amount Every Day: Maybe that sounds like the craziest thing you’ve ever heard, but imagine what life would be like with chocolate as a regular visitor instead of an unreachable dream…I believe the word is bliss.