Here are a few interesting bits of trivia to amaze your family and friends with over this Easter break!
1. One measly gram of chocolate takes one minute of brisk walking to burn off. That’s right. Your exercise prescription is kindly written on the egg’s foil wrapper (read “grams” as “minutes of moderate intensity exercise”). And brisk means brisk. Ambling on your walk can nearly double the time required to burn the same amount of calories.
2. You are less likely to overindulge on chocolates when your hunger has been satisfied. If you are feeling peckish in between meals, grab a fresh juicy piece of fruit or a tub of yoghurt first, wait 15 minutes then enjoy a bite of chocolate.
3. Take your time to savour the flavour of good quality chocolate and you are likely to eat less. If you have to practice your egg eating before Sunday, work on your egg eating technique. Chocolate connoisseurs recommend letting dark chocolate sit in your mouth for a few seconds to release the initial flavours and aromas of the chocolate. They then say to chew it a few times to release secondary aromas before letting it rest against the roof of your mouth to experience the complete range of flavours. Master the technique to savour the chocolate experience without needing copious amounts.
4. There are lots of good reasons to choose dark chocolate over white or milk eggs for family and friends.
- The increased quantities of cocoa, and more specifically polyphenol flavenoids, found in the darker varieties of chocolate provide benefits to the heart by increasing “good” cholesterol levels in the blood and providing temporary reductions in blood pressure.
- Flavenoids are also antioxidants and can help our body repair damage.
- Research also shows that dark chocolate may be significantly more filling than milk chocolate, lessening our craving for sweet, salty and fatty foods.
5. The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat. Saturated fats generally increase our LDL “bad” cholesterol levels, however research shows that stearic acid neither raises nor lowers cholesterol.
6. Chocolate is a source of caffeine but in the context of other caffeine containing food sources, it rates quite low in the caffeine stakes. Forty-five grams of milk chocolate provides under ten milligrams of caffeine. One cup of coffee contains between 65 – 150 mg of caffeine, cola around 40 – 50 mg of caffeine and decaffeinated coffee around six mg of caffeine per cup. However, if you are sensitive to caffeine or don’t usually have any (i.e. children) then it is a very good idea to ration it out over the coming weeks. The side-effects of too much caffeine can be headaches, restlessness, insomnia and nausea.
7. And finally, there is yet another good reason to get out an enjoy the autumn sunshine. A 15-minute walk was found to cut snacking on chocolate at work by half. Research out of the University of Exeter found that, regardless of stress levels, workers ate only half as much chocolate as they normally would after this short burst of physical activity. So get out there!!
Happy Easter everyone!
From all the My Nutrition Clinic team xx