37-year-old Upasna Narang is a mother to two and has a figure that makes her friends — and her 13-year-old daughter’s friends — green with envy. They pester her for diet advice, refusing to believe she eats everything in small portions. When Narang confesses to having chocolate daily, her kitty group reacts with skepticism. A few
even call her a liar.
But Narang isn’t bluffing.
“I eat two to three small pieces of dark chocolate every night. It’s my treat after a long hard day,” says the homemaker, adding that this habit has not led to any weight gain.
What Narang doesn’t realise is that the dark chocolate she relishes may actually be one of the reasons behind her slender form.
Even though chocolate is loaded with calories and therefore condemned by most health experts, scientists have discovered that dark chocolate (one which contains over 70 percent cocoa) aids in weight loss rather than fat synthesis.
We give you five reasons to make dark chocolate your daily go-to dessert:
- Improves metabolism:Dark chocolate is packed with monounsaturated fatty acids or MUFAs, which help step up metabolism so you burn calories faster. A study performed at Queen Margaret University, UK, showed chocolate affects the way our body synthesises fatty acids and reduces the absorption of fats and carbohydrates.
- Prevents insulin spike:The healthy fats in dark chocolate slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream and therefore, prevent the dreaded insulin spike that transports sugar straight into your fat cells. High levels of insulin also stop your body’s fat burning system and make you hungry again.
- Curbs cravings:Researchers at The University of Copenhagen found that dark chocolate eliminates cravings for sweet, salty and fatty foods alike as it gives one a feeling a satiety. Proponents of the “chocolate-friendly” diet claim eating chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after lunch and dinner cuts your appetite by up to 50 percent. Experts say dieters who eat chocolate occasionally are also able to maintain weight loss as they don’t feel deprived.
- Encourages exercise:Chocolate has anti-inflammatory constituents, which when combined with its generous supply of magnesium, may lead to less pain. Exercise appears far more appealing when you feel good. If there is pain after a strenuous session at the gym, munch on an ounce of dark chocolate at night.
- Gives a happy high: Weight loss isn’t the only bonus of eating dark chocolate. Proponents say dark chocolate also gives a “happy high”. Research has found that regular consumers are less stressed, sleep better and have lower blood cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Dark chocolate is also loaded with antioxidants that fight free radicals, which can damage our cells.
But before you reach for that chocolate in your fridge, remember that a 100-gram bar contains a whopping 546 calories. Experts recommend no more than an ounce – 28 grams – of dark chocolate a day!