We all know that a ‘little of what you fancy does you good’, yet in the UK we sometimes take this sentiment a bit too far. Our national weakness for all things sweet can make weight loss extremely difficult, particularly when we’re confronted with sweet temptations at almost every turn. In this article you’ll learn how you can still enjoy a little of what you fancy, without piling on the pounds. And you’ll discover that some deliciously indulgent treats are not only incredibly healthy, they can actively promote weight loss too.
Why are UK waistlines burgeoning?
According to a report from leading market intelligence agency, Key Note, the UK ranks third in terms of total per capita confectionary consumption in the world and, despite the economic downturn, sales of sweets and chocolate bars continue to rise. Unfortunately most of our favourite chocolate bars are packed with unhealthy, refined sugars and high quantities of fat, as well as a number of other nasty additives. It’s no wonder then that UK obesity rates are soaring. The NHS recently released its ‘Statistics on Obesity for England 2012’, a comprehensive report which reveals that in 2010, a staggering 65.5% of all men and women aged 16 or over were either overweight, obese or morbidly obese, compared to 53.7% in 1993.
The impact of obesity on our overall health and wellbeing
The very same report went on to indicate that, in addition to having a serious impact on our overall quality of life, obesity has a direct effect on our health. In fact it also highlights that obesity significantly increases our risk of chronic diseases including:
• Type 2 diabetes
• High blood pressure
• Cardio vascular disease (heart disease is the number one killer in the UK)
• Premature death
It’s hardly surprising then, that so many of us are making a conscious decision to lose weight and eat a more healthy, balanced diet.
Chromium – a powerful aid to weight loss
You may have heard about chromium and its association with weight loss. Chromium is an important trace element that is known as a natural regulator of blood sugar levels, yet is often lacking in our daily diet. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that doctors first began noticing that patients whose diets were supplemented with chromium, experienced reduced blood sugar levels. Now chromium is routinely used to improve blood sugar control in those with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It has also been identified as an effective aid to weight loss. Indeed, Dr Richard Anderson, the lead scientist of the Nutrient Requirements and Functions lab at the Human Nutrition Center of the US Department of Agriculture recently performed a thorough review of research into chromium. He uncovered at least seven studies which positively demonstrated a direct link between chromium consumption and a significantly improved body composition by either increased lean body weight or decreased body fat.
This is because weight loss involves both the building of muscle and the burning of fat. Our modern diet of high-fat, high-sugar, processed foods such as chocolate bars, often means that our insulin levels are too high. A chromium deficiency causes the insulin released as our body’s response to high blood sugar levels, to be far less effective, thus triggering the pancreas to release yet more insulin, which in turn increases our absorption of glucose. In other words, increased insulin translates directly into increased fat storage and ergo, weight gain. To make matters worse, consumption of sugary foods can lead to chromium excretion via urine, so we end up losing this valuable element, just when we need it most.
That’s why the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council recommends consuming between 50 and 200 micrograms of chromium every day. So, how can we obtain a reliable supply of chromium?
Raw cacao – a valuable source of chromium and other beneficial nutrients
The great news is that raw cacao boasts a particularly high chromium content, and that eating this delicious superfood on a regular basis is not only a healthy alternative to regular chocolate, it can also aid weight loss and provide a range of other important health benefits.
Organic raw cacao is totally pure and unrefined and, unlike processed chocolate, it doesn’t contain fattening sugars and milk – the main culprits in chocolate responsible for weight gain and obesity. In addition to chromium, raw cacao is extraordinarily rich in a number of other powerful nutrients including vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and essential fatty acids. As well as actively encouraging weight loss by promoting a prolonged feeling of fullness, these also increase energy, heighten libido and improve both mood and concentration and have been clinically proven to reduce hardening of the arteries, reverse heart disease and lower blood pressure. In Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, raw cacao has been successfully used to treat the heart, kidneys and spleen for centuries.
Raw cacao – utterly delicious and the ideal superfood for weight loss
You’ve learnt that as our consumption of confectionary and sugary snacks steadily increases, so too does our body weight and that this is having a direct impact on our health. You’ve also discovered that you needn’t sacrifice your cocoa fix entirely, in order to achieve your weight loss goals. You now know that raw cacao makes a delicious and healthy alternative to chocolate bars and other sweet snacks, which when enjoyed as part of a balanced diet, can improve your physical health, mental wellbeing and, perhaps more surprisingly, even help with weight loss.
Organic raw cacao is an extremely versatile superfood which can be consumed in a variety of ways. Try mixing raw cacao powder into your favourite smoothies, nut milks and juices or use it to prepare a range of mouth watering desserts and chocolate bars. Raw cacao comes in crunchy beans or nibs too, both of which make a tasty snack, a perfect addition to trail mix or an ideal topping for breakfast dishes and desserts. You can also buy raw cacao in a lovely, rich spread which can be served on toast, crackers and bread, or a heavenly butter which can be applied directly to your skin for a rather indulgent massage.