Everybody has their guilty pleasures whether it is candy, ice cream, or potato chips. When it comes to chocolate, however, there are a few choices out there that can not only appease your sweet tooth but also be a wholesome part of your diet (when eaten in moderation, of course).
When it comes to finding a healthy chocolate to satisfy your sugar craving and have some nutritional value, there are five things you should be looking for in the nutritional facts section of the packaging:
1. Pure Cacao: Most traditional chocolates available as treats are processed and sapped of various nutritional elements. The more pure the cacao, the higher the nutritional levels will be in the chocolate.
Additionally, finding an authentic, pure dark chocolate will be rich in beneficial nutrients such as dopamine, which can help brighten your mood through stimulation of serotonin.
2. Protein Levels: If you want to help yourself to some chocolate sweetness, make sure that it contains a decent amount of protein. One good way to calculate whether or not your choice has an adequate quantity of protein is to compare the "four-to-one" rule: for every three grams of serving size weight, you need to have one gram of protein.
For example, if your selection's serving size has a total of 40 grams in weight, then having 10 grams of protein (in the amount per serving) would be ideal.
3. Low Calories and Fat: As touched upon in point number one, choosing 100% natural cacao will also help lower the intake of calories and fat. Especially with traditional candy bars, the sugar levels will just add to the high levels of calories and fat, but the more natural you go, the less time on the treadmill you'll need to spend.
4. Untreated and Caffeine-free: Sticking with the natural theme, you should make sure to check if any additional elements are added, such as artificial flavors or coloring, as well as caffeine. Your body does not need these "extra" substances and will be much better off finding a delight without them.
5. High ORAC Score: Having a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity score is believed by some to help differentiate high-quality foods that can more efficiently counterbalance free radicals from those that can not (which according to the "free-radical theory of aging" means it can help slow down age-related degeneration, as well as certain diseases).
If you use these five guides when you select your next craving-stopper, the probability of choosing a more healthy chocolate will increase – so your waistline will not have to.