How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

You will find some surprisingly great and right food here

Eating the right foods can feel like hard work. It’s even harder when your body seems to crying out for carbs, sugar, salt, and fat. Because when that happens, there are WAY too many temptations around you – and they’re all high in calories!

Food cravings are quite normal. A craving is a strong desire for a specific food: a desire that can seem like it won’t go away unless you eat the food. Although some researchers believe that food cravings last only about 3-5 minutes, most people can feel that they last all day!

Cravings are usually for foods that are ‘bad’ for you: junk foods , sweet foods and processed foods . Foods that are high in sugar, salt, and fat.

But guess what? Nutritionists get these cravings too – and they know how to deal with them. Turns out there are HEALTHY foods out there that curb your cravings and don’t make you fatter!

Prepare to get healthier!

Table of Contents

What To Eat When Craving Salt

If you’re desperate for potato chips , salted peanuts or fries , your body could actually be craving the minerals in the salt. Salt is actually a necessary part of your diet : it helps to control the balance of fluids in your body . The amount of water in your blood must be kept within a small range, and the right intake of salt helps to keep this in balance . That’s why athletes have to add salt to their fluids after they’ve been sweating a lot. Unfortunately, salty snacks we’re inclined to reach for usually high in calories and fat.
BUT – it’s very easy to satisfy your salt cravings with a healthy alternative. Try these:

Organic air-popped popcorn with sea salt : Popcorn is low in calories when it’s air-popped – NOT when it’s covered in butter! Add some flavor with sea salt or herbs , such as garlic , rosemary, or cayenne pepper.

Celery sticks/ carrots sticks/ cucumber sticks sprinkled with lime juice and salt: These are super low in calories, rich in nutrients. They’re also salty and crunchy and satisfying!

What To Eat When Craving Sugar

When you’re craving sugar, it could be a sign that your body is low in energy and needs a quick pick-me-up. The easiest way to solve this is to reach for a pack of M&Ms, right? Wrong! Candy is the worst way to respond to sugar cravings. Your blood sugar levels will spike, giving you a ‘sugar rush’, but this will be promptly followed by a huge crash. And guess what – you’ll be tired again. And obviously looking for another energy hit!

If you need something sweet, try these instead!

Fresh fruit: Fruits such as bananas , apples, melons, and prunes are wonderfully sweet and readily available. They’re also ultimately satisfying because of their high fiber content. Fiber is what fills you up, curbing your body’s signals that you haven’t eaten enough. Not only that, fruit contains lots of beneficial nutrients that your body needs anyway!

Yogurt – natural or frozen: Natural Greek yogurt is rich in beneficial probiotics that can help to counter the ‘bad’ bacteria in your gut that may also be contributing to your food cravings. And when you add fruit, it’s a delicious low-calorie snack for any time of the day! Yogurt is also an excellent source of protein and calcium that your body is probably hanging out for.

Simply blend natural Greek yogurt (unsweetened!) in a food processor with a little fresh or frozen fruit, such as berries or bananas . You can even try adding nuts for extra fiber and texture.

What To Eat When Craving Chocolate

R eal dark cho colate is high in magnesium – so, a chocolate craving may be a sign that yo ur body i s LOW in magnesium. Considering that around half of US adults are thought to be low in this vital mineral, it’s no surpr ise that chocolate seems to be everywhere we turn ! Women m ay crave chocolate more when they’re menstruating.

Almonds : These healthy little nuts are an excellent source of both magnesium and fiber – not to mention protein. All of these nutrients will help to fill you up without the need for a chocolate binge.
Dark chocolate: Yes, you CAN solve a craving by eating chocolate – but only if it’s pure, dark chocolate with the absolute bare minimum of sugar. Think 70-90% cacao. You’ll be quenching your chocolate craving with just a couple of squares.

