Bold Step Towards A Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a sweet tooth and health conscious personality can be a challenging journey sometimes. Having a strong craving for chocolate whiles managing ones weight can be an unpleasant feeling with many thoughts of giving in to your cravings or sticking to the weight loss plan. If you have ever been in a position to make a similar decision then I am glad to inform you that there actually is a good news.

There is currently many school of thoughts concerning chocolate consumption and its influence on weight gain. In my opinion, chocolate can make one gain weight, maintain their weight or lose weight depending on the type of chocolate consumed as well as the quantity consumed over a period of time.

In recent times, chocolate products high in cocoa have been marketed as a ‘healthy’ option amongst other claims. This is mainly due to the many published health benefits for consuming cocoa which is the main ingredient in dark chocolate. Cocoa is known for its antioxidant properties which amongst other things, may improve one’s heart condition, blood pressure, cholesterol level and also maintain a healthy skin. Dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% and above have been reported to provide optimum health benefits.

Chocolate usually consists of two main ingredient which can influence weight gain, these are cocoa butter and sugar. Cocoa butter is high in calories and therefore can increase ones caloric intake. Sugar on the other hand is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream and therefore though it does not provide much calories when compared on a 1:1 ratio with fat, one can quickly increase their caloric intake by consuming it in excess. Some chocolate products contain high amount of refined sugar and fat and therefore when consumed in excess causes a spike in one’s caloric intake. With this in mind, food manufacturers are required to recommend a serving size which enables one to consume a product in moderation and over a period of time.

Some food manufacturers also go a step further by developing single use packaging to discourage consumers from eating beyond the recommended serving size.

Each day, food manufacturers ensure that the customer has assess to adequate information on products they consume. From detailed ingredient list, nutrition facts and sometimes note on adverse effect of excess consumption, etc.

Consumers however have had little to no interest in what actually goes into the production of the foods they consume especially snacks. 3 out of 5 consumers may not read the information provided at the back of chocolate labels and this therefore makes it quite challenging in ensuring that the recommended serving size is adhered to.

Averagely, a 2000 caloric diet is recommended for adults. It is expected that ones breakfast, Lunch, Supper, Snacks, etc in total does not exceed 2000 calories in a day. When this is adhered to whiles maintaining ones usual lifestyle their body weight can be maintained. Increasing one’s caloric intake without altering their lifestyle can result in weight gain and the vice versa results in weight loss. One’s lifestyle include physical activity, exercising, and diet, etc. It is therefore very essential to check the caloric content of food products purchased and as well as their recommended serving anytime you pick an item from the shelf in a supermarket.

One challenge here in Ghana is the typical Ghanaian tradition where we consume a lot of cooked meals as compared to Ready-To-Eat meals. A typical Saturday in Ghana may involve many people visiting the open market to purchase foodstuffs (which usually are sold with no information) and consequently prepare home-cooked meals. It is therefore difficult to track one’s caloric intake from home-cooked meals.

However, the Food and Drugs Authority currently is encouraging small scale businesses to register their food products and by doing so are taken through the process of analyzing the nutritional composition of the food as well as establishing their serving size and caloric content. In addition, most supermarkets sell only packaged products except for vegetables and fruits which are sold in their natural form. This therefore has encouraged many businesses to develop packages that meet the requirements and go further by getting them approved by the regulatory bodies.

It is obvious that a lot more work has to be done in making product information more accessible to consumers and also educating them on the need to make good use of information made available.

In summary,

Yes, chocolate can make one gain weight

Yes, chocolate can enable one lose weight

Yes, chocolate can maintain ones body weight and ;

Yes, one can achieve any of the above per their health needs by taking keen interest in product information provided on the packaging of most chocolate products, and making an informed decision whiles complementing it with a balanced diet.

Always remember that in consuming any food product, Moderation is key !!!

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