Eat chocolate, lose weight, says scientist
By Joanne Eglash on August 24, 2014
Eat chocolate, lose weight sounds like a dieter's dream. But it's a reality, says scientist Will Clower.
The title of his new book sums up Dr. Clower's theory: "Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight: New Science Proves You Should Eat Chocolate Every Day" (click for details). It's essential to eat the right type and amount, he says.
Dr. Clower also emphasizes the importance of eating real food, and savoring what you eat.
He cites studies showing that cocoa prevents inflammation, boosts your metabolism, and helps with stress. And when it comes to mood enhancers, chocolate wins.
Look for chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa, such as 70 percent. Because both quantity and quality count, consider getting mini brands, such as Ghirardelli Minis Pouch, Dark Chocolate. Another option is nibbling on a nib, such as Healthworks Certified Organic Raw Cacao Nibs. And in cold weather, dark chocolate cocoa can do the trick, such as Godiva Dark Chocolate Hot Cocoa.
In an exclusive interview, I asked Dr. Clower to expand his comments on the research.
"The research data show that consistent chocolate consumption is associated with weight control,"he told me.
"Switzerland, for example, eats more chocolate than anyone on Earth, and yet their obesity rate is 7.7%. Compare that to ours."
In addition, Dr. Clower has tested his theory with his corporate wellness clients.
"We find that adding chocolate (quality = high-cocoa chocolate, quantity = controlled) leads to lower portions consumed at the plate (by ½ to 1/3) and drastically reduced need to eat between meal snacks (lowered by about ½). This combination naturally leads to the weight lose we observe (1-2 lbs per week)," he said.
Dr. Clower emphasizes choosing the right cocoa or chocolate:
- If you can get cocoa that has not been “Dutch-Processed”, that will provide between 60 and 90 percent more of the polyphenols that provide the health benefits of chocolate.
- As for chocolate, you want to get solid dark chocolate. And that solid.dark chocolate should be as high in cocoa as you can comfortably go.
Part of his weight loss plan features relearning how to eat.
"We are coached by our culture to believe that one bite is equal to the amount that you can fit in your mouth. It’s measured in metric tons," he jokes.
"However, if you want to be healthy … if you want to eat chocolate, and lose weight doing it, one bite is better," asserts Dr. Clower. He suggests measuring it with the tip of your thumb.
And method counts too. Rather than gobble down that chocolate while you're watching TV and checking your laptop for email, Dr. Clower suggests lingering over it and focusing on the flavor and sensation.
"Make that bite last. If you are having your chocolate, don’t chew it up. Let it linger. When this happens, you end up satisfied on far less food than you normally are. Need a rule? Taste it more, eat it less. Taste it less, eat it more," he concludes.