My friend Steve went on a "chocolate diet" and lost 20 pounds. True, he added other foods and green tea, but he says the chocolate raised his energy level and helped him lose 20 pounds. Here's a more scientific look at chocolate as a diet food.
Dr. Hiroshige Itakura of Ibaraki Christian University says that eating chocolate can help you lose weight, but only under certain conditions.
1. The chocolate has to have a cacao content of at least 70%, and something in the 90% would be better.
2. You can eat no more than 1.8 ounces (about 300 calories) a day of chocolate and that needs to be offset by giving up equivalent calories in a daily meal plan.
3. The intake of the chocolate should be spread out and consumed during or before each of the three meals.
4. Following these guidelines daily for a month could lead to a loss of 4-6 pounds.
The greater the cacao content, the more effective its weight loss effects are.
Here’s how he believes the science works:
Cacao contains a polyphenol that absorbs glucose and burns fat.
Cacao combats the oxidization of cholesterol and thus works to prevent the hardening of the arteries.
The theobromine in cacao, that provides the bitter flavor, also has relaxing quantities (seratonin reuptake inhibitors) that can combat stress, a major cause of overeating. Chocolate has plenty of vitamins and minerals--it contains substantial amounts of A, B-complex, D and E and minerals calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc. The % RDA per 100g of chocolate will vary based on cacao content. Cacao also contains properties that fight harmful bacteria.
Dr. Itakura’s research on the topic first appeared in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology in 2000. If you’d like to try the diet, Itakura advises that the most effective way to eat chocolate is to let it melt in your mouth because it takes longer to consume and that will make the stomach feel full. Makes sense to me.
But... you can't have your cake and eat it, too, when dieting. The diet is for more or less pure chocolate. Sugar and milk additives decrease the effectiveness of weight loss. Put away the chocolate cake and brownie recipes during your dieting period.