Chocolate is not something that comes to mind when one thinks about superhuman food. After all, chocolate is a commercially processed sweet treat laden with chemical additives and preservatives. It is crucial to note though that not all chocolates are created equal, and dark chocolate is one of the healthier versions of this beloved dessert item. No doubt a healthy addition to your diet, there are some downsides to dark chocolate that are worth mentioning though.
Read further and discover more about the pros and cons of dark chocolate and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this source of dietary fats.
Dark Chocolate’s Benefits:
Dark chocolate is a potent source of procyanidins, a class of flavonoids. Flavonoids, in general, function as antioxidants in the body. However, the procyanidins in dark chocolate serve a far more important role than just being antioxidants. As it turns out, this class of flavonoids are capable of preventing the growth of specific breast cancer cells by down-regulating the proteins that control said process, as well as inhibiting the spread of already existing cancerous cells in the breast, according to a Georgetown University Medical Center study.
The procyanidins along with the polyphenols in dark chocolate show potential for weight management as well, as was found in a Pennsylvania State University study. As it turns out, the procyanidins and polyphenols are capable of preventing the breakdown of specific digestive enzymes, subsequently resulting in lesser free fatty acids in the blood. Eating dark chocolate, along with implementing a low-calorie diet, may then prove useful in ensuring the success of one’s weight loss and weight management pursuits.
Dark chocolate contains methylxanthines as well. And along with polyphenols, both work together to reduce the levels of glucose in the blood of obese-diabetic rats. In this same Malaysia-based study, cocoa’s ability to lessen the amount of free fatty acids in the blood as well as its antioxidant-boosting capacity, were confirmed as well.
Dark chocolate is a high-fat food, too. However, most of the fats present in this food product is monounsaturated which is considered a beneficial fat. Specifically, it contains measurable amounts of oleic acid which is crucial for a healthy immune system as well as robust brain function.
Dark Chocolate’s Risks:
Dark chocolate contains much higher cocoa content than its milk and white chocolate counterparts, thus the former’s characteristic bitter taste. Though this is the case, dark chocolate still contains processed sugar. For instance, a seventy-two percent cocoa bar typically has twenty-four grams of sugar per one-hundred grams of serving. In practical terms, this means that a one-hundred gram serving of this tasty treat already provides an adult female’s, and two-thirds of an adult male’s daily recommended intake for sugar. As you probably already know, excessive intake of sugar can result in conditions like tooth decay, obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Cocoa, the main ingredient of dark chocolate, has measurable amounts of caffeine. Pregnant women are advised against taking food and drinks that have caffeine as ingestion of the latter increases the risk of miscarriage. Caffeine, in large doses, also causes palpitations, anxiety, insomnia, among other symptoms.
Though most of the fats in dark chocolate is monounsaturated, it does contain some saturated, or the bad type of fat as well. The saturated fat content tend to be higher in dark chocolate brands that have milk in them so you might want to opt for dairy-free versions for this reason.
Dark Chocolate’s Practical Uses:
Dark chocolate brands abound in the market which is why knowing how to choose the best products is crucial. Opt for organic dark chocolate whenever you can as you can be assured that all the ingredients used do not contain pesticide residues.
Another option is to go for dark chocolate that have been produced using the cold manufacturing process. Dark chocolate products made using this method have more flavonoid content and typically do not contain harmful sweeteners making them a healthier choice overall.
In the next post, I’ll tell you the negative effects of regular peanut butter and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends you avoid this source of dietary fats.
In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the dietary sources of fats on the Superhuman Food Pyramid:
- Coconut Oil
- Coconut Meat
- Olive Oil
- Macadamia Nut Oil
- Organic Grass-Fed Butter
- Organic Yogurt (Full-Fat)
- Free Range Eggs (With Yolk)
- Grass-Fed Beef, Bison, or Buffalo or Lamb
- Sardines, Anchovies or Haddock in Water or Olive Oil
- Wild Salmon, Trout, Tilapia, Flounder
- Triglyceride-Based Fish Oil
- Pure Cod Liver Oil
- Raw Nuts (Except Peanuts)
- Raw Seeds
- Almond Butter
- Palm Oil
- Cold Press Flax Oil
- Organic Peanut Butter
- Coconut Ice Cream
- Dark Chocolate
- Roasted Nuts
- Roasted Seeds
- Regular Peanut Butter
- Regular Butter
- Non-Organic Meats
- Any ‘Spreadable’ Condiments
- Farmed Fish
- Commercial Salad Dressings
- Safflower Oil
- Sunflower Oil
- Canola Oil
- Cottonseed Oil
- Commercial Flax Oil
- Soy Ice Cream
- Regular Ice Cream
- Milk Chocolate
If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of dark chocolate, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the benefits of pros and cons of dark chocolate.