What To Eat When Craving Carbs

Carb cravings are most common when you’re stressed. Thi s is because your body’s levels o f stress hormone (cortisol) elevate, causing your blood sugar levels to jump up as well. Elevated blood sugar levels can lea d to a release of insulin, the hormone th at stor es fat. If insulin stores too much fat, you’ll be left with too little sugar in the blo od – and your body will tell you to seek some out, pronto.

Here’s what to solve that problem with!

Raw Carrots and Hummus : Fiber , protein, salt, and crunch. You’ll restore your blood sugar levels and save on hundreds of calories.

Roasted chickpeas: As good as potato chips – but packed with fiber and salty goodness.

Baked cheese. Make these at home by lining a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and baking at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. The carb-free protein that’ll turn you off bread for good!

Spaghetti squash noodles or zucchini noodles: These are the ultimate carb-free alternative to wheat-based noodles. All the texture and flavor of real noodles without the carbs!

Cauliflower pizza: There are lots of recipes online for making this delicious but carb-free pizza base. You’ll never go back to wheat!

Have your hot cross buns, and eat them too.

April 18, 2019 11:12am

It’s easy to be tempted by delicious Easter treats but just how much exercise does it take to work off those tasty snacks.

It’s easy to be tempted by delicious Easter treats but just how much exercise does it take to work off those tasty snacks?

Have your hot cross buns, and eat them too.

Easter inevitably means plenty of feasting with friends and family and while there is nothing wrong with enjoying a few treats over the holidays it can also mean returning to work after several days off a few kilos heavier – weight gain few of us need or want.

So if you love indulging at Easter but would prefer not to return to work next week heavier, here are the easy ways to burn off your Easter calories so you can enjoy a few treats minus the weight gain.

Start with exercise

If you begin each day as you plan to continue you will find it a lot easier to stay in control of your Easter calories. This means not beginning your day with chocolate, an Easter bun and a large coffee but a solid workout session to give your metabolism a boost and help you burn off the extra calories that are coming your way. A brisk walk to the beach or park, a bike ride, or a session at the gym on most if not all the holiday days will significantly increase your calorie burn throughout the holiday period.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Start as you mean to go on. Source:BodyAndSoul

Sub in a meal

If chocolate is your thing, go for it, but most likely it means you do not need all your other meals as well. Often we eat the chocolate which may contain 600-1000 calories (in a bunny) and then keep eating all the other food on offer. If you want to eat chocolate, eat chocolate but chances are you do not need all the other buns, cakes and desserts as well.

Embrace fasting

At times we all overeat but the beauty of fasting is that it is a great way to give your body a significant number of hours without food (14-16) to burn through everything that you have eaten before you have another meal. Here you can enjoy your Easter foods, but then give your body a break to work through the extra calories you have consumed prior to eating again. This is an extremely effective strategy to counterbalance overeating and avoiding the weight gain that will result.

Fasting can help buffer any indulging. Image: iStock Source:BodyAndSoul

Get your heart rate up

Whilst any form of movement is good, there is nothing better than a short sharp exercise session to really get your heart rate and give your metabolism a boost after a period of overeating. Try a few intervals, a short run, a little boxing or even some skipping for just 10-20 minutes each day over the Easter period to avoid long periods of time spent sitting and inevitably eating.

Factor in the soup or salad

The simple act of replacing one meal each day with a low calorie soup or salad is one of the easiest dietary strategies to help reduce overall calorie intake whilst still boosting nutrition. Not only do vege based soups and large salads fill your tummy with tons of nutrient rich foods, but the fibre bulk helps to keep the digestive system working optimally when we are feeling overly full, tired and bloated. Here one salad or soup meal each day will help to buffer the calories of your Easter treats minus ay diets or deprivation.

Dark Chocolate Has Health Benefits Not Seen in Other Varieties

Aug. 27, 2003 — Got high blood pressure ? Try a truffle. Worried about heart disease ? Buy a bon-bon.

