The health benefits of chocolate have been debated for years. There is little doubt that cocoa does offer some antioxidant effect. According to Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D. from Mayo Clinic, cocoa beans contain flavanols, which can assist in repairing cell damage from heart disease. Eating chocolate may also help lower blood pressure. It all sounds real good, but don't jump on the chocolate band wagon just yet.
Of all forms of chocolate, dark chocolate has the most health benefits because it contains the most cocoa. When you walk down the candy aisle at the local store, you may see bars displaying the percentage of cacao. This is the amount of cocoa in the product. The more cacaos the bar has, the more antioxidants it contains. Overall, one square of dark chocolate has more benefits that some fruits, such as strawberries. In fact, dark chocolate contains 8 times as many antioxidants as strawberries.
At least one corporation has turned healthy chocolate into a business. Xocai is marketed by MXI Corp. for its antioxidant properties. According to the manufacturer, Xocai improves oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC). Now I don't know what that means exactly, but it sounds nifty. Brunswick Laboratories tested the Xocai products and did support the reports coming from MXI Corp. The problem is Bruswick doesn't know what ORAC means either or how much is a good thing.
One strategy that MXI Corp. uses for the Xocai products is weight loss that focuses on meal replacement. By utilizing the X-Protein Meal Shake, you can use the health benefits from dark chocolate and still lose the pounds. The program recommends you drink one shake for breakfast and lunch, and then eat a sensible dinner. In between, you can snack on other Xocai products in controlled quantities, such as X Power Squares.
Does It Work?
As a meal replacement formula, it probably would work if done correctly. The basics of weight loss don't change. You still have to eat fewer calories than you burn. For some, the simplistic approach to calorie restriction is a meal replacement system. There is no reason that you couldn't use the Xocai shakes for this purpose. You should talk to your doctor before beginning any diet to ensure you are making smart choices for your body. Obviously, if you are on a sugar controlled or diabetic diet, this is not going to work for you.
Eating dark chocolate has proven beneficial. The key is moderation. Zeratsky claims that you can eat up to 3 ounces of dark chocolate daily and reap some benefits without packing on pounds. When making your selections, look for candy that has at least 65 percent cocoa or cacao. Ultimately, it is going to depend on how many calories you eat. Think of calories as your allowance. If you want to spend a little on dark chocolate, that is okay.
Mayo Clinic: Healthy Chocolate: Dream or Reality?
About.com: Health Benefits of Chocolate
"New York Times:" A Chocolate, With Amway Undertones, Networks Its Way Into New York