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Dark Chocolate: Trick or Treat

If there’s one thing that almost all of us have in common, it’s a sweet tooth. And because life is for living, it would be unrealistic to expect any of us to completely forgo sweets…especially during the Halloween season! Thankfully, recent research supports that you don’t have to. There is a sweet that you can enjoy without fear—dark chocolate. This delectable, truly healthy treat has been rocketed to the forefront over the past few years scoring one scientific victory after another. Its accomplishments include boosting brainpower, lifting mood, relieving stress, and improving cardiovascular health, among others.

The Trick

Intriguing research shows that as “sweets” go, dark chocolate might be the trick in shutting off a sweet tooth by providing a greater feeling of satisfaction and satiety relative to other sweets.

Researchers speculate that dark chocolate’s potent “bittersweet” taste conveys stronger and more intense signals from the taste buds in the mouth to the satiety center of the brain. For many, this same intense flavor also means that less chocolate can do the trick. Thanks to dark chocolate’s small dose of cocoa fat, its rich and robust flavor lingers in your mouth a bit longer too.

Additionally, this bit of fat provides quick appetite suppression and also hinders the absorption of dark chocolate’s sugar, blunting those hunger-promoting spikes of glucose other sweets often generate. And for healthy icing on the cake, dark chocolate may even trick your body into burning more fat. The “active ingredients” for health and flavor in dark chocolate are a class of super-potent antioxidants called flavanols. Flavanols have been shown to enhance the action of insulin and boost metabolism. So, come on over to the dark side and enjoy!

The Treat

Give in to your sweet tooth healthfully by choosing dark chocolate as your treat of choice!

  • DAILY. Include up to one ounce of dark chocolate per day. This is about ¼ of the typical large dark chocolate bar, which you can find in your local grocery store.
  • AMOUNT. Choose the highest percent cacao your palate will enjoy. The higher the cacao content, typically the more flavanols and the less sugar it contains.
  • RELISH. Include 1 to 2 squares of a dark chocolate bar right after your lunch. This tasty trick really helps me end my lunch, likely eat less, and look forward to this little post-lunch indulgence.
  • KEEP. 1 to 2 squares of high cacao, dark chocolate barely puts a dent in your daily sugar quota. Even diabetics can safely consume this portion of dark chocolate.

13 More Reasons to Enjoy Dark Chocolate

Published studies have now linked dark chocolate to the following health benefits:

  1. Improved insulin function
  2. Improved function and health of blood vessels
  3. Enhanced blood sugar control and metabolism
  4. Enhanced blood flow to the heart and brain
  5. Enhanced cognitive function
  6. Higher HDL (good) cholesterol levels
  7. Lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels
  8. Lower triglycerides
  9. Lower risk of heart disease and stroke
  10. Reduced blood pressure
  11. Reduced inflammation
  12. Greater longevity
  13. Better Mood
About the Author  //  With formal training in nutrition and medicine, plus hands-on experience as a mother of four and family physician, Dr. Ann is a unique nutrition expert for teh real world. For more, visit