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How To Get Fit With Chocolate

Believe it or not, chocolate can actually help you get fit! Get-Fit Guy shows you how chocolate can help you with cravings for sweet things, and also work to enhance your cardiovascular fitness.

By
Ben Greenfield,
August 19, 2014
Episode #199

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I love my dark chocolate.

And while I’m careful with heavily processed candy bars or ice cream, just about every day I do indeed include a handful of organic cacao nibs in my morning kale smoothie, a chunk of 85%+ dark chocolate with my nightly glass of red wine, and some of the other chocolate sources I discuss in my podcast episode, What Kind Of Chocolate Is Good For You.

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Believe it or not, chocolate can actually help you get fit, and in this episode, you’re going to discover how you can use chocolate to help you with cravings for sweet things, and also to help enhance your cardiovascular fitness.

Chocolate For Cravings

Perhaps chocolate is a favorite snack of scientific researchers, or maybe we human beings just  have some kind of natural infatuation with this tasty treat. For whatever reason, it seems like practivally every day, there is some news report or new study about the amazing things that chocolate, cocoa butter or cocoa powder can do. From increasing mitochondrial biogenesis (the formation of new tiny powerhouses in your cell) and energy production, to enhancing blood flow and the functioning of cardiac tissue, the benefits of chocolate simply don’t seem to end.

I hope you’re sitting down, because it turns out a recent study has also shown some means by which chocolate may actually lead to fat loss--specifically, by suppressing your appetite, increasing meal satiety, and decreasing cravings for sweet things in general.

The researchers in this study compared the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate on appetite and energy intake at an ad libitum test meal--which means that on two separate days, participants were given a 100 gram serving of either milk or dark chocolate, and then a couple of hours later, were allowed to sit down for lunch and eat as much ham and cheese pizza as they wanted. (I want to know where you can go to sign up for a study like this!) The pizzas were cut in different sizes to make it difficult for the participants to compare the number of slices of pizza they ate on the two test days.

Participants were then weighed, and their baseline appetites were recorded before they ate the 100 grams of chocolate. They were also asked how much they liked the chocolate immediately after eating it, and their appetite sensations were recorded every 30 minutes for 5 hours, including before, during and after the pizza lunch. “Palatability ratings” – how good that pizza tasted – were also assessed immediately after lunch.

So what were the findings? There was no difference in how much the participants enjoyed the two types of chocolate. But, they felt significantly more satiated, were less hungry and had significantly decreased pizza consumption after eating the dark chocolate, compared to after the milk chocolate.  Dark chocolate was actually associated with 17% lower pizza consumption when compared to the ingestion of milk chocolate!

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