Weight loss is a challenging process, and sometimes you just want some chocolate for the feel-good effects and a break from the steamed chicken and vegetables you’ve been eating.
While it’s possible to stop some of your sweet-tooth cravings with fruit, you may simply prefer chocolate and the benefits you get and feel when eating it.
Nobody is saying that sugar-filled candy bars are effective for weight loss, but you may be wondering whether dark chocolate can be used for weight loss as a treat or if it can even enhance your results.
Can Dark Chocolate Help You Lose Weight?
Dark chocolate that is at least 70% cacao can be an effective part of your weight loss plan. One of the most important aspects though is to check the nutritional information and other ingredients included in the dark chocolate you want to eat.
One of the primary benefits of dark chocolate is its ability to make you feel fuller and reduce your cravings while your calories are low and you’ve cut out other candy and processed foods. Dark chocolate can reduce the amount you eat at later meals in the day as well.
Often dark chocolate can have many other ingredients that negate the benefits you get from it, so added sugars and lower percentage cacao chocolates can be mixed in, while still being sold as a dark chocolate product.
|Dark Chocolate Stats||Dark chocolate (1 oz)||Daily % Needed|
|Total Carbs||13 g||2%|
Dark chocolate has a surprisingly high amount of fiber, comparable to most fruit and in some cases, even higher. The fiber will fill you up faster and leave you feeling less hungry throughout the day, which results in you eating less and thinking about food less which significantly helps with your weight loss.
1 oz of 70% dark chocolate will have around 25 mg of caffeine, while a cup of standard coffee could have up to 100 mg. However, unless you’re drinking straight black coffee, your coffee may have less caffeine, more sugar, and more calories.
The higher the percentage of dark chocolate, the higher the caffeine amount will be, for instance, 1 oz of 100% dark chocolate could have 65 mg of caffeine.
Caffeine will boost your metabolism, increase your internal heat and boost your fat-burning, and during your workouts, you’ll get an added boost of energy to keep you going longer and lifting heavier.
Consider eating a piece of fruit like a kiwi with a piece of chocolate (salt) as your pre-workout, rather than scooping some of the chemically enhanced pre-workouts on the market.
Cacao % Needed in Dark Chocolate For Weight Loss
Dark chocolate is considered helpful from 70% cacao and up, so it’s important to determine the percentage of your dark, dark chocolate and ensure you can enjoy the taste, as the darker the chocolate becomes, the more bitter it is.
As chocolate is diluted and the cacao is removed, the fewer benefits you get and less actual chocolate you are consuming.
Detailed below is one serving of Ghirardelli chocolate in various percentages of cacao.
|100% Cacao (Best)||146||15.3||9.3||3.3||4.7||0|
|90% Cacao (Great)||180||19||9||3||4||2|
|86% Cacao (Good)||190||19||11||3||4||4|
|72% Cacao (Acceptable)||170||15||14||2||3||8|
|White Chocolate (Bad)||170||11||17||2||0||16|
|Milk Chocolate (Bad)||150||8||18||2||0||16|
You can see calories remain fairly consistent between Ghirardelli squares, but you start to lose fiber and gain refined sugar. The percentages of the beneficial vitamins and minerals go down equally as fast.
Make sure that your dark chocolate does not have added ingredients or wildly different nutritional information; the calories and fiber content should be fairly consistent with the table above.
Daily Dark Chocolate Consumption For Weight Loss
Most studies suggest that 1-2 oz of dark chocolate per day is more than enough to get the benefits when assisting with weight loss; any more than that and you start to consume too many calories, which is a problem for a low-calorie diet.
|Daily 2,000 Calorie Diet||Calories Per Day|
|Fiber From Carbs||20-30 g|
|Sugar From Carbs||50 g||194|
It should be noted that 1 oz of dark chocolate can have fewer calories than fruits like mango, so the limiting factor on your diet should be more about the calories than it is about eating dark chocolate.
Dark Chocolate vs. Other Weight Loss Foods
Dark chocolate can be an effective aid in your weight loss when combined with other healthy foods like mango, kiwi, and even green tea. There are very few natural foods that contain both fiber and caffeine that can compete with a piece of dark chocolate.
|Mango||100 g||60||1.6 g||14 g||Good|
|Kiwi Fruit||100 g||61||3 g||9 g||Good|
|Dark Chocolate||1 oz||170||3 g||7 g||25 mg||Good|
|Green Tea||1 cup||3||0 g||0 g||29 mg||Good|
|PROBAR Chews||4 chews||90||0 g||12 g||20 mg||Good|
|Viter Mints||1 mint||0||0 g||0 g||80 mg||Best|
|Verb Bars||1 bar||45||4 g||12 g||100 mg||Great|
The big benefit of dark chocolate is the combination of fiber and caffeine, but it’s still higher in calories than some other snack-type foods available in most grocery stores. If you’re looking for a good combination of low calorie, high fiber, and high caffeine then Verb bars can be a better option than dark chocolate and still provide great taste.
Alternatives like Viter mints or PROBAR chews are lower-calorie, have caffeine, but lack the fiber of dark chocolate. So if you’re not struggling with never feeling full then these options can be better and fit easier into your daily calorie allowance.
When To Eat Dark Chocolate For Weight Loss
One of the primary benefits of dark chocolate is that eating it can reduce the size of your meals or how hungry you are later in the day. So consuming dark chocolate earlier in the day will have more benefits throughout the day on your other meals.
However, aside from assisting with other meals, there is no best time to eat dark chocolate; it can be eaten as a dessert after dinner or eaten as a pre-lunch snack, depending on what you prefer.
Easiest Options To Include Dark Chocolate In Your Diet
The easiest option to include dark chocolate into your diet is by purchasing chocolate bars. Your only requirement will be to check the cacao percentage, nutritional information, and added ingredients.
Chocolate bars don’t have to be straight dark chocolate; there are many added ingredients you could get additional benefits from. If you find dark chili chocolate or salted dark chocolate, you may not get extra calories, but the bitterness of the chocolate will be cut.
You may also find that things like nuts included in the dark chocolate give you the benefits of the nuts you may in your diet plan already, and you’re getting a tastier snack.
|Dish||Calories With 1 oz Dark Chocolate|
|Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Bar||130|
|Cherry/Almond Dark Chocolate Bar||120|
|Chili Dark Chocolate||170|
|Sea Salt Dark Chocolate||160|
Dark chocolate can be slowly melted and then poured over almost anything, so additional benefits and taste profiles can be found by melting and pouring dark chocolate over things like fruit or even onto toasted bread.
You can also add dark chocolate to a meat and cheese platter for a more formal or savory snack; often, 100% cacao chocolate will be used for this purpose.
Where To Get Dark Chocolate
It’s almost impossible not to find dark chocolate at any grocery store like Walmart or Kroger, convenience store, online through places like Amazon, or even through specialty stores throughout your city.
Use brands websites or fitness tracking websites to find the nutritional information on the chocolate you want to buy before going to the store. You can create a list of the best options that you want to buy, which have the calories, sugar, cacao, and other nutritional values you want.
Austin is the author of loveatfirstfit.com and a personal trainer with extensive knowledge in nutrition. Austin is passionate about helping others to find a suitable healthy lifestyle and feel good about themselves. Austin’s goal is to help people push their limits and achieve their physical performance.