2

votes

Am I eating way too much dark chocolate?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 02, 2013 at 9:12 PM

I decided a long time ago that dark chocolate every once in a while would be a reasonable cheat. Although I wouldn't eat it if it didn't taste so good, I figure it has one of the best ratios of how good it tastes to how little harm it does. I feel normal and good after eating it, it doesn't stimulate appetite like a lot of other cheat foods, I feel satisfied after eating a bar rather than itching for more and more, it's supposed to have certain antioxidants and other useful properties, all sorts of people suggest it as a reasonable indulgence, etc.

But recently it seems like it may have gotten a bit out of hand. I've been averaging a 3 oz bar slightly less than once a day, like perhaps 5-6 times per week. I've been picking ones with no additives and at least 70% cocoa if not 80%+, but this still seems like it may be crazy. I see people mention that they eat a few squares a day, or even per week. I've been eating a whole 2-3 oz bar almost daily! Is this insane, or am I going to be ok? This is basically my only cheat. Everything else is of the utmost quality, and reasonable from virtually all points of view from paleo to WAPF.

Examples of the kind I eat:

I haven't felt any bad effects almost at all, and in fact I feel really good when I eat this dark chocolate, so I don't feel like I have anything to immediately worry about. But it's expensive, and I'm worried I'm going to pay later for doing something that most people would perhaps find rather insane! No way I could get away with this if I didn't live alone, or with someone as crazy as me ;)

Thanks!

EDIT:

I'm male, 6'1'', 200 lbs, with low body fat percentage, if that helps gauge how much dark chocolate this is for me specifically.

Also, are there any negative effects I should be looking out for? Are there any health issues associated with high consumption of dark chocolate?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:42 PM

Yeah. Magnesium seems like something very important to try both in general and also for my situation, so if I decide to abort mission this time around I'll make sure to try again later and give it enough time. Thanks for all the help!

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:38 PM

Thanks for the links! I'll check them out

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:27 PM

Sometimes a change in routine, like food or supplements can cause a temporary change in sleep. It's up to you to decide if you want to ride this out for a couple of weeks, or not. You can try reducing the dosage, etc. Epsom Salts baths are another way to get Magnesium.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:25 PM

I often do biphasic sleep, but it works for me & I wake rested with 8-9 hours under my belt. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/biphasic-sleep/ http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-conduct-a-personal-experiment-biphasic-sleeping/

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:58 AM

Here's what I tried taking: http://www.iherb.com/Bluebonnet-Nutrition-Chelated-Magnesium-120-Vcaps/21160

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:53 AM

I had a bowel movement that was better than normal yesterday as well, and felt less cravings and more satiation etc., so I was rather optimistic. But if it's going to wreck my sleep like this, it's not going to work. Maybe there's an adjustment period or something? So confused!

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:48 AM

Dammit. I got extremely tired a couple hours earlier than usual, and then when I went to sleep I fell asleep in like 20 seconds. But then 3 hours later I woke up, and here I am feeling completely awake, like there's very minimal chance I'll be able to fall back asleep anytime soon. This is not usual, and it's what happened last time I tried magnesium. Generally I sleep very soundly and require a solid 9 hours or so to feel good. Right now I feel completely awake after 3 hours of sleep. I wonder what's causing this

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 06:57 AM

Yes. A small amount of fat is helpful for D3 absorption. I take my Mag on an empty stomach, no prob.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 04:19 AM

Could I take magnesium and vitamin D at the same time? And do either of them require food for proper absorption? I usually eat just a banana for breakfast, and most convenient for me would be to take the magnesium and vitamin D in the morning. Would that work?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 04:19 AM

Could I take magnesium and vitamin D at the same time? And do either of them require food for proper absorption? I usually eat just a banana for breakfast, and most convenient for more would be to take the magnesium and vitamin D in the morning. Would that work?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 03:07 AM

Thanks for the tips. I've started the magnesium as of this morning (400 mg magnesium glycinate). We'll see how things go

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:07 PM

Or just eat more seafood & organ meats. It could be a more general mineral deficiency.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:05 PM

