Whether you prefer to use it in place of milk chocolate when baking or like to grab a piece as an afternoon snack, dark chocolate is so much more than just a dessert. Research suggests that the nutrients in dark chocolate may help you feel happier and even lower your risk of heart attack or stroke, among other benefits. And, as it turns out, there might be yet another reason to reach for at-least-70-percent cacao: dark chocolate may also aid in weight loss.
Mackenzie Burgess, RDN, recipe developer at Cheerful Choices, told POPSUGAR that dark chocolate is an ideal dessert because it can help satisfy your cravings while also delivering important antioxidants and minerals. "Some studies have also shown dark chocolate to be beneficial for weight loss, as it may reduce our hunger hormone, known as ghrelin, and boost our satiety," Burgess said.
However, it's important to keep serving sizes in mind while indulging in this delicious snack. "While dark chocolate can definitely be a part of a healthy weight-loss plan, be sure to keep the portions in check," Burgess said, adding that a typical serving should be about one ounce, or roughly the size of your index finger.
Beyond reducing cravings, eating dark chocolate may also help you stay motivated and feeling good about yourself and your progress. "There are studies that show that dark chocolate can positively affect mental health and mood," explained Abbie Gellman, MS, RD, CDN, a member of the Jenny Craig Science Advisory Board — and that's important when you're trying to lose weight.
Gellman added that, although exclusively eating dark chocolate won't speed up weight loss, it may help you achieve your goals over time. "Eating dark chocolate in small, appropriate portions will not hinder your weight loss and will potentially put your body and mind in the right state to increase your weight loss," Gellman told POPSUGAR. So grab that square of dark chocolate, and enjoy!