Chocolate Diet Fact and Fiction

Chocolate: Is it a bad food for athletes, an addictive drug, and the instigator of dietary disasters? Or is it a health food, dieter's weight -loss aid, and effective recovery food for tired, hungry athletes?

I vote for the later. Personally and professionally, I like to think of chocolate (in moderation, of course) as one of life's pleasures.

More: 7 Ways to Eat Smart and Lose Weight

Here is some research that might be of interest to active people who love chocolate and may want to consider adding chocolate to their diet:

Chocolate Cake...for Breakfast?

Chocolate cake for breakfast enhances weight loss? Really?

Yes, according to researcher Prof. Daniela Jacubowicz (1). The subjects were 193 obese, non-diabetic adults who ate either a 300-calorie low carbohydrate breakfast or a 600-calorie breakfast that included protein plus chocolate cake (or another sweet dessert).

Both groups were instructed to eat the same amount of total calories: 1,400 for the women and 1,600 for the men. In the first 16 weeks, both groups lost an average of 33 pounds per person.

But in the second half of the study, the no-cake group had poor compliance and regained an average of 22 pounds per person while the cake-eaters continued to lose another 15 pounds each.

By 32-weeks, the cake eaters had lost about 40 pounds more than their peers.

Prof. Jacubowicz noticed that those who had cake for breakfast had fewer cravings for carbohydrates and sweets later in the day. By frontloading their calories, they were less hungry and less likely to stray from their food plans. They had curbed their cravings for sweets and treats, in comparison to the group that ate the smaller breakfast.

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Breakfast Action Steps

So what does this research mean for you?

  1. Eat a satisfying breakfast that leaves you content. Do not stop eating breakfast just because you think you should.
  2. If you want a treat, such as chocolate cake, enjoy it earlier in the day, as opposed to indulging at 9:00 p.m. when you are tired, too hungry, and lack the mental energy needed to stop yourself from overeating. Think of it as having dessert after breakfast instead of after dinner.
  3. Even on a weight-reduction diet, you should eat what you truly want to eat, without deprivation of your favorite foods. Otherwise, you'll end up doing "last chance" eating. (You know, "I just blew my diet by eating cake, so I might as well keep eating it because this is my last chance before my diet starts again?")

Note: Even people with diabetes can substitute chocolate cake for grains at a meal without creating blood glucose problems. Just eat the cake instead of—not in addition to—the grains! (2)

More: Lose Weight and Eliminate Cravings

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