It’s the best medical news in ages. Studies in two prestigious scientific journals say dark chocolate — but not white chocolate or milk chocolate — is good for you.

Dark Chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure

Dark chocolate — not white chocolate — lowers high blood pressure, say Dirk Taubert, MD, PhD, and colleagues at the University of Cologne, Germany. Their report appears in the Aug. 27 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association.

But that’s no license to go on a chocolate binge. Eating more dark chocolate can help lower blood pressure — if you’ve reached a certain age and have mild high blood pressure, say the researchers. But you have to balance the extra calories by eating less of other things.

Antioxidants in Dark Chocolate

Dark chocolate — but not milk chocolate or dark chocolate eaten with milk — is a potent antioxidant, report Mauro Serafini, PhD, of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, and colleagues. Their report appears in the Aug. 28 issue of Nature. Antioxidants gobble up free radicals, destructive molecules that are implicated in heart disease and other ailments.

“Our findings indicate that milk may interfere with the absorption of antioxidants from chocolate . and may therefore negate the potential health benefits that can be derived from eating moderate amounts of dark chocolate.”

Translation: Say “Dark, please,” when ordering at the chocolate counter. Don’t even think of washing it down with milk. And if health is your excuse for eating chocolate, remember the word “moderate” as you nibble.

The Studies

Taubert’s team signed up six men and seven women aged 55-64. All had just been diagnosed with mild high blood pressure — on average, systolic blood pressure (the top number) of 153 and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of 84.

Every day for two weeks, they ate a 100-gram candy bar and were asked to balance its 480 calories by not eating other foods similar in nutrients and calories. Half the patients got dark chocolate and half got white chocolate.

Continued

Those who ate dark chocolate had a significant drop in blood pressure (by an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). Those who ate white chocolate did not.

In the second study, Serafini’s team signed up seven healthy women and five healthy men aged 25-35. On different days they each ate 100 grams of dark chocolate by itself, 100 grams of dark chocolate with a small glass of whole milk, or 200 grams of milk chocolate.

An hour later, those who ate dark chocolate alone had the most total antioxidants in their blood. And they had higher levels of epicatechin, a particularly healthy compound found in chocolate. The milk chocolate eaters had the lowest epicatechin levels of all.

Chocolate for Blood Pressure: Darker Is Better

What is it about dark chocolate? The answer is plant phenols — cocoa phenols, to be exact. These compounds are known to lower blood pressure.

Chocolates made in Europe are generally richer in cocoa phenols than those made in the U.S. So if you’re going to try this at home, remember: Darker is better.

Just remember to balance the calories. A 100-gram serving of Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate Bar has 531 calories, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. If you ate that much raw apple you’d only take in 52 calories. But then, you’d miss out on the delicious blood pressure benefit.

A hint: Don’t replace healthy foods with chocolate. Most people’s diets have plenty of sweets. Switch those for some chocolate if you’re going to try the truffle treatment.

Last Updated: February 18, 2021 References

This article was co-authored by Laila Ajani. Laila Ajani is a Fitness Trainer and founder of Push Personal Fitness, a personal training organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Laila has expertise in competitive athletics (gymnastics, powerlifting, and tennis), personal training, distance running, and Olympic lifting. Laila is certified by the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA), USA Powerlifting (USAPL), and she is a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES).

There are 30 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 211,671 times.

Having a strong, aesthetic physique is a universal desire. Seeing the rippling, toned bodies of athletes and fitness models may make having a muscular build seem like an unattainable goal, but anyone can improve their physique, as well as their fitness and general health, by beginning an intensive resistance training regimen and making the right dietary choices.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Laila Ajani
Fitness Trainer Expert Interview. 31 October 2019. Weight training can be tough on inexperienced muscles and joints, and an acclimation period is usually necessary to prepare the body to regularly overcome resistance. As you gain experience and your body becomes used to the strain, you can incorporate another workout or 2 per week, though you should still take a couple off days to allow for muscular recovery. [3] X Research source

