Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dark Chocolate is Good For You…


…and it can fit into your LCHF lifestyle.  Surprise!


I admit that I am a chocolate fanatic.  Always have been and always will be.  When I restarted strict LCHF in early August, I made some promises to myself.  One of those promises was that I would find a way to make regular, decadent chocolate consumption compatible with LCHF. 


Guess what I found out?  30-40 grams of dark chocolate, eaten every day, is ridiculously good for you.  Plus, if you are choosy with your chocolate, you can easily find bars that contain 30-40 gram servings containing 10 or fewer grams of net carbs. 

Let's discuss, shall we?


How Can Dark Chocolate Possibly Be a Healthy Part of my Diet?

Let me count the ways…

First: Chocolate Contains Epicatechin, Which Is Protective Against Disease 

According to Norman Hollenberg, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, epicatechin could potentially get rid of 4 of the 5 most common diseases in the western world, including stroke, heart failure, cancer and diabetes, and should perhaps be considered a vitamin.  This is based on observational studies of the Kuna people of Panama, who consume significant quantities of natural cocoa on a regular basis, and have a very low incidence of the foregoing diseases.  In the same article, nutrition expert, Daniel Fabricant, suggested that further studies may show that these diseases are the result of epicatechin deficiency.
Here are some more articles about epicatechin that I pulled up.  Check it out for yourself: here, herehere, and here.  (Note: the last link has a number of journal articles referenced).

 Second:  Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Taubert's team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure -- on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.
Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.
Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.

Third: Chocolate Contains Important Plant Polyphenols, Which Support Cardiovascular Health

Why are people with risk factors for heart disease sometimes told to take a baby aspirin every day? The reason is that aspirin thins the blood and reduces the likelihood of clots forming (clots play a key role in many heart attacks and strokes). Research performed at the department of nutrition at the University of California, Davis, found that chocolate thins the blood and performs the same anti-clotting activity as aspirin. "Our work supports the concept that the chronic consumption of cocoa may be associated with improved cardiovascular health," said UC Davis researcher Carl Keen.
How much chocolate would you have to eat to obtain these benefits? Less than you might think. According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, adding only half an ounce of dark chocolate to an average American diet is enough to increase total antioxidant capacity 4 percent, and lessen oxidation of LDL cholesterol.


Fourth: Chocolate Contains Stearic Acid

The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids.

It Works With Your LCHF Lifestyle!

I am n=1 proof of it. 


For the past 6 weeks, I have enjoyed weight loss success, been in ketosis, all the while enjoying 30 grams of dark chocolate each and every day.  In particular, I usually eat 1 serving, daily, of IKEA 60% dark chocolate.  I will occasionally use Callebaut dark 55-65% cocoa in recipes (here and here)

You can do this, too.  Go ahead and give it a try.  Just be CHOOSY with your chocolates and only eat 1 (~10 gram net carb) serving per day! 

TIPS:
  1. The general rule is this: don't go sucking down anything labeled "Dark Chocolate" – take a look at the label and see how many carbohydrates are contained in one serving. 
  2. Also, stay away from most common brands, including Hersheys, Dove, Cadbury's, etc., as they usually have twice the sugar of IKEA, Lindt and Callebaut;
  3. Don't eat any chocolate with high fructose corn syrup in it – that stuff is bad for you;
  4. Avoid "low carb" chocolates containing the faux sugar maltitol, as this can produce a sugar-like insulin reaction in your body.
  5. Use your glucometer to check your blood glucose reaction to either 1 serving of straight dark chocolate, or one of the above chocolate recipes.  Check your ketones and see what happens. 



5 comments:

  1. I love your new layout. Very snazzy!

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