The Thirty Day No Junk Food Challenge | Day Five: Mashed Veges and Chocolate

I thought I'd have given up by day five, but I hadn't. In fact, instead of sneaking sweet treats I found myself delving deeper into the mysteries of nutrition. I read the book 'Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It' by Gary Taubes, I'll write more about the specifics of that book another day, but long story short I started to find ways to cut more than just sugary treats from my diet, but carbs too.

Lunch became a carrot and cauliflower mash, which was surprisingly tasty. Here's how you make it:

  • Cut up carrots.
  • Cut up cauliflower.
  • Boil! Boil! Boil!
  • Drain.
  • Add a little butter and salt (pepper to taste.)
  • Mash. Mash. Mash.
  • Serve!

It was surprisingly tasty and contained almost no carbs or sugars either (carbs essentially are sugars, just complex sugars. The body breaks them down into sugar once you eat them though, so in some respects and from some perspectives you could argue that there's not a whole lot of difference between eating a bunch of carbs and eating a bunch of sugars.

Candy wise I was ingesting nothing but very dark chocolate in relatively small quantities. I've picked a 78% cocoa blend, which is actually pretty high in calories and saturated fat, but low in sugar. Or at least I thought so until I paid serious attention to the numbers. You want specifics? I have specifics for you!

Per 100 grams:

2320 Kj

Protein 10.7 grams

Fat (total) 8.6 grams.

Fat (saturated) 5.4 grams.

Carbohydrates 51 grams.

Sugars 33.3 grams.

So basically, even the very darkest chocolate is still 50% carbohydrates, 33.3% of which are sugar.

A 62% cocoa blend is even worse, being 60% carbohydrates, of which 41.7% are sugar.

But wait, there may be a way to salvage the situation. A 62% blend with almond nuts is only 45.6% carbohydrates and 32.4% sugars. You get a less bitter tasting chocolate that has fewer carbs and less sugar. Win / Win. The only possible cloud on the candy horizon is that you'll eat a lot more of the almond nut chocolate because it's super tasty and not quite so off putting and bitter as a straight 72% blend.

As a final benchmark, we'll look at some creamy milk chocolate, which is 51% carbohydrates, of which 44.7% are sugars. The relatively low carb count is made up with fat, this block is 35% fat, compared to dark chocolate, which is just 8.6% fat. Still, that might not be of concern to those looking to cut carbs, not fat.

The moral of the story is that one should look before one leaps with regards to choosing sweet snacks. A high cocoa content doesn't necessarily mean a low sugar content. Also, nut and chocolate blends can be rewarding without being super sugary.

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