And yes, both almonds & dark chocolate are reasonably high in Magnesium.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:05 PM

You might also want to try different times of day for supplementing.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:04 PM

Ah, I forgot that was you! I use 350 mg NOW brand Magnesium Citrate (citrate has a bit more laxative effect than glycinate/malate) Epsom salts baths or foot soaks are another way to get Magnesium, as well as Magnesium Oil transdermally.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:56 PM

Thanks for the response! Very helpful :)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Everything points to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Which brand do you use?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:49 PM

Everything points to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Everything puts to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:47 PM

What magnesium supplement do you take? Which form, and which brand?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:46 PM

Thanks for the response. You responded to my thread about overeating almonds by suggesting a magnesium supplement as well. After I made that thread I decided to stop eating almonds, and this seems to be what had my chocolate consumption jump from a bar once a week or so to a bar 5-6 times a week. I just thought it was a matter of replacing one entertainment food with another, like the person above who reports that dark chocolate keeps their ice cream cravings at bay. But perhaps there's something to this trade off, that has something to do with magnesium?

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on April 03, 2013
at 03:59 PM

@Sigrid 18g of sugar is one medium apple. Big deal, really?

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on April 03, 2013
at 03:35 PM

I'm trying to have my magnesium much earlier, as my chocolate cravings hit right after dinner (when I am theoretically depleted and 'craving' my magnesium hit before bed). So even having the mag right after dinner, or before dinner... it's an experiment.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on April 03, 2013
at 08:49 AM

What foods to replace it? It isn't a multi-vitamin. Dark chocolate is low in vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Replace it with fresh fruits and vegetables, organ meats, eggs, meat, etc. i.e. the rest of your diet. Look, it's delicious but don't get carried away.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:44 AM

Are you taking a magnesium supplement? If not, try 400-600 mg Magnesium Glycinate before bed & see what happens to your chocolate cravings.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on April 03, 2013
at 12:04 AM

One of them bars has 18g of sugar. It's not tons but it's not nothing either (slightly less than half a can of regular coke)

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on April 02, 2013
at 11:40 PM

Maybe you crave it because you are benefiting from it?

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on April 02, 2013
at 11:39 PM

But what foods would replace it? Chocolate is pretty nutrient dense.

Ee6932fe54ad68039a8d5f7a8caa0468

(2668)

on April 02, 2013
at 10:45 PM

i have nothing intelligent to say, but try the taza mexican chocolate discs. unreal. http://www.tazachocolate.com/store/mexicanchocolate

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 10:00 PM

Thanks for the link. He says a little over an ounce a day is healthy. I'm above average in height and weight, so perhaps if I cut my consumption down to a bar a few times a week (rather than 5-6 times a week), I'd be out of 'crazy zone'

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:59 PM

I hear you about lowering stress level though :)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:55 PM

I'm not obsessing as far as I can tell. I'm just concerned because although no problems have presented thus far, I may end up paying for it later

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:53 PM

That said though, I see what you're saying otherwise, especially about such a high amount of dark chocolate potentially crowding out foods that are important for health

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:52 PM

I agree with Lumifer that the dark chocolate I'm eating probably shouldn't be called "candy". That would be like comparing homemade sweet potato fries to fries from McDonalds

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:47 PM

Thanks for the link. He says a little over an ounce a day is healthy. I'm above average in height and weight, so perhaps if I cut my consumption down to a bar a few times a week (rather than 5-6 times a week), if be out of 'crazy zone'

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:47 PM

Thanks for the link. He says a little over an ounce a day is healthy. I'm pretty big, so perhaps if I cut my consumption down to a bar a few times a week (rather than 5-6 times a week), if be out of 'crazy zone'

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:34 PM

"...eating 25-35% of your calories as candy..." Um, no. Candy is pretty much pure sugar. 80-90% dark chocolate is mostly fat.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:32 PM

http://perfecthealthdiet.com/2012/11/chocolate-what-is-the-optimal-dose/

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:32 PM

If you have to ask the question.....

