Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight. If the title of the new weight-loss book from neuroscientist Will Clower, Ph.D., isn't enough to grab your attention, its promise might: Eat chocolate 20 minutes before and five minutes after lunch and dinner to cut your appetite by up to 50 percent.
Um, what? This set off our "this has got to be too good to
be true" alarm, so we did some digging to find out if the chocolate diet
really holds any weight.
MORE: How Chocolate Can Help you Lose Weight
It turns out, the sweet stuff can fight sugar spikes. In one
study from the University of L'Aquila in Italy, people who ate a candy
bar's worth of dark chocolate once a day for 15 days in a row decreased
their potential for insulin resistance by almost 50 percent.
While researchers credit flavonoids for reducing insulin
resistance, weight-loss specialist and board-certified internist Sue
Decotiis, M.D., notes that dark chocolate also contains healthy fats,
which slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream. That helps
prevent the dreaded insulin spike, which is famed for shuttling sugar
straight into your fat cells. "Insulin spikes turn off your body's
fat-burning mechanisms and make you hungry again several hours later,"
she says. Over time, they can also lead to insulin resistance and
MORE: Health Benefits of Chocolate
Meanwhile, Swiss scientists have found that dark chocolate
reduces the metabolic effects of stress, and University of Copenhagen
researchers have shown that dark chocolate curbs cravings for sweet,
salty, and fatty foods alike.
Plus, while it's hard not to take chocolate's weight-loss
benefits as an excuse to pound chocolate bars like they're going out of
style, Clower says each helping should be no bigger than the end of your
thumb. Eat more than that, and not only could you overload on sugar and
fat, but you could also ruin your dinner, says Decotiis.