Whether you are pregnant and having wicked cravings, are postpartum and want to shed some baby weight, or just want to be in better health in general; there is new research that shows a food that used to be considered a diet foe may actually have beneficial components that “outweigh” the negatives of calories and saturated fat.
If you have been pregnant and didn’t crave chocolate, I would be shocked. I wanted sugar in every form, but a chocolate bar was heaven. I ate chocolate in moderation during my pregnancy for two reasons: one is that chocolate does contain caffeine, and I was trying to keep my intake of that substance to a minimum, but I also didn’t want to put on more weight.
Well, a new study published in March, in The Archives of Internal Medicine
, reveals the results of the effects of chocolate on the Body Mass Index (or BMI.) One thousand participants, whose ages ranged from 20 to 85 years, filled out detailed food questionnaires about their eating habits. Even though the participants who ate more chocolate (twice a week, on average) consumed more saturated fats from the chocolate, they had lower BMIs. Their eating habits did not differ from the others in the study in any other significant way other than the chocolate, and they all worked out approximately the same amount.
Not only does chocolate appear to have a direct relationship to lower BMI, it also may have other positive metabolic effects, having a hand in improving heart condition, cholesterol, glucose levels, and blood pressure. The most beneficial type of chocolate is dark chocolate; which is rich in antioxidants, which may play a part in reducing inflammation, helping with heart disease, and helping regulate hormones that are in control of weight loss.
Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University's Prevention Research Center said, "Dark chocolate, specifically if it's bittersweet -- if it's that that 60 percent or higher threshold -- is really rich in fiber, and it's filling. It can be intensely satisfying to eat, and often what we're looking for with food is satisfaction."
So, if you are going to reach for something sugary, why not make it something that satisfies your sweet tooth and may actually do your body good.
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