If you feel guilty about eating chocolate, are a self-confessed chocaholic or struggle with food cravings, this post is for you. I’m a Nutritionist that says YOU CAN eat some chocolate.
Cocoa Flavanols, some of the active components found in dark chocolate have benefits for human health. To the tantalising delight of chocolate lovers everywhere, a number of recent studies employing various methods have suggested that these flavanols could benefit cardiovascular health.
In this post we discuss the benefits of Cocoa and why my clients are still smiling after a consultation.
So many C’s and O’s and A’s… what’s the difference?
COCOA is the bean. (Cocoa beans)
Raw CACAO Powder is the cold-pressed, Unroasted beans. High Enzyme content remains.
COCOA Powder is the raw cacao powder Roasted at high temperatures, which changes the molecular structure and depletes the enzyme content and therefore nutrient value.
Got it?….. Phew!
The difference between Cocoa & Raw Cacao is the manufacturing process.
The bottom line is, the closer to Raw Cacao, the better.
This is the raw product, before the manufacturing process strips away the all important flavanols.
So let’s dive right into the juicy proof & research findings!
A systematic review and meta-analysis of 19 randomised controlled trials (RCTs) of cocoa consumption reveals some further pieces of supporting evidence and was published in the Journal of Nutrition.
The assessment of all the evidence from 19 RCTs, focused on whether consumption of flavanol-rich cocoa products was associated with improvements in specific cardiovascular health when compared to consuming placebos with negligible cocoa flavanol content. In all, 1,139 volunteers were involved in these trials (lucky them!).
In short they found that cocoa flavanol intake may reduce elevated triglycerides, insulin resistance and systemic inflammation, which as you know are all major risk factors for cardiovascular diseases.
As with all studies and meta-analysis – there were some limitations to this data such as smallish studies, varying flavanol content and varied outcome targets, let alone different eating rates.
The nitty-gritty: Official results
But after accounting for these elements, or at least accounting for them as best one can, a target volume of intake was suggested: 200 – 600mg of flavanol intake per day is able to improve cholesterol ratios and modify blood sugar (glucose) and insulin output. This is flavanol intake, not chocolate intake.
There appeared to be no difference in benefit for men or women, and how it was consumed also raised no variances, simply that dark chocolate is the source.
My tip for you is
Enjoy moderate portions of chocolate e.g., 1 ounce/30gms of 75% cocoa or even 80% a few times per week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonol-rich foods like apples, red wine, tea, onions and cranberries. (sorry that milk chocolate bar or slab just doesn’t cut it)
Here are the Secrets to a Guilt-Free Chocolate Affair!
- Clear in black and white – Buy products that state they contain Raw Cacao on the labelling & packaging.
- Leave Milk Chocolate Alone – Milk chocolate is muddied with milk solids, fats and sugar. Go for more pure, clean chocolate products that say they contain Raw Cacao.
- Aim for 75 and higher – This is the sweet spot for the research (75% cacao) , but you’ll be getting 100% of the goodness for sure.
- Its about purity – Whether you compare it to fuel for your car or clarity of a wine, the cleaner the cacao and less processed it is , the more health benefits.
- You get what you pay for – A big trick of supermarkets is to put chocolate on sale, but often it is the cheap, highly processed types, full of sugar and nasties.
Splurge! Invest in yourself, pay more for your chocolate but know you’re getting the Mercedes version of Chocolate loaded with goodness and health benefits, rather than the Lemon.
For more information about food cravings or making changes in your eating habits, speak to Linda about how seeing a Nutritionist can help you. Call the clinic on 9938 1090 or you can book online by clicking here.
FREE Event on November 10th at 10am on the Northern Beaches – Weightloss Detectives: Are your food cravings driving you crazy? Find out about how gene testing and nutrition can help you. Presented by Linda Funnell-Milner & Elvira Zilliacus. Book online by clicking here.