Dark chocolate for weight loss, does it help?

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Dark chocolate for weight loss, does it help?

Thanks to the beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, flavanols and catechins that dark chocolate contains, it is often labeled as a healthy food. (1)

In fact, it has been linked to a number of health benefits, including improved heart health, reduced inflammation, and improved brain function. ( 2 )

Due to its superfood status, many also wonder if dark chocolate can help with weight loss.

This article takes a closer look at the research to see if dark chocolate can help with weight loss.

Potential benefits

Dark chocolate can offer many benefits when it comes to weight loss.

Improves insulin sensitivity

Some research suggests that dark chocolate can help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for moving sugar from the blood into the cells. ( 3 )

This can help reduce insulin levels in the blood, which can be associated with increased weight loss and reduced fat storage. (4) (5) (6)

Although more research is needed, some small studies have also shown that dark chocolate may help improve blood sugar control. (7) (8)

This can help prevent spikes and drops in blood sugar levels, which can cause symptoms such as increased hunger. (9)

Reduces hunger and appetite

Studies show that dark chocolate can reduce appetite and promote satiety, which can help with weight loss.

In one study in 12 women, sniffing and eating dark chocolate reduced appetite and lowered levels of ghrelin, a hormone that stimulates hunger. ( 10 )

Another smaller study in 16 people compared the effects of milk and dark chocolate and found that participants felt less hungry and more full and satisfied after eating dark chocolate. ( 11 )

In addition, they also consumed 17% fewer calories at their next meal than participants who ate milk chocolate.

Similarly, a study in 14 postmenopausal women found that eating dark chocolate resulted in a greater reduction in food intake compared to eating white and milk chocolate. ( 12 )

However, more research is needed to assess how dark chocolate may affect appetite and food intake compared to other foods.

Improves mood

Many studies have shown that dark chocolate can have a positive effect on mental health and mood, which can make you feel your best, which helps with weight loss. ( 13 )

According to one study involving 13,626 people, those who consumed large amounts of dark chocolate were 57% less likely to have symptoms of depression than those who did not consume dark chocolate regularly. ( 14 )

In another small study, eating 40 grams of dark chocolate daily reduced stress levels in women. ( 15 )

What’s more, a study in 72 adults found that consuming a dark chocolate drink for 30 days resulted in increased self-reported feelings of calmness and satisfaction compared to a placebo. ( 16 )

More research is needed to determine whether dark chocolate’s potential mood-enhancing benefits may be helpful in weight loss.

Possible weaknesses

While dark chocolate may offer some potential weight loss benefits, there are some downsides to consider.

First, dark chocolate is relatively high in fat and calories.

In fact, a 30-gram serving of dark chocolate contains 155 calories and almost 9 grams of fat. ( 17 )

Depending on the specific brand and product, a serving can contain half to a third of the calories in a standard bar of chocolate.

Some types of dark chocolate also contain large amounts of added sugar, which can be harmful to health.

In addition to increasing the number of calories in the product, added sugar can contribute to chronic health conditions such as liver disease, heart disease, and diabetes. ( 18 )

Although dark chocolate can probably fit into your weight loss diet, it’s important to stick to high-quality varieties and avoid large amounts.

For best results, stick to around 30g and choose a product with low added sugar and at least 70% cocoa.

Conclusion

Dark chocolate may aid in weight loss through several mechanisms, such as improving insulin sensitivity, reducing hunger and appetite, and improving mood.

However, it is important to note that dark chocolate is also high in calories and fat, and many varieties contain large amounts of added sugar.

Therefore, it is best to choose quality products with little added sugar and at least 70% cocoa and consume them in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Fortunately, dark chocolate can be purchased in individually wrapped bite-sized pieces, which can help with portion control.