  • To make the most efficient use of your time in the gym, consider performing a traditional bodybuilding “split” workout, in which 2 or more muscle groups (e.g. back and biceps/legs and abs) are exercised consecutively during the same workout. [4] X Research source

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Laila Ajani
Fitness Trainer Expert Interview. 31 October 2019. Don’t overthink it: start with a straightforward 3×10 structure (three sets of ten repetitions of a given exercise) until progress begins to slow, then either increase the weight you’re using or the number of reps you’re performing to keep improving. [6] X Research source

  • Once you’ve gained a little experience with strength training, you can start experimenting with different weights and rep ranges to find out what works best for your body type: low reps (1 to 3) with extremely high weights are most often used to gain explosive strength, while high rep ranges (15 – 30) are useful for increasing endurance. [7] X Research source
  • When implementing a set-rep scheme like a 3×10 or 5×5, you should pick a weight that’s heavy enough so that you can only perform that many repetitions per set.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Laila Ajani
Fitness Trainer Expert Interview. 31 October 2019. You should be taking at least 2 days off from weight lifting and other exercise during the week. Few things are more important in building strong, healthy muscle mass than rest. When you perform weight-bearing exercise, you’re actually causing wear-and-tear on the muscles and joints that accumulates if not given adequate time to heal. Resting gives those hard-working muscle fibers time to recover and thicken, making them more resistant to strain and causing the muscle itself to grow larger. [23] X Research source

  • Stagger your rest days so that they fall within your regular training routine. For instance, you might work out your back and biceps on Monday, your legs and core on Tuesday, rest Wednesday, exercise chest and triceps Thursday, go for a run Friday, rest Saturday, etc. That way, all your major muscle groups are receiving attention while being given ample time to rest between muscle-specific days, which 2 days a week to take off entirely.
  • Muscles that are not given a chance to recover and heal themselves will accumulate damage until they become prone to injury.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Agnes Gajewska

Smothering yourself in honey or soaking in a bathtub of his favourite beer might sound like a great way to turn your partner on, but there are a few things to consider — and avoid.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Here’s how to pull off a sexy-food bedroom rendezvous (and sidestep any disasters).

Food is a many splendoured thing. All you need is food. Or maybe it’s love. It’s so easy to get the two confused, because when it comes to bedroom antics, they pair together so well.

However, before you go skipping off with a tub of yogourt and sexy intentions, flick an eye over the food-in-bed basics, lest you end up with more than egg on your face. You see, when it comes to getting freaky with food, there are some rules to follow and disasters to avoid.

Food and sex

Since it engages so many senses (smell, touch, taste, sight), food is a glorious addition to bedroom shenanigans. And because it offers a broad range of possibilities — from the subtle, like feeding each other, to the hard-core, like getting physical — it’s easy to suit it to every taste and relationship.

However, keep in mind that not everybody is into mixing snacks and sex, so make sure to discuss your ideas with your partner before springing chocolate sauce, whipped cream or a carrot on them. Once both of you are on the same page, here are some basic rules that’ll turn a simple food experience into a memorably sexy one.

What to try

Sweetly subtle

Little morsels of deliciousness can be sensational in foreplay. So if you’d like to use food in a subtle way rather than making it the focus of your sexual experience, here are a few things you can try.

Just make sure to take your time and look as sexy as possible.

“Take the food between [your] lips, then slowly eat it, keeping eye contact throughout. And most importantly, enjoy it!” she instructs.

If you’d like to turn things up a notch, blindfolding your partner before you feed them is a sexy way to do so. You can even turn it into a sexy game by asking your partner to identify what they’re eating and then offering a reward if they’re right.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

If you’re planning to do the feeding in bed, award-winning sex worker and sex coach Charlotte Rose advises you to be organized.

“Allow time to prepare the area [with] a wipeable PVC sheet or towels that you don’t mind staining or can be washed,” she says.

