Nutrition Articles

Chocolate: A Not-So-Guilty Pleasure

A Love Affair with Good Reason

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Researchers believe this has something to do with the fact that chocolate contains flavonoids(compounds that may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer while slowing the aging process) and stearic acid, a heart-friendly fatty acid that doesn’t promote cholesterol increases.

But a University of Pennsylvania study testing so-called chocoholics found that the cravings may not lie in chemistry at all, but the melt-in-your-mouth texture of chocolate. Subjects in the study were found to prefer chocolate bars, even white chocolate bars which didn't actually contain any chocolate at all, over capsules of cocoa powder full of chocolate's active ingredients.

The bottom line: Chocolate may be getting a bad rap as a sinful food. On the other hand—as always—moderation may be the key. If you simply must indulge, here are some tips for controlling your chocolate cravings and consumption:

  • Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate. Studies based on dark chocolate tend to show benefits that milk chocolate does not.
  • Partner your chocolate with nutrient-rich foods, like chocolate covered strawberries, apple slices or bananas. Add a few chocolate chips in your berry-nut trail mix. Try a refreshing glass of chocolate-flavored milk or soymilk.
  • Buy smaller sizes of chocolate bars or hot fudge sundaes, since research shows you tend to eat the entire amount you’re served.
  • Order fruit for dessert, with a small chocolate truffle on the side.
  • Savor, don’t chew, your chocolate. Sit down, take your time, and focus on the taste in your mouth. Enjoy it thoroughly. If you pop it in your mouth while you are driving, watching TV, or talking on the phone, you’re likely to keep reaching for more.
  • Give in to your chocolate cravings! Every try to stifle a craving by eating something else? You usually just end up eating more and more foods, eventually giving in to your original desire anyway. Save yourself the calories and the torment! A small portion may be all you need for satisfaction.
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About The Author

Rebecca Pratt Rebecca Pratt
A freelance writer who contributes to various newspapers and magazines, Becky loves covering ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

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