“Life is like a box of chocolate. You can’t just stop at one.”
These famous (and important) words from Forrest Gump don’t just have a philosophical meaning to them, but they also comes with an important health advice.
I’m here to tell you the opposite of what health blogs and magazines will say; I’m here to say that chocolate can help you lose weight, while making you happy and joyous about life too.
First things first, cacao, cocoa and chocolate are three very different things. Let me explain.
Cacao, Cocoa and chocolate
Cacao is produced from the beans that grow from a cacao tree, known under the scientific name Theobroma cacao. The beans are cold-pressed in order to preserve nutrients and living enzymes and produce an antioxidant-rich raw powder commonly used in baking and raw food treats.
Cocoa is highly processed and a commercial chocolate that contains low levels of cacao and is full of dairy, sugar, hydrogenated oils and artificial flavourings. Studies have shown that dairy blocks the absorption of antioxidants in chocolate and heat destroys the nutritional value. The potential health benefits are therefore negated unless you choose cacao in its purest form.
Chocolate is made from cocoa and other ingredients, mainly sugar, oils, flavourings and preservatives.
So how does it help me lose weight?
Raw cacao contains antioxidants and chemicals that accelerate the metabolic system and release a hormone called Phenylethylamine in the body that make us feel like we’ve fallen in love.
If you have time in your hands, make chocolate at home using a good quality raw cacao. Cacao is sugar free, dairy fee and high in our craving buster, magnesium. The natural fats offer blood sugar regulation and satiety, and portion control becomes easier.
In addition, cacao is high in vitamin B and amino acids such as tryptophan, which is used to produce serotonin, a neurotransmitter important for improving mood and sleep and for suppressing appetite.
Cacao also contains phenylethylamine, an adrenal chemical that acts as an anti-depressant and increases focus, alertness and positive mood.
But if you’re buying chocolate, choose dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa) and a brand like Loving Earth, Pana Chocolate or Bare Blends that uses more natural ingredients.
Do you have an at-home chocolate recipe that you want to share?