This is something chocolate sauce victim Magnus can happily attest to.

“My partner and I thought it’d be fun to mess around with chocolate, and that part was great,” he says, “but when we were finished, there were brown smears all over our sheets. It wasn’t a pleasant sight, and it kind of destroyed the mood.”

A little risqué

Got something a little naughtier in mind? Demontis recommends you turn things up a notch by licking or eating food off each other’s bodies. You can try the Japanese practice of nyotaimori by placing sushi on your naked body and inviting your partner to eat it. Just make sure you’re well groomed — and avoid wasabi.

She warns couples to learn from her mistake and to either make the sushi themselves or ensure that the chef puts no wasabi (or anything else spicy) inside.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

If you’re not a massive sushi fan, you can easily replace it with other edible goodies, like chocolate, fruit or whipped cream. But even here disaster can strike.

“My girlfriend surprised me with a whipped cream bikini top which I had to lick off,” says Jonathon, “but there was a lot of cream, so we ended up wiping half of it off, and it was stickier than we thought, which got in the way of things.”

Hard-core food fetish

If the idea of getting intimate with food is what gets you all hot and bothered, Valentine’s Day might be the perfect time to experiment. Just make sure your partner is on board and comfortable with what you want to do.

“Make sure that the food is one piece and that nothing can break off inside the body,” she adds.

A good disaster prevention technique is to place a condom over anything you plan to insert into your Queen Victoria, just to be safe.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Want food that turns you on? Here are some recipes inspired by aphrodisiacs >>

What to avoid

  1. Foods that can cause allergies. Always check that your partner is not allergic to the food you’re planning to use; there’s nothing sexy about anaphylactic shock.How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate
  2. Anything spicy. In addition to chili, which doesn’t belong anywhere near your family jewels, you should also avoid mustard, horseradish and wasabi. Anything that stings your mouth will also burn your privates.
  3. Herbs and spices. Believe it or not, things such as ground ginger, cinnamon and mint can be rather uncomfortable when they make contact with sensitive parts of your body.
  4. Sugar or salt. If you’ve ever gotten freaky at a beach and felt the effects of the sand, you should understand why grainy foods, such as sugar and salt, are best avoided. Ouch!
  5. Pure beer. Although beer baths have taken off in Europe, they are not made entirely from beer and are kept at a constant, adequately high temperature. Sitting in a bath of pure beer is not the same thing, and not only will it shoot alcohol straight into your bloodstream, but it can have other undesirable effects.How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate
  6. Honey, chocolate or maple syrup. While these are fine to lick off or eat from most parts of the body, when too close to your lady parts, these syrupy substances can actually cause yeast infections — hardly the Valentine’s Day present a girl dreams about.

Epilogue

Playing with food is a combination of fun, experimentation and common sense. In the wise words of Rose, “Be safe, make it fun, and be honest — not only with yourself but your partner too. You’ll be amazed what can happen in the bedroom if you are more open with the things that turn you on.”

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

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Dark chocolate is your stress-busting, waist-whittling savior. It pays to be picky about your bar, though. Skip the cappuccino-colored milk varieties and head straight to where they shelve the bold-flavored dark bars. Lighter kinds are loaded with sugar and seriously lacking in actual cocoa bean content—the singular ingredient that supplies all the health benefits. “Chocolate should be as minimally processed as possible to offer the most nutritional benefit. Choose chocolate that is 70% cocoa or higher, and aim for one that has no milk solids, extra syrups (glucose syrup, sugar) or other un-pronounceable ingredients,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian, and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.

So, exactly how can this sweet help keep your weight in check? From cutting cravings to controlling appetite, chocolate has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.

It Cuts Cravings

It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them. “A little sweet treat on occasion can help keep those cravings in check and allow you to follow your weight-loss or weight-maintenance regimen,” says Maria-Paula Carrillo, M.S., R.D.N., L.D. With most weight-loss plans you end up cutting back a lot on sweets and sugary foods, but a small amount of dark chocolate each day can help prevent you from reaching for something higher in sugar and lower in nutritional value.

