Eat More Dark Chocolate

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Eat More Dark Chocolate

What if I told you that you needed to add some dark chocolate to your nutrition plan? That’s a diet you could get on board with, right? Chocolate has gotten a bad reputation because of its usual high sugar and calorie content, but the criticism isn’t fair.

Sure, after you add a ton of sugar, caramel and other fattening ingredients, the nutrition is altered quite a bit. Enter, real dark chocolate. This delicious treat can not only offer some health benefits, but it can also help you in your quest to be muscular and lean.

What can dark chocolate do for you?

  • Natural Nitric Oxide booster [3]
  • Increase insulin sensitivity [1]
  • Improve blood pressure [1,3,5]
  • Provide anti-oxidants (Flavanols, Polyphenols)
  • Boost mood/energy
  • Lower LDL and Total Cholesterol [2,4,6]
  • Increase HDL [4]

How can you implement dark chocolate to reap the most benefits? First, get yourself a high quality dark chocolate product with at least 70% cacao. The higher the percentage of cacao, the less added sugar there is. You can also buy cacao powder which can be easily thrown into your protein shake.

For best results, have some dark chocolate pre-workout to take advantage of its natural energy and nitric oxide boosting compounds. This way you can power through your workouts and enjoy an improved pump. The little bit of sugar will push the body to use more carbohydrates during exercise, which is your main energy source for intense resistance training.

Pre-Workout Essentials:

Option 1

  • 30-35g (men), 20-25g (women) of high quality whey protein
  • 40-50g of dark chocolate bar

Option 2

  • Mix your whey protein in with an iced coffee
  • Add 2 scoops of dark chocolate cacao powder

 

[1] http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/3/611

[2] http://www.nature.com/ejcn/journal/v65/n8/abs/ejcn201164a.html

[3] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22156352

[4] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17513403

[5] http://jama.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=207783

[6] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11684527

2 Responses to “Eat More Dark Chocolate”

  1. Zach Anderson

    Fred. Another great article, quick question for you. What about the chocolate as a post workout snack maybe around an hour post workout to boost insulin levels in the body?

    Reply
  2. Fred Duncan

    Thanks Zach, glad you found it useful. I prefer the chocolate pre-workout mainly to take advantage of the energy/pump it provides. The only thing I’d caution with it post-workout is the high fat content.

    It will also depend on what you had pre-workout and intra-workout. If you had carbohydrates in either, or both, you don’t need to rush into them post-workout. Whey protein causes a large insulin spike on it’s own, so as long as that’s present, you wouldn’t technically need carbohydrates or extra increases in insulin.

    I discuss this much more in-depth in this article, http://fredduncan.com/2014/11/03/post-workout-carbohydrates-why-they-arent-needed/.

    Reply

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