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Dark Chocolate Helps to Fight Hunger

Updated on November 19, 2011

Fight Hunger With Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate has many health benefits, including the ability to help you feel fuller. Recently, researchers in Copenhagen found that people who ate dark chocolate had fewer cravings afterwards. Milk chocolate does not offer the same benefit.

The research done at the Faculty of Life Sciences (LIFE), University of Copenhagen, showed that dark chocolate lessens our craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods.

Why Does it WorK?

One of the reasons given is that the bitter taste of dark chocolate seems to help the body regulate the appetite. Another reason is that the cocoa butter in chocolate has stearic acid which can help slow digestion and make the stomach stay full longer.

The cocoa butter in chocolate is high in saturated fat, however, one-third of the chocolate's fat comes from the stearic acid. Although stearic acid is a saturated fat, it does not raise LDL cholesterol (known as the bad cholesterol) as do most other fats. Stearic acid is then converted in the liver to oleic acid, which is a heart healthy, monounsaturated fat. Oleic acid makes up one-third of the total fat.

Only Dark Chocolate

The darker the chocolate the better. Dark chocolates contain 70 percent cocoa butter, which is what provides the stearic acid. Most of the milk chocolate candy bars that we regulary eat contain only 20 percent cocoa butter. Look for a label that says the chocolate has at least 60 percent pure cocoa - some manufacturers label it 'bittersweet.' The higher the percentage of pure cocoa, the less sugar.

If you are shopping for cocoa, instead of bar chocolate, then the label should only say 'cocoa.' Many of the hot chocolate, or hot cocoa packaged products that we buy in the supermarket are filled with additives such as partially hydrogenated oil, high fructose corn syrup, and many artificial ingredients. It is better to buy pure cocoa, then add your own sugar and milk (or soy milk or rice milk, etc.).

While dark chocolate has many benefits, such as heart healthy antioxidants, it should be eaten in moderation. Two bites are the equivalent of about 50 calories. However, I do find two bites of dark chocolate to be more than enough to satisfy me. It is the milk chocolate that I can eat so quickly that I am left wondering what happened to the rest of it. It's gone of course.

The report from LIFE suggested dark chocolate as ideal because it provided healthier fatty acids and many antioxidants. The research was revealed prior to Christmas to encourage people to have a bit of dark chocolate so as not to overeat during the hoidays.

For quality dark chocolate consider fair trade chocolate. Look for the Fair Trade Certified label which is certified by TransFair USA. The label ensures that the workers who harvest and process the beans are paid a living wage and are protected from harmful pesticides.

Also consider dark chocolate with the USDA organic label.

When I lived in S. Korea, dark chocolate was the standard. Some of it was labeled 'black chocolate.' If you live anywhere near a Korean supermarket, you will find very high quality bar chocolate at good prices. At no time did I see a label that had high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, or artificial ingredients. But read the label. Ingredients that aren't allowed in S. Korean may be allowed here.

Enjoy your two bites of dark chocolate!

dark chocolate

just enough chocolate
just enough chocolate

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