It Decreases Body Fat

Thanks to certain flavanols that exist in chocolate, the sweet treat has been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat according to the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “Flavanols are plant-based nutrients and are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate,” explains Carrillo. However, too much of anything can lead to weight gain, so be very adamant about portion control! “Buy individually-wrapped dark chocolate pieces, and choose to have one or two as a dessert,” says Smith.

It Controls Appetite

Believe it or not, chocolate actually contains a decent amount of fiber, which helps keep your appetite in check and increase feelings of satiety. One 3.5-ounce bar of 70% dark chocolate contains around 16% of your daily recommended intake. Of course foods like oatmeal or broccoli will always come out on top when it comes to fiber content. Nevertheless, when we’re talking sweets—choosing dark chocolate over nutritionally empty candies for an afternoon snack will delay that “hangry” feeling much more effectively.

It Reduces Stress

It’s not your imagination: Eating small amounts of chocolate every day can help you relax, according to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research. Stress triggers weight gain because it causes your cortisol levels to spike, increasing appetite and encouraging you to eat based on emotions rather than physical need—both of which result in overeating. If you can manage your stress levels, you can better control what you put in your mouth. Eating dark chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain, which helps alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety and boost your mood.

It Reduces Inflammation

When your body is inflamed, it experiences problems at the cellular level. Chronic inflammation has been not only linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but also has been found to increase insulin resistance, and interfere with feelings of hunger and metabolism-regulating hormones. Munching on dark chocolate in moderation can help prevent and repair the cellular damage caused by inflammation because the flavanols found in cocoa contain anti-inflammatory properties, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. If you’re up for it, Smith suggests adding cacao nibs to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. “They’re unsweetened and offer many nutrients without too many extra calories or grams of sugar. They’re also bitter, so try them alone before you toss them in your breakfast!” says Smith.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

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Dark chocolate is your stress-busting, waist-whittling savior. It pays to be picky about your bar, though. Skip the cappuccino-colored milk varieties and head straight to where they shelve the bold-flavored dark bars. Lighter kinds are loaded with sugar and seriously lacking in actual cocoa bean content—the singular ingredient that supplies all the health benefits. “Chocolate should be as minimally processed as possible to offer the most nutritional benefit. Choose chocolate that is 70% cocoa or higher, and aim for one that has no milk solids, extra syrups (glucose syrup, sugar) or other un-pronounceable ingredients,” says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian, and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition.

So, exactly how can this sweet help keep your weight in check? From cutting cravings to controlling appetite, chocolate has quite a few tricks up its sleeve.

It Cuts Cravings

It seems a little counterintuitive, but to really take control over your cravings you’ve got to indulge in them. “A little sweet treat on occasion can help keep those cravings in check and allow you to follow your weight-loss or weight-maintenance regimen,” says Maria-Paula Carrillo, M.S., R.D.N., L.D. With most weight-loss plans you end up cutting back a lot on sweets and sugary foods, but a small amount of dark chocolate each day can help prevent you from reaching for something higher in sugar and lower in nutritional value.

It Decreases Body Fat

Thanks to certain flavanols that exist in chocolate, the sweet treat has been found to help lower blood sugar and also decrease body fat according to the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. “Flavanols are plant-based nutrients and are more prevalent in dark chocolate than in milk chocolate,” explains Carrillo. However, too much of anything can lead to weight gain, so be very adamant about portion control! “Buy individually-wrapped dark chocolate pieces, and choose to have one or two as a dessert,” says Smith.

