Can Dark Chocolate Really Help You Lose Weight?

By: Tayler Glenn

Healthily losing weight is by no means a cake walk and, while cake may not help you shed inches, dark chocolate just might! Headlines have touted dark chocolate’s weight loss benefits for years, but overly sensationalized articles and an increasingly informed public has us asking: could dark chocolate actually help you lose weight?

The Headlines:

Dark chocolate – more specifically, cocoa – has been praised for its health benefits that include anti-inflammatory properties, vision support, and improved blood flow and, in recent years, weight loss has been added to the long list of reasons to indulge. But, does that claim belong on the list or is it a sensationalized headline that we were more than happy to read?

Research has given us a long trail of data showing that that cocoa is rich in flavanols which can improve blood flow and lower blood pressure, but it wasn’t until recently that studies began suggesting that it could be something to help you lose weight. Now, it’s not the dark chocolate candy bar you’re thinking of! The specific part of cocoa that has been linked to weight loss is a flavonol called oligomeric PCs (OPCs) and studies have also shown a correlation between eating dark chocolate and feeling full!

The Facts:

Great – so I’m good to eat as much as I want and still lose weight, right? Sadly, no. Many of the “facts” above aren’t giving you the whole story and, if you aren’t paying attention, this could set you a few steps back in your weight loss journey! For example:

  • The link between OPCs in cocoa and weight loss was based on a study done on mice. While the link still exists, there’s no denying that a mouse’s body works much differently than ours! Since the findings haven’t been replicated in humans, it’s a little too soon to call this link a solid fact.
  • In the study that stated dark chocolate increases feelings of fullness,  you have to read the fine(er) print further down the page in the Methods section. As it turns out, they only tested whether dark chocolate increased feelings of when compared to eating milk chocolate! Don’t worry – this is still great support for taking that baby step of switching your milk chocolate to dark!

Oh – and those claims that eating chocolate causes a lower BMI? A recent meta-analysis says otherwise. The link there is only correlational and most study participants actually only received quite a small piece of dark chocolate!


Dark Chocolate + a Healthy Diet:

We might not like it, but there’s just jut strong enough evidence that eating dark chocolate will directly help you lose weight. Often the cocoa we’re eating is filled with sugar and calories which offset any kinds of health benefits you may be getting! But, we’d never tell you that you can’t eat chocolate if you’re trying to lose weight!  Studies have shown that eliminating your favorite foods altogether could lead you to give up on a diet or even crave those foods more, so including a dark chocolate treat here and there is great! Here are the best ways to include dark chocolate + lose weight:
  • Stick with cocoa-rich dark chocolate, just be conscious of portion size! Many bars, even the small ones, include 2 to 3 servings in one.
  • Bake using cocoa nibs or mini sugar-free dark chocolate chips because. They’re easy to use and a little goes a long way with less than 10g of sugars!
  • Make hot cocoa using your TLS® Shake, Stevia, and unsweetened dark cocoa powder. The nutrients from your shake and the dark cocoa will have you energized and your chocolate cravings crushed!
  • Make dark chocolate covered fruit kabobs by mixing dark cocoa into Greek yogurt with a little sweetener, then pop them in the freezer or just eat them right away! This also makes for a great fruit dip.

If you need more ideas, check out our recipes here or on our Pinterest board!