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Can you Eat Chocolate on a Diet?

A co-worker of mine once said, "Every person should have a little bit of chocolate every day. It's how I maintain my weight."

She said this after a group of coworkers that included myself had just finished eating lunch at a Chinese restaurant (an all you can eat buffet) and were staring at her as she was putting quarters into the candy machine for a chocolate treat.

She didn't get a lot of chocolate, just a handful of M&M's. But the rest of us were staring at her, wondering how she could afford the calories after the huge lunch we had all indulged in.

Why were we staring at her?

She was slim, trim, and looking great. The rest of us were either on a diet or thinking about going on a diet because we all had excess pounds to lose. Yet, the only person who would indulge in a little chocolate was the skinny person in our group.

I told her she had to explain to us how chocolate helped her maintain her weight because I knew that chocolate bars were a definite contributor to the extra flab I had around my stomach.

She said her mother had taught her that having a small treat every day would help her maintain a healthy weight and never feel deprived. She had been following her mother's advice and had never had a weight problem. She said she had a little chocolate every day, but only a little - never more than a handful or M&M's or half a candy bar. Unlike me, she didn't try to stay away from it as long as possible and then binge on it when the cravings for it got to be too much.

Many weight loss experts are agreeing with this philosophy - that having a little room in a diet for a treat makes it much easier to eat healthy the rest of the time.

If that alone isn't enough reason to make you feel it's okay to have a little bit of chocolate every day (yes, I'm assuming you like chocolate because I'm a chocoholic and can't imagine that anyone wouldn't like to have some chocolate every day), scientific research is showing that dark chocolate has some health benefits.

Dark chocolate has been found to contain flavonoids very similar to those that are in green tea. A few of the health benefits those flavonoid antioxidants can have are: improving digestion, stimulating the kidneys, and improving circulation.

So, indulging in a little dark chocolate every day can not only have health benefits, but could actually help a person stick to their diet the rest of the day because they know they can have a little treat that will satisfy them but not sabotage their efforts to lose weight.

The key is to only have a small amount. Indulging in several candy bars a day is definitely overindulging.

My mother-in-law, another person who has never been overweight, buys small snack sized packages of her favorite candy bars and has 2 every day. She says 2 are just enough to satisfy her and keep her happy without her having to worry about weight gain. I think she's on to something. She's in her mid-sixties and she doesn't need to worry about dieting or losing weight. She looks great.

So, yes, I think you can eat chocolate on a diet. Eat a little, and really enjoy it!

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