It Controls Appetite

Believe it or not, chocolate actually contains a decent amount of fiber, which helps keep your appetite in check and increase feelings of satiety. One 3.5-ounce bar of 70% dark chocolate contains around 16% of your daily recommended intake. Of course foods like oatmeal or broccoli will always come out on top when it comes to fiber content. Nevertheless, when we’re talking sweets—choosing dark chocolate over nutritionally empty candies for an afternoon snack will delay that “hangry” feeling much more effectively.

It Reduces Stress

It’s not your imagination: Eating small amounts of chocolate every day can help you relax, according to a study published in the Journal of Proteome Research. Stress triggers weight gain because it causes your cortisol levels to spike, increasing appetite and encouraging you to eat based on emotions rather than physical need—both of which result in overeating. If you can manage your stress levels, you can better control what you put in your mouth. Eating dark chocolate increases serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain, which helps alleviate feelings of stress and anxiety and boost your mood.

It Reduces Inflammation

When your body is inflamed, it experiences problems at the cellular level. Chronic inflammation has been not only linked to heart disease, cancer and diabetes, but also has been found to increase insulin resistance, and interfere with feelings of hunger and metabolism-regulating hormones. Munching on dark chocolate in moderation can help prevent and repair the cellular damage caused by inflammation because the flavanols found in cocoa contain anti-inflammatory properties, according to an American Journal of Clinical Nutrition study. If you’re up for it, Smith suggests adding cacao nibs to yogurt, oatmeal, or smoothies. “They’re unsweetened and offer many nutrients without too many extra calories or grams of sugar. They’re also bitter, so try them alone before you toss them in your breakfast!” says Smith.

Get yourself a protein bar that can do both.

Emily DiNuzzo

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Do you love chocolate and getting in your recommended daily protein intake? Luckily, there are a few protein bars that can fill both your chocolate and protein needs.

These bars aren’t your typical over-priced chalky bars sold at the cafe, instead, they’re more like candy. Here are the ones you should try based on your favorite chocolate bar, so you can make better decisions when you’re hangry and trying to be healthy.

Snickers: Fit Crunch Bar

Robert Irvine is not only the star of Restaurant Impossible, an author, and a Chopped champion, but a really fit chef. He took his love of fitness and food and created Fit Crunch Bars aka the new Snickers.

These are more like meal replacement bars clocking in at 380 calories. This makes them great for crazy days when you can’t sit down for a proper meal. Get in some calories, fulfill your craving for a Snickers, and reach 60% of your protein intake at the same time #goals.

Kit Kats: Power Crunch Bar

The bar pictured above is smothered in peanut butter but look at those wafer layers. The original Power Crunch bar is the most similar to a Kit Kat, but they also have other flavors like white chocolate and mint for those of you who want to branch out. This snack is a great option for someone who is eating a diet higher in fat and lower in carbs.

Milky Way Bars: Detour Bar

There are so many different kinds of Detour bars, and they are all very candy-like. The bar that most resembles your beloved Milky Way is the Chocolate Chip Caramel flavor. The caramel layer is extremely thick and is coated in a low-sugar chocolate. The bar comes in full, and snack sizes fit for all types of noshing.

Nestle Crunch Bars: Ooh Snap! Bar

If a Nestle Crunch bar and a Rice Krispies treat had a baby, it would look and taste like this bar. Ooh Snap! is a relatively new bar and while it only has two flavors, they pack a punch. The double chocolate chunk flavor is the most similar to a Nestle Crunch bar, but with only five grams of sugar.

Mounds: Luna Bar Chocolate Dipped Coconut

The quality of this bar is insane. Not only is it non-GMO and made with organic coconut, but it’s also dairy-free and gluten-free. It’s chewy which is hard to find in a gluten-free bar. And did we mention it has 8 grams of protein?! Trust us, you’ll love these bars as a good-for-you treat.

Reeses: Quest Cravings PB Cup

Quest bars come in so many different flavors and there are so many different ways to eat them. You don’t have to think about any of that with this Quest Cravings cup because it doesn’t need anything to elevate it’s peanut butter flavor. The sweetness comes from artificial sweeteners and sugar alcohols whose “healthiness” is debatable, but these cups contain less than 2% of both ingredients.

