“How to eat chocolate without piling on the pounds this Easter ”
Easter is once again upon us and for many people it is a time when a little more chocolate than usual is consumed.
Chocolate gives many of us pleasure mainly because it has physiological effects that make it very addictive.
Different types of chocolate provide different health or non-health benefits with one of the ingredients being cocoa, this is a great source of iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc.
Dark chocolate has a high level of cocoa and there is some evidence to show that small amounts may reduce the risk of heart disease. This is because of the presence of flavonoids– a type of plant chemical.
Flavonoids are said to be a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and immune system benefits. Health benefits include better blood sugar control and better insulin sensitivity – which are both indicators of protection from diabetes.
Is one chocolate really better than the other?
Even with this evidence, few neutral studies have been done, and work has only ever been done over the short term.
There is also the issue of the other ingredients apart from cocoa – your average Easter egg is likely to contain more sugar and saturated fat than plain cocoa.
There’s also the fact that there is little or no nutritional benefit to standard milk chocolate. So the only reason to eat it is because it tastes good.
But whether it’s dark, milk or white, if you only binge on it once a year, the type of chocolate is not going to make much difference. What matters most is the rest of your lifestyle – what your diet is like over the rest of the week, and how much you move around and exercise.
What to do this Easter?
Dark chocolate seems to provide several health benefits over milk or white chocolate (High Cocoa levels, flavonoids etc) but if you are only consuming Chocolate at Easter or on the odd occasion, these benefits won’t really come into play.
There have been studies conducted that show the benefits of light exercise when consuming chocolate which showed a much lower spike in blood sugar than those who didn’t.
Stick to your healthy eating around eating Easter eggs, eat dark chocolate for a small health benefit and incorporate light exercise to enjoy your Easter guilt free.