Opinions vary. Having interviewed several nutritionists and doctors who specialize in the subject, all agree that moderate servings of dark chocolate make for superb treats, offer interesting nutritional benefits and, most of all, chocolate is a morale booster.
Where they differ is on when to eat chocolate. One leading doctor told me it should be eaten at the end of a meal so that it is swept up into the digestion process and has less impact on the calorie count. A nutritionist claimed the best time to indulge is in late afternoon, around four or five.
But, my favorite advice came from another nutritionist/dietician who said, “Eat chocolate whenever you feel the urge.”
She went on to explain the difference between non-hungar related urges — read “overwhelming desires” — and the feeling that we need a little something to eat. Now, if that person who wants “a little something to eat” because of a mid-afternoon energy slump and that same person happens to be on a diet, well, you know the drill, she looks for low-cal solutions.
However, if we want chocolate — really, really want chocolate — and instead turn to a zero fat yogurt, a few almonds and an apple to quell the urge, it won’t work.
“You will have consumed those disappointing calories in the yogurt, the apple and the almonds yet all you can think about is chocolate,” she said. “You must always eat chocolate when you want chocolate. It’s a psychological desire and there is no substitute. Eat it slowly. Enjoy it, savour it. Move on.”