Eight million Brits admit to enjoying it on a daily basis, and for women in particular it evokes feelings of satisfaction and pleasure. Some like it hot, most like it hard, I personally like it on a Saturday night... as a treat. Obviously I'm talking about chocolate.
A poll by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) recently revealed that almost half of us have hidden wrappers, over 40 percent lie to a partner about its' consumption and many of those asked said they would find it harder to give up chocolate than caffeine or alcohol. Studies have linked the effects of eating chocolate to the same high as those created by taking drugs or having sex, and for some individuals the cravings become uncontrollable and chocolate becomes an addiciton.
There are admittedly some advantages to eating chocolate. Good quality chocolate, particularly of the dark variety, when containing at least 70% cocoa has some nutritional benefit. However, most of the chocolate we eat is high in fat and even worse, in sugar. Over-consumption can contribute to obesity which may lead to health issues including heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure.
To raise awareness of the effects of eating too much chocolate the BHF have launched the DeChox campaign with Coronation Street's Kym Marsh heading the cause. In the same vein as 'Stoptober' in which participants were encouraged to give up cigarettes, and 'Sober for October', where the forbidden vice was alcohol, those who sign up to DeChox must go cold turkey on chocolate this March. Participants will go without for the whole of the month and donate sponsor money raised to the BHF.
The BHF have kindly come up with 7 tips to help curb those cravings; here are their suggestions:
1. Drink a glass of water, this helps to fill you up and take your mind off those cravings.
2. Go for a walk, even if it’s just to the printer and back! By thinking about something else
you will soon forget about those pesky cravings.
3. Chew sugar-free gum, so the next time you find yourself reaching for a sweet treat pop a piece of gum instead. Chewing gum can help decrease cravings and consumption of sweet foods. 4. Try something bitter, hot or sour to overwhelm the sweetness craving; we find a glass of lemon water works every time. 5. Keep fruit handy for when those chocolate cravings hit. Swapping out the chocolate for some fruit will mean that you get fibre and nutrients as well as your sweet fix. 6. Eat regularly, long gaps between means may mean you end up snacking on sugary/chocolately foods. 7. Eat more protein, more often than not our bodies are trying to tell us we are craving something sweet when what it really needs is more protein.
If you are up for a challenge then visit the British Heart Foundation and sign up for DeChox http://dechox.bhf.org.uk
You may even lose a few unwanted pounds in the process!
Louise Appel, Personal Trainer.
LLouise Appel Personal Trainer, St John's Wood & Personal Trainer Maida Vale offers customised, individual Personal Training and Pilates at Lords Cricket Ground, St John's Wood. Personal Trainer Harpenden & Personal Trainer St Albans is located at EsTR Fitness.