York Peppermint Patties: CLIF Builders Chocolate Mint

I’m not a huge mint fan, but these bars might make a liar out of me. The mint flavor isn’t toothpaste-like, and there’s plenty of chocolate to go with it. They have a blend of complete protein, carbohydrates and fat to support muscle recovery and will keep you fuller for longer than your average chocolate bar.

While protein bars aren’t as healthy as organic fruits and veggies, they sure beat the crazy sugar content in your favorite candy bars. The next time you’re craving chocolate go for the higher protein option that’ll keep you full and leave you feeling healthier than Dr. Oz.

How to eat your way to a great physique with chocolate

Surgeons remove more than 600,000 gallbladders each year to help eliminate pain associated with it. Often times, surgery is done because of gallstones, which are hard deposits of digestive fluid in the gallbladder. As people age, gallstones become more common.

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If you have your gallbladder removed, you’ll likely experience changes in your digestion and will need to carefully watch your diet.

The gallbladder, which is a pear-shaped organ on your right side beneath your liver, isn’t necessary. However, it does help you digest fatty foods. It also stores, concentrates and secretes the bile your liver makes.

After surgery, your liver will still make enough bile, but you might have difficulty processing fatty foods – at least for a while. More than half of patients who have their gallbladder removed have trouble digesting fat.

Laura Jeffers, MEd, RD, LD, shares five tips to avoid discomfort after gallbladder removal:

1. Add foods back into your diet gradually

For the first few days after surgery, stick with clear liquids, broths and gelatin. After that, gradually add more solid foods back into your diet.

2. Avoid fried food and stick with smaller portions

Avoid fried foods, high-fat foods, foods with strong odors and gas-causing foods. You should also stick to small, frequent meals.

3. Skip high-fat foods to help avoid discomfort

Eating the wrong food after gallbladder surgery can induce pain, bloating and diarrhea. To side-step this gastrointestinal discomfort, avoid eating high-fat or spicy foods, including:

  • French fries and potato chips.
  • High-fat meats, such as bologna, sausage and ground beef.
  • High-fat dairy, such as cheese, ice cream and whole milk.
  • Pizza.
  • Lard and butter.
  • Creamy soups and sauces.
  • Meat gravies.
  • Chocolate.
  • Oils, such as coconut and palm oil.
  • Chicken or turkey skin.
  • Spicy foods.

Typically, fat calories should total no more than 30% of your daily intake. That means if you eat about 1,800 calories each day, you should consume no more than 60 grams of fat.

Be sure to read food labels carefully. Look for foods that offer no more than 3 grams of fat per serving.

4. Take it slowly as you reintroduce high-fiber foods

Consider adding these gas-producing foods back into your diet slowly:

  • Whole-grain bread.
  • Nuts.
  • Legumes.
  • Seeds.
  • Brussels sprouts.
  • Broccoli.
  • Cauliflower.
  • Cabbage.
  • Cereal.

Slowly add small amounts of foods back into your diet. Re-introducing things too quickly can lead to diarrhea, cramping and bloating.

5. Keep a food journal

It’s a good idea to keep a food journal after surgery. This will help you keep track of what you eat and what the impact was. Doing so will help you know what you can and cannot eat comfortably.

Most people can return to a regular diet within a month after surgery. However, talk to your doctor if you experience these symptoms:

  • Persistent, worsening or severe abdominal pain.
  • Severe nausea or vomiting.
  • Jaundice.
  • No bowel movements for more than three days post-surgery.
  • Inability to pass gas more than three days post-surgery.
  • Diarrhea that lasts more than three days post-surgery.

After surgery, doing these things should help you feel more comfortable. As time goes on, take note of your tolerance for high-fiber foods and fats, especially healthy fats.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy