Chocolate Diet Connected with Lower BMI

Posted by Chocolatier Jason Vishnefske on 27th Apr 2017

Dark Chocolate Diet Has a Connection with Lower Body Mass Index (BMI)

The lifestyle we lead is quite different to the lifestyle our grandparents led 100 years ago. Our grandparents walked a lot more then we do. Entertainment back in the day was mopping the floor and dancing. Today we stick to screens of smartphones and tablets to catch the latest shows and social networking sites. Food a 100 years ago was more natural and with an organic twist. These basic differences between then and now can sometimes equate to a less then healthy lifestyle today because we aren't as likely underfed and we just simply aren't burning as many calories.

czech chocolate family

This is my family in Prague. The little girl on the far left is my great grandmother Bessie who started the chocolate business in Europe as a baker using cocoa and unsweetened chocolate. In fact our unsweetened chocolate recipe linked below is based on the original Czech chocolate version my great grandma used: 

Unsweetened chocolate

Okay reality, we aren't bringing the old era back (I don't want to walk uphill 5 miles in the rain to grab milk and bake bread every morning at 4:30), but we certainly can become more active and enjoy healthier eating. 

You and I are similar - we LOVE chocolate. So because of our shared interest I thought I should tell you some of my views as chocolatier and the chocolate diet related to weight loss and the research behind it. 

You can have chocolate... provided that it’s a high quality organic dark chocolate.  Being a chocolatier for Santa Barbara Chocolate I get to eat lots of our bulk organic chocolate, and I can assure you it is some of the best. So please read on...

100 chocolate in bulk

Image source: https://www.santabarbarachocolate.com/100-pure-ca...

Dark chocolate has antioxidants and can offer benefits. Recent scientific findings have confirmed that dark chocolate helps in lowering blood pressure and fights depression but it also may help in reducing the BMI.

What is Body Mass Index (BMI) and why it should be within a range?

In simple terms, Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of relative size based on the mass and height of an individual. It’s basically simple, inexpensive and noninvasive way to measure body fat to determine whether a person is underweight, healthy or overweight (I take it with a grain of salt cause I'm big boned or at least I hope so). 

The higher the BMI, the more body fat (or big bones) and the lower the BMI, the lesser is the presumed amount of body fat and small bones. You can easily check your BMI through a BMI calculator which you can search and find online. I say look in the mirror though - you can tell.

BMI is used to define different weight groups in adults who are 20 years old and older. The following are the BMI calculations:

  • Underweight: BMI is less than 18.5
  • Normal weight: BMI is 18.5 to 24.9
  • Overweight: BMI is 25+

Higher BMI means that you may be prone to various issues linked to being overweight such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes etc. So it’s important to ensure that you maintain your BMI as close to the optimum range.

Link between lower BMI and dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is ground up cocoa beans typically with added sugar. Cocoa beans contain a combination of cocoa butter fats, carbohydrate, protein, polyphenols and essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium and manganese.

Image source: http://www.builtlean.com/2012/04/12/raw-chocolate...

Dark chocolate has the antioxidant phytonutrients like catechins that are linked to various health benefits. Studies have proven that a moderate and regular intake of chocolate may lower blood pressure & cardiovascular risk,and improve cholesterol as well as insulin regulation. The antioxidant and other compounds present in dark chocolate may deliver a metabolic boost that can contribute to lowering the BMI.

A research study was conducted on a 1,000+ people to find out the results of chocolate on metabolism. It was found that consumption of chocolate was likely linked to lowering BMI. It seems dark chocolate boosts metabolism and could lower BMI (please see links below for the full research quantification). There have been other studies that support the link of chocolate lowering BMI. Studies have been carried out on this subject by several health research facilities all over the world (please see references below).

In Spain, researchers from the University of Granada conducted a study to see the influence of chocolate in adolescence. It was concluded that in moderate quantities, chocolate is actually good for the control and maintenance of optimal weight. The result of the Spanish study was echoed by the cross-sectional study conducted by the researchers at University of California San Diego in 2012. The research was performed on 1000 adults between the ages of 20 to 85 years. They ate chocolate twice a week and exercised an average of 3.6 times per week. According to the study author Beatrice Golomb, associate professor of medicine at the University of California: "Our findings appear to add to a body of information suggesting that the composition of calories, not just the number of them, matters for determining their ultimate impact on weight. In the case of chocolate, this is good news —both for those who have a regular chocolate habit and those who may wish to start one."

What led Dr. Golomb to carry out the research on chocolate and the possible link to lowering BMI was her familiarity with polyphenols which are antioxidants found in dark chocolate. Interestingly, dark chocolate can be linked to increased muscular performance, lean muscle mass and reducing weight without changes in calorie consumption or exercise levels. (I did my own research on why this is and it is related to the arginine content and nitric oxide production chocolate does in your body). Dr. Golomb cautioned the readers in her research study that eating large amounts of chocolate is not beneficial because according to her finding, it is the chocolate consumption frequency that is associated with lower BMI not the amount of chocolate consumed. Although I'd like to add I eat about 1pound of chocolate everyday - literally.

This is me - your chocolatier author Jason. :) See I'm smiling because I'm on the chocolate diet.

Amount of Chocolate in a Chocolate Diet that is good for weight loss

So how much chocolate is good for you and can help you lose weight? According to Psychiatric Times, the recommended ‘dose’ of dark chocolate that should be taken regularly in order to boost metabolism should be about an ounce of dark chocolate three times a week. That translates to around 100 of our chocolate coins a week. Yep 100 I said.

Losing weight requires maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, the right amount of extra dark chocolate can give you an extra boost to reach your weight loss goals.

In the Cocoa Pod

To sum it up, chocolate can be part of a healthy diet. Not all chocolates are created equal, especially when it comes to offering health benefits. I recommend lower sugar, higher cocoa fiber. 

Try the Santa Barbara 100% pure cacao organic unsweetened dark chocolate, it’s one of the best organic dark chocolates out there with great reviews (I love it and can say for me it is an important part of my lifestyle). GMO and gluten free with a zero sweet robust tasting experience it requires some getting used to, but eat it in moderation. Try a chocolate coin and let it melt on your tongue. Extra Dark and with cocoa fiber, this is the type of chocolate the research says will boost your metabolism.

References and Source material links: