A staggering two fifths of Britons confess to eating chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Consuming chocolate with every meal is becoming a norm to many, with 20% of people ranking chocolate as the hardest thing to give up.
It is commonly thought that a small amount of chocolate each day is good for you. Cocoa provides phytochemicals, which can act as antioxidants as well as vitamins and minerals, like magnesium which are “crucial to nerve transmission, muscle contraction, blood coagulation, energy production, nutrient metabolism and bone and cell formation”. Despite this many people seem to be misled by this, as this relevant specifically to dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate, the better it is for you. In general, chocolate is high in sugar and fat. Consuming too much fat or saturated fat increases your risk for obesity, high cholesterol and heart disease and too much sugar contains no essential nutrients, increasing your risk of depression and diabetes.
Chocolate stimulates the release of endorphins in the brain which relieves stress and increases feelings of happiness and relaxation. Some people argue that this can cause people to feel “addicted” to chocolate and this may well be the case as apparently 24% of us even admit to eating chocolate in secret.
Some tips on how to cut down your chocolate intake:
-Eat alternative snacks which provide energy boosts. Increase protein and grains for lunch to give you afternoon energy.
-Eat fruit and veggies for snacks, have a few nuts and seeds, try fat-free crackers, and drink more water.
-Slowly decrease the amount you eat and swap milk chocolate for dark chocolate.
-Eat regularly! Often people tend to snack on chocolate because it is easy to grab and eat when they are starving.
-If you eat chocolate when you are bored, replace chocolate with chewing gum.