book review: Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight

I don’t do a lot of book reviews on this site, but couldn’t resist the opportunity to review this one as the topic of chocolate is so close to my heart. And Lord knows … I eat a lot of chocolate in accordance with my research for Chocolatour, so learning how to better manage my weight is always welcome knowledge. Especially if eating chocolate is the key!

Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight

what did I like about this book?

The subject matter, of course!  The author, Will Clower, PhD., shows us that we have the choice to make chocolate good for us by eating solid, pure dark chocolate OR letting it continue to be bad for us by eating chocolate candy filled with additives, preservatives, and impurities. Clower also keeps reminding us that we are in control of how we eat our chocolate. i.e. Whether we purposefully seek out chocolate that will improve our health or whether we let our sweet tooth take control and entice us to eat impure chocolate that is detrimental to our health. Each chapter of Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight contains the success story of someone who lost weight using the book’s recipes and suggestions. Each person provides one of their own “chocolate tips” about how they best enjoy their chocolate.

what did I learn from this book?

– Pure cocoa does not lose its health benefits over time. Clower tells us that 80-year-old cocoa powder is nearly as powerful with antioxidants as cocoa that has been processed this year.

– Adding real foods like nuts or berries doesn’t detract from the healthfulness of chocolate. Adding sugar-based ingredients such as caramel or nougat definitely does detract from the healthfulness of the chocolate and should be avoided.

– Adding pure vanilla or vanilla bean to chocolate is OK as vanilla beans contain many nutrients. But adding vanillin is bad, as it is an artificial chemical-laden derivative of vanilla.

– Although coffee and cocoa beans grow in similar conditions and are similarly fermented, dried, and roasted, what’s really different about the cocoa is that it has a natural component of about 50% fat in the form of cocoa butter, whereas coffee only contains about 10% fat. Therefore, how the beans are roasted is quite different.

– The highest level of antioxidants is found in unripened cocoa beans, which is why you see Green Coffee Bean Extract blended with Green Cocoa Beans marketed as a weight management supplement sold in health food stores.

– The natural fat contained in cocoa enables the body to absorb the antioxidants up to 50% more efficiently.

– The healthy fats in cocoa make you feel full and satisfied faster.

– Only dark chocolate is good for you. The good fat found in cocoa modestly decreases  while the amount of sugar dramatically increases as you decrease the cocoa percentage in a chocolate bar. So if you eat a high percentage chocolate of 90% cocoa, you consume the same number of calories as in a 50% cocoa bar, but in the 50% bar they will be bad calories comprised of 84% more sugar and a very small reduction in the fat.

– The average American now consumes nearly 160 pounds of sugar per year. This is significantly higher than we ate in previous generations, and much higher than other ‘healthier’ cultures such as Japan.

– Cocoa contains protein! There are approximately 8-9 grams of protein in a 70% cocoa standrad-sized chocolate bar.

– Cocoa is also a good source of fibre. There are 32 grams of fibre in one cup of cocoa powder or 4 grams of fibre in a 70% cocoa chocolate bar.

This book contains many more interesting facts and tidbits about how eating dark chocolate can improve your health and help you lose weight. Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight is published by Rodale Inc.

Do you eat dark chocolate daily for your health? Clower insists that if we are to reap the benefits of dark chocolate, we must eat it daily, and in modest amounts of approximately 1-1.5 ounces. I’ve taken to eating cocoa nibs on and in my food and regularly enjoy a teaspoon of crushed cocoa nibs on my morning yogurt, in smoothies, and in recipes such as chile and savoury sauces.  Do you have a chocolate secret or tip you’d like to share?   

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I'm currently researching and writing volume II of "Chocolatour: A Quest for the World's Best Chocolate". Volume I was published in September, 2013.

26 Responses

  1. Arleen says:

    Hi Dorren-
    I have no idea that highest level of antioxidants is found in unripened cocoa beans. Are all dark chocolates created equal with health benefits? I love the idea that you can eat chocolate and lose weight. I had always wondered how you sample the chocolate and not gain weight. You mentioned that you eating cocoa nibs in the morning. What brand are you eating?

    • Hi Arleen: Lots of questions!

      No, not all dark chocolates are created equal. the most important criteria is the list of ingredients. The purer, the better. i.e. the ingredients should say cocoa mass, cocoa butter, or cocoa liquor, and cane sugar. If anything too much else is added, it begins to detract from the healthfulness of the chocolate.

      I manage my weight by eating green coffee bean extract and dark chocolate!