  • 5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

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5 Answers

5
72cf727474b8bf815fdc505e58cadfea

on April 02, 2013
at 10:08 PM

I agree that dark chocolate is a fairly healthy indulgence, and also agree with the responses that you should check whether this is throwing your caloric intake off or displacing other nutritious foods. Other things you might want to think about:

  • Cocoa has high levels of phytate, and if you're eating good chocolate then it hasn't undergone the processing that removes them (along with most of the nutrients and flavor). Normally this is a non-issue because chocolate is eaten in such small quantities compared to grains. But a bar a day may be giving you appreciable amounts, depending on your personal tolerance and level of concern.

  • High-strengt cocoa also has meaningful levels of stimulants, including theobromine and a little caffeine, though it's weak compared to coffee or tea. If you find that chocolate is not just enjoyable, but actually important to maintaining your mood and energy levels, be aware that you could be getting pharmacologic effects from it.

As with most paleo worries, you could try giving it up for a week and seeing what happens. If you feel better, then perhaps you've been going overboard. If you feel worse, then perhaps it was contributing something that was important for your health OR you were becoming unhealthily dependent on it in some way.

As a bonus, I find that taking a little time away from chocolate makes it taste even better!

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:56 PM

Thanks for the response! Very helpful :)

3
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on April 02, 2013
at 09:32 PM

1oz of dark chocolate has about 150 calories, so 3 ounces per day is 450 calories, and that is a heck of a cheat, maybe 25-35% of your total calorie intake. Very dark chocolate is not the worst thing for you but eating 25-35% of your calories as candy definitely isn't good for you. Maybe you are otherwise skimping on your calories and making it up as dark chocolate, in which case you should eat more vegetables, fruits, meats, and eggs, and reduce your chocolate to a few ounces per week.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:52 PM

I agree with Lumifer that the dark chocolate I'm eating probably shouldn't be called "candy". That would be like comparing homemade sweet potato fries to fries from McDonalds

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on April 03, 2013
at 03:59 PM

@Sigrid 18g of sugar is one medium apple. Big deal, really?

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on April 03, 2013
at 08:49 AM

What foods to replace it? It isn't a multi-vitamin. Dark chocolate is low in vitamins A, B, C, D, E, and K. Replace it with fresh fruits and vegetables, organ meats, eggs, meat, etc. i.e. the rest of your diet. Look, it's delicious but don't get carried away.

800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

(1655)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:34 PM

"...eating 25-35% of your calories as candy..." Um, no. Candy is pretty much pure sugar. 80-90% dark chocolate is mostly fat.

33266cca338ab54cee9a2aa160f5bdb6

(502)

on April 02, 2013
at 11:39 PM

But what foods would replace it? Chocolate is pretty nutrient dense.

21b36b3de8ff31b0d41e7f0f4b5c1e03

(1688)

on April 03, 2013
at 12:04 AM

One of them bars has 18g of sugar. It's not tons but it's not nothing either (slightly less than half a can of regular coke)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:53 PM

That said though, I see what you're saying otherwise, especially about such a high amount of dark chocolate potentially crowding out foods that are important for health

2
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 01:45 AM

Are you taking a magnesium supplement?

If not, try 400-600 mg Magnesium Glycinate before bed & see what happens to your chocolate cravings.

Much cheaper!

A3c56c85290f748410a6f340ddd552b3

(321)

on April 03, 2013
at 03:35 PM

I'm trying to have my magnesium much earlier, as my chocolate cravings hit right after dinner (when I am theoretically depleted and 'craving' my magnesium hit before bed). So even having the mag right after dinner, or before dinner... it's an experiment.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:07 PM

Or just eat more seafood & organ meats. It could be a more general mineral deficiency.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:49 PM

Everything points to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:05 PM

And yes, both almonds & dark chocolate are reasonably high in Magnesium.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:48 PM

Everything puts to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:04 PM

Ah, I forgot that was you! I use 350 mg NOW brand Magnesium Citrate (citrate has a bit more laxative effect than glycinate/malate) Epsom salts baths or foot soaks are another way to get Magnesium, as well as Magnesium Oil transdermally.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Which brand do you use?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:46 PM

