Milk or dark, sweet or slightly bitter, there’s always one kind of taste in chocolate you like so much. It’s such a versatile food - you can eat it as dessert, as a dip for fruits, a topping for desserts or as an addition to your favorite drink. Imagine the possibilities! However, there’s always a flipside of everything, despite it presents a wealth of health benefits, an article in “USA Today” states that more research is needed before you begin to overindulge with these sweets. Chocolate contains a large quantity of butter, sugar and cream. It can break your diet and bring bad health effects if you consume too much of them. Today, we are going to show you the side effects of chocolate, and how these tempting treats can affect your health.
Side Effects of Eating Chocolate
Weight Gain and Being Overweight
Being high in calories, chocolates are a surefire way to gain excess weight. It could also cause a multitude of ailments (heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, to name a few), so it’s better to eat them in moderation. Rather than eating a whole bar, it’s better to eat just one or two small pieces. It’s enough to fulfill your chocolate cravings.
Diabetes and Other Sugar-Related Complications
We can never end a discussion on the side effects of chocolate without mentioning diabetes and other sugar-related complications (such as gum disease and cavities). It’s high in sugar as it would taste too bitter for most of us to enjoy without it. For diabetics, chocolates can cause elevated blood sugar levels, causing you to ingest more than a meal’s worth of sugar. This would also cause your body to react by making your cells resistant to insulin, a pancreatic hormone which is responsible for controlling your blood sugar levels (this explains one of the causes of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus).
Aggravates Gastrointestinal Discomfort
Sometimes, eating chocolate may cause bowel disorders such as IBD (irritable bowel disease), diarrhea, heartburn, GERD (gastro esophageal reflux disease), and inflammation of preexisting stomach ulcers. Since it contains caffeine and is highly acidic. Caffeine’s bound to stimulate your bowel which can aggravate gastrointestinal discomfort (intestinal discomfort, gas pain, and rumbling). It can also cause nausea and allergies. Besides, acidic foods can lead to an increase of stomach acid, which causes the episodes of reflux and pain.
High in Potassium
For the most part, if you’re suffering from hypokalemia or low potassium levels then it’ll be good for you to chomp on some chocolates. But if you’re suffering from conditions that would require you to cut down on potassium (such as adrenal or kidney disease), then chocolates are a no-no in your diet.
Migraine and Headaches
It may worsen migraine headaches, if you consume too much chocolate (especially the dark variety). The caffeine content in chocolates is the one to blame, so it’s best to keep your intake at a minimum to avoid bad effects.
It’s well-established that one of the side effects of chocolate is elevated blood sugar levels. If you’re planning to get surgery in a week or two, don’t eat chocolates especially dark chocolates, as high blood sugar levels are known to cause delayed tissue healing.
A regular-sized chocolate bar is filled with enough saturated fat (8 g from milk chocolate and 5 g from dark chocolate) to get you at risk for heart disease and stroke. Saturated fat is known to elevate cholesterol levels in blood, so you have to eat your chocolate in moderation. Also, with its caffeine content, you’re bound to palpitate with every bite. Once you experience these kinds of symptoms, it’s best to avoid intake for a while and consult a physician just to be sure.
Other Side Effects
It increases chances of lowering bone density, especially for menopausal women.
It cannot be ingested by pets, as it contains theobromine, a substance that cannot be digested by animals.
Healthy Ways to Eat Chocolate
Choose Dark Chocolate
If you can’t give up chocolate totally, then it’s best to indulge in the dark kind. The dairy and sugar content in milk chocolate lowers the antioxidant properties of chocolate but increases calorie and fat counts. Instead, eat dark chocolate that is at least with 60 to 70 percent cocoa as those high flavonoid concentrations can actually be beneficial to your health.
Look for High Quality
Avoid eating chocolates that use “partially hydrogenated oils”, as they are rich in trans-fat which can lead to higher cholesterol levels. High quality ingredients (the organic, natural ones) will give you the most benefits.
Keep It in Moderation
Consuming too much of any healthy treats cannot bring the benefits you should get. So, eating chocolates in moderation - just a square a day could give you a lot of benefits.