Chocolate. It’s a food that makes people swoon – and often lose self-control. But even if you’re committed to a healthy eating plan, you may feel like giving up this guilty pleasure completely is something you simply cannot do.
So is there a way to enjoy this sweet treat without sabotaging your commitment to healthy eating?
Just as with any food, there’s always room for an occasional indulgence. Whether your relationship with chocolate makes a difference on the scale is up to you. Can you have an ounce of this sweet treat on occasion? That probably won’t do any harm. But if you can’t stop at just a bite or an ounce on a regular basis, that may add up to a dietary disaster.
Life is Short, Eat Chocolate
If you can’t imagine life without a cocoa dessert, learn the facts to see how to fit it into your diet.
Fact: If you’re like many Americans, you eat about 12 pounds of chocolate a year.
The average American consumes approximately 12 pounds of chocolate a year. That’s equivalent to 1 pound a month – or the amount in 100 Hershey Kisses. At 22-calories per kiss, that adds up to 2,200 extra calories monthly.
Fact: To burn off chocolate calories consumed in an average month, you’ll have to walk over 20 miles.
Although the exact amount of calories burned from exercise will differ based on a variety of factors from person to person, such as body weight and speed. A 180-pound person burns just under 100 calories walking a mile at a moderate pace. Whereas, a person who weighs 140 pounds burns almost 75 calories over that same mile. That means it would take 22 miles for the 180-pound person or over 29 miles for the 140-pound person to burn a month’s worth of these delightful calories.
Trying to Balance Your Diet?
Looking for support and guidance while dieting? Sign up for a nutrition class at UVA.
Fact: Dark chocolate is good for you, but you still have to limit how much you eat.
While it’s true that the antioxidants in dark chocolate offer health benefits, it doesn’t mean you should eat as much as you want – it still contains fat, sugar and calories. For maximum health benefits, choose candy containing at least 70% cocoa.
Fact: You can lose weight if you eat chocolate every day.
Although you can’t live on a diet of chocolate alone, most people can still incorporate it into a healthy eating plan. These bite-size treats are high in calories (about 150 calories per ounce) so stick to a small quantity to satisfy your craving. Then fill the rest of your diet with fruit, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats and whole grains.
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