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Dechox: why should you give up chocolate?
Could you give up chocolate for a whole month? Dechox is a nationwide challenge organised by the British Heart Foundation to help raise funds for research into heart and circulatory conditions!
By taking on this challenge, not only will you be helping to raise funds to help others, but you’ll also be benefitting your own health. Regularly consuming too much chocolate can contribute to health complications such as type 2 diabetes, obesity and heart disease.
What’s in our chocolate?
Chocolate is made of cocoa butter and cocoa solids which are extracted from the cocoa bean. A chocolate bar with a higher percentage of cocoa solids is thought to have less sugar than a milk chocolate bar which often includes more sugar, sweeteners, milk and other preservatives.
In Britain we eat an estimated 660,900 tonnes of chocolate a year, that’s an average of 11kg per person per year!
Eating unhealthily is a major cause of type 2 diabetes, as over 90% of type 2 diabetics are overweight. Sugar in foods and drinks are absorbed by the body and cause your blood glucose levels to rise rapidly.
This doesn’t mean you should cut sugar and chocolate out of your diet completely, just make sure you follow a nutritious diet and have chocolate and sweets as a treat.
Around 1 in every 4 adults in the UK are obese. Obesity is very dangerous as it can lead to a number of chronic conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and even some cancers. Obesity is caused by consuming more calories than you’re burning off by physical activity.
A chocolate bar is equivalent to around 10% of a man’s and 12% of a woman’s recommended intake over a day. This is often gobbled down without a second thought! To burn the energy obtained from one chocolate bar, a 50-year-old person needs to walk 45-55 mins.
Caffeine and sugar in chocolate might give you a brief spike in energy, but this isn’t an effective or healthy way of waking yourself up. You’ll find yourself feeling even more tired than before when the sugar wears off.
Choose some energy-boosting foods that will make you feel fuller for longer, eg. Nuts, fruit and unsweetened cereal.
Combat your chocolate cravings!
We often associate food, particularly sugary snacks like chocolate with our feelings, celebrations and reward. If you’ve had a bad day or think you’ve already had enough treats, there are a few things you can do to stop you from reaching for the chocolate!
- Go for a run or a walk - distract yourself from the chocolate cravings by heading out into the fresh air and getting some exercise.
- Drink more water – We often confuse hunger for thirst! When this happens we tend to reach for the wrong types of food to satisfy the hunger pangs. Next time, try sipping a glass of water and waiting for 20 minutes to see if the hunger subsides.
- Don’t buy it – If you stop buying chocolate, it won’t be in your house and you won’t be tempted to eat it!
- Get more sleep – if you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll end up with too much of the hormone ghrelin in your system. This hormone makes your brain think you don’t have enough energy and you’ll think you’re hungry. Therefore you will eat to make up for lack of energy. Aim for 7-8 hours of sleep a night!
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Here at General & Medical Healthcare, we offer complimentary Health & Wellbeing services as standard with all our healthcare policies! You’ll be able to access health checks and four week online programmes from losing weight to quitting smoking!
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