Thanks for the response. You responded to my thread about overeating almonds by suggesting a magnesium supplement as well. After I made that thread I decided to stop eating almonds, and this seems to be what had my chocolate consumption jump from a bar once a week or so to a bar 5-6 times a week. I just thought it was a matter of replacing one entertainment food with another, like the person above who reports that dark chocolate keeps their ice cream cravings at bay. But perhaps there's something to this trade off, that has something to do with magnesium?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 03, 2013
at 05:05 PM

You might also want to try different times of day for supplementing.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 03:07 AM

Thanks for the tips. I've started the magnesium as of this morning (400 mg magnesium glycinate). We'll see how things go

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:42 PM

Yeah. Magnesium seems like something very important to try both in general and also for my situation, so if I decide to abort mission this time around I'll make sure to try again later and give it enough time. Thanks for all the help!

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:50 PM

Everything points to trying a magnesium supplement. My only issue is that I tried one a few months ago, and it absolutely wrecked my sleep. I'm worried a little more experimentation will lead to another wave of sleepless nights, which would really suck

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:53 AM

I had a bowel movement that was better than normal yesterday as well, and felt less cravings and more satiation etc., so I was rather optimistic. But if it's going to wreck my sleep like this, it's not going to work. Maybe there's an adjustment period or something? So confused!

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 03, 2013
at 04:47 PM

What magnesium supplement do you take? Which form, and which brand?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 04:19 AM

Could I take magnesium and vitamin D at the same time? And do either of them require food for proper absorption? I usually eat just a banana for breakfast, and most convenient for more would be to take the magnesium and vitamin D in the morning. Would that work?

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:58 AM

Here's what I tried taking: http://www.iherb.com/Bluebonnet-Nutrition-Chelated-Magnesium-120-Vcaps/21160

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 10:48 AM

Dammit. I got extremely tired a couple hours earlier than usual, and then when I went to sleep I fell asleep in like 20 seconds. But then 3 hours later I woke up, and here I am feeling completely awake, like there's very minimal chance I'll be able to fall back asleep anytime soon. This is not usual, and it's what happened last time I tried magnesium. Generally I sleep very soundly and require a solid 9 hours or so to feel good. Right now I feel completely awake after 3 hours of sleep. I wonder what's causing this

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:25 PM

I often do biphasic sleep, but it works for me & I wake rested with 8-9 hours under my belt. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/biphasic-sleep/ http://www.marksdailyapple.com/how-to-conduct-a-personal-experiment-biphasic-sleeping/

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 04:19 AM

Could I take magnesium and vitamin D at the same time? And do either of them require food for proper absorption? I usually eat just a banana for breakfast, and most convenient for me would be to take the magnesium and vitamin D in the morning. Would that work?

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 06:57 AM

Yes. A small amount of fat is helpful for D3 absorption. I take my Mag on an empty stomach, no prob.

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:38 PM

Thanks for the links! I'll check them out

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32556)

on April 05, 2013
at 01:27 PM

Sometimes a change in routine, like food or supplements can cause a temporary change in sleep. It's up to you to decide if you want to ride this out for a couple of weeks, or not. You can try reducing the dosage, etc. Epsom Salts baths are another way to get Magnesium.

2
800e726cb5dff569fd8edf604c3e2793

on April 02, 2013
at 09:33 PM

So, um, what is your problem? You like dark chocolate, you can afford it, you eat it, you feel good. There are studies that show that eating dark chocolate is good for you. I don't know of any studies which show that eating dark chocolate is bad.

Stop obsessing about it, lower your stress level, and go have your daily chocolate portion :-)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:59 PM

I hear you about lowering stress level though :)

5bd7f43c7da83282bcb78e3aa33832e0

(266)

on April 02, 2013
at 09:55 PM

I'm not obsessing as far as I can tell. I'm just concerned because although no problems have presented thus far, I may end up paying for it later

1
532cfd279d793e8fcc23b9f6d91dde5c

(1981)

on April 02, 2013
at 11:44 PM

I eat that much dark chocolate. It makes me happy, doesn't cause any problems and keeps my ice cream cravings at bay.

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