When you're on your weight loss journey, it can sometimes be difficult to focus on eating solely healthy foods. However, just because you're watching what you eat, does not mean that you can't enjoy a small indulgence now and then. Chocolate, in particular, is a delectable sweet treat that you can enjoy in moderation—even when you're trying to lose weight.
There are various types to choose from, so when deciding on which will coincide with your weight loss efforts, how do you know which chocolate to choose from? Well, according to Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim, a nutritionist in private practice, and a member of our Medical Expert Board, the #1 best chocolate to eat for weight loss is your favorite type!
"The best chocolate to eat for weight loss is the one you most enjoy," says Dr. Young.
This doesn't mean that all chocolates are healthy. Dr. Young believes that the dark variety is the healthiest as far as chocolates go. This is because dark chocolate contains the highest levels of antioxidants, including polyphenols, flavonols, and catechins, out of all types of chocolate. These antioxidants may help protect the cells in your body against free radicals that can lead to heart disease and cancer. They may also reduce inflammation and regulate blood pressure.
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However, for sustainable weight loss, Dr. Young advises treats to her clients and recommends that they pick something they love.
Treating yourself to your favorite foods actually may help aid in weight loss. This is because you are not depriving yourself of what you love, which otherwise may lead to quitting your diet or binge-eating unhealthy foods. Instead, you are focusing more on portion control and becoming more conscious of what you're eating.
In fact, according to the Mayo Clinic, it is possible to eat your favorite foods and still lose weight. Aside from portioning out your snack, the clinic recommends savoring the flavor. Many times, especially when we're hungry, we tend to inhale our food. The food is quickly gone, and not only did you not eat it slow enough to feel satisfied, but you also didn't taste the food.
Instead, try eating your chocolate slowly. The Mayo Clinic suggests sitting down with your chocolate and taking one small bite at a time. Then, keep each bite in your mouth for a few moments before swallowing. Lastly, notice the rich flavors, creamy textures, and overall sweetness. This allows you to actually enjoy what you're eating. Being mindful is going to help you slow down and not overindulge.
"So, pick the chocolate that gives you the most pleasure and stick with no more than a 1-ounce portion to help keep your calories in check," advises Dr. Young.