No matter how committed we are to our goals, there comes a time where we just want to scream to the heavens, "How can I have chocolate on a diet?!"
Well, contrary to popular belief, chocolate is actually one of those sneaky superfoods. Obviously, it's got a few more calories than kale, but it still packs a punch when it comes to nutritional (and let's face it, emotional) benefits.
The general rule with foods like chocolate is "less is more", but what happens when you factor in popular diets like "Keto" or "Paleo"?
This week, we're breaking down the relationship between chocolate and the year's most popular diets. And we'll show you... You really CAN have chocolate on a diet -- any diet!
Chocolate and the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet, originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy, diabetes, and other illnesses, involves cutting out carbohydrates. This means sugar of all shapes and sizes -- bread, pasta, candy, ice cream, the list goes on. Typically, our bodies rely on carbohydrates for energy, but by cutting out those carbs, we can teach our bodies to rely on fat for energy instead. (This swap is called "ketosis", and it's where we get the name!) It turns out this is a great way to lose weight!
Why Chocolate: Surprisingly, chocolate can be a huge part of the ketogenic diet. So long as the actual sugar content is low (lookin' at you, dark chocolate and cacao), the vitamins and minerals in natural chocolate (like flavanols, which are linked to preventing heart disease) can give you a leg up on your day even while on the keto diet.
How Much: With keto, keep an eye on your carbs. It's important to find a dark chocolate that is 70% or more cocoa -- and to only have a little bit. That doesn't mean you need to be happy with chocolate shavings: you can have a whole Moodygirl chocolate bar every week or two and not get thrown off your keto goals.
Why Moodygirl: Moodygirl Chocolate is made from [XYZ]% cocoa, which places it comfortably in the realm of keto-friendly sweet treats. Plus, we're sneaky about our nutrients -- some of the vitamins and minerals that you might miss from starchy snacks (like iron, B6, magnesium) can be found in our delicious bars.
Chocolate and the Paleo Diet
The Paleo diet involves eating like our ancestors -- our waaaaaay far back ancestors. Also known as the "caveman diet", Paleo involves eschewing processed foods in favor of things our ancestors actually had access to. Things like fresh meat, eggs, leafy greens, nuts, and other natural ingredients make up the Paleo menu.
Why Chocolate: Technically speaking, processed chocolate isn't "Paleo." (We didn't have Hershey's factories back in the Paleolithic Period.) But there's an argument to be made for dark chocolate -- as a treat, of course. Most Caveman Dieters see chocolate as "allowed in moderation" because of the additional nutritional benefits we mentioned above (tasty, tasty vitamins and minerals!). The trick is to stay away from highly manufactured products and get down to au naturel.
How Much: Like the keto diet, committed Paleo dieters should stick to extremely dark chocolate. 70% is a great benchmark, but many Paleo eaters take it a step further, cutting out any chocolate with less than 85% cocoa. For Paleo especially, many practitioners tout eating only a square or two a few times a week, rather than snacking on a whole bar. But it's up to you, caveman friends!
Why Moodygirl: We're about as natural as it can get without going out and making the chocolate yourself. We talk a lot about what we add TO our chocolate, but we also take OUT all the nasty preservatives, added sugars, and weird chemical flavorings you'd find from store-brand chocolatiers. Plus, Paleo dieters can also struggle with proper vitamin intake, making Moodygirl Chocolate the perfect match for enjoying chocolate on a diet.
Chocolate and the Mediterranean Diet
The Mediterranean diet is a little more "newfangled" than Keto and Paleo, but it's growing in popularity (possibly in part because it encourages a glass of red wine each night at dinner). This diet is based on research comparing the 1960s-era lifestyles and overall health of Americans with our friends and family in the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, etc.). Simply put, Mediterranean meals cut out a lot of the crud that American meals hold dear, relying on fresh fish, veggies, light proteins (and yes, wine) to get the job done.
Why Chocolate: A fun thing about the Mediterranean diet is that many followers celebrate its "enjoy in moderation" method. There are no hard and fast rules to the Mediterranean diet -- it's more of a lifestyle choice. To that end, chocolate is totally welcome in the Mediterranean diet, so long as we stick to moderate quantities.
How Much: If moderation isn't your strong suit, the Mediterranean diet might be for you -- a Mediterranean eater can have as much chocolate as she wants, so long as it falls under the "50% or more" cocoa umbrella.
Why Moodygirl: Honestly, can't you see yourself sitting on a breezy beach balcony in Sicily, cracking open a Chill Out bar you just pulled from the freezer? Besides the ~aesthetic~, Moodygirl Chocolate is great for the Mediterranean diet. It adds all the nutritional benefits we've mentioned before, but also acts like a little celebration for one -- that's what the Mediterranean lifestyle is all about, after all!
Ultimately, the best way to determine what's best for you is by working with your doctor and a registered dietician. Whether you're craving a chocolate bar to appease your sweet tooth, chill out after a long day, sneak in some extra vitamins, or just to enjoy the deliciousness, Moodygirl has you covered.
Plus, until the end of June, save 15% on our variety packs with code PRIDE15!