      And re eating cocoa nibs: It doesn’t matter what “brand.” Cocoa nibs are pieces of crushed cocoa beans. All are good for you when they’re in this pure state. Enjoy!
      Doreen Pendgracs recently posted…Kailua is King of Hawaiian ChocolateMy Profile

  2. andleeb says:

    I have heard a lot that dark chocolate helps regulating weight but I have not tried it yet.
    I really liked the review of this book and it seems that you have gained a lot from this book. it is good that you have shared the summary and important points. I am feeling to go for dark chocolate now.
    I hope it will turn good for me.
    I am thinking to eat it with flakes and milk or with oats 🙂

  3. Totally in favor of dark chocolate, Doreen. I eat it and have never had a weight problem. That’s a limited survey but good enough for me !
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  4. Tuhin says:

    Hello Doreen,
    If I forward this post to my sister (who is a chocolate addict), the expression of her face will be worth seeing…lol!
    Seriously i had no idea eating chocolate can be that good for you! Thanks for the review!
    Tuhin recently posted…6 reasons why kids lie!My Profile

  5. Max Arthur says:

    Really? I can lose weight by eating chocolate? Now I want to get a hold of this book.

  6. Hi Doreen,
    Thank you for such an informative post! I’ve never been so informed about chocolate before reading this post. When we do purchase chocolate, it is only dark.

    Kind Regards,
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  7. Tim says:

    How could I not stop by and see what you had to say. The title in itself is a hook to anyone like me who has the ‘cantgetenoughchocolate” phobia. Good thing for me that since little I have only ever eaten, on purpose, dark chocolate. Thanks for the afternoon delight.
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  8. A.K.Andrew says:

    Thats really amazing Doreen all the positive things that are in chocolate. I’m not sure you have ever spelled it out quite like that before. Now I’m discovering more artisanal chocolate it makes it easier to steer clear of the ‘bad’ kind. Thanks for a great post.
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    • Hi A.K. and thanks for your comment. Not sure if you have my book or not, but I do have an extensive chapter on the health benefits of chocolate in which I cover some of the points in this post. But I certainly did learn something new from Clower’s book. That’s the amazing thing about this journey of chocolate discovery. I learn something new each and every day. I’m planning to do an informative post about “Things I’ve Learned on my Quest for the Best” on the site, so do stayed tuned. 🙂
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  9. Of course the book is appealing because of its subject matter! Who doesn’t want to eat chocolate and still lose weight!
    Beth Niebuhr recently posted…Little Free LibrariesMy Profile

  10. Lenie says:

    Hi Doreen
    this is a super post – I love a cup of hot chocolate made with cocoa – after this review I may start having two a day.

  11. Sandy says:

    I don’t eat a lot of chocolate, maybe because it was always so sweet, I have eaten dark chocolate in a granola bar and found I like it. I like the idea how you can actually loose weight by eating dark chocolate!
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    • Sandy: Pure, dark chocolate is never sweet. Some people actually say it’s bitter! Ease yourself into dark chocolate by having a square of 60-70% chocolate per day. Eventually work your way up to a higher percentage. You’ll find the flavour to be rich and not sweet at all.
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  12. There was some interesting information in that book. I like dark chocolate – maybe I can incorporate some really good dark chocolate into my diet and lose some weight!
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  13. I’ve never acquired a taste for dark chocolate, though it is on my list of things to try. I’ve instead tried to stay away from milk chocolate. The tastiest hot cocoa I’ve ever had, had a touch of chilli in it and while that’s not a personal tip, it did open my eyes to thinking about chocolate as a savoury rather than a sweet.
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  14. This sounds like a wonderful book. I am a chocolate lover myself and I LOVE a good dark chocolate more than anything. I use to enjoy milk chocolate but since weaning myself from those I find them to be much too sweet… so I am happy that I now gravitate towards the healthier choice. I love making my own raw chocolates and raw cacao based hot cocoa… one of my favorite recipes is for lavender blossom raw chocolates… simply scrumptious!
    valerie Remy-Milora recently posted…Raspberry Mascarpone Easter CakeMy Profile

  15. Maryanne says:

    TIL (today I learned)… chocolate has protein! Who knew. Yes, I too eat dark chocolate daily….I ‘chunk’ it up in a container and savor a few (or more) pieces mid or late afternoon.

  16. I really like the way you’ve laid out this book review, and the summaries of the research presented in it. It looks like you may have learned some new things–or reinforced what you already knew–about chocolate.
    One of my favourite ways to eat dark chocolate is to break it into chunks and eat it mixed with an assortment of nuts–almonds, walnuts, cashews, etc. These are good healthy fats, and good sources of protein. They also complement the chocolate so well.
    Of course, I love dark chocolate in just about anything–or on its own. With the return of winter-like weather today, I might even have some hot chocolate!

    • Hi Christine and thanks for your comment and sharing your chocolate tip! Yes, I love chocolate chunks or cocoa nibs mixed with nuts. SO GOOD. And yes, what would we do without hot chocolate when the weather is nasty! Try to buy the low/reduced sugar variety. They’re good for that in Europe.
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