How to enjoy chocolate - or any other dessert - without putting on fat or getting cellulite

  • Chocolate is a beautiful desert which contains several "feel good" chemicals, as we analysed in a previous article. However, chocolate also contains high amounts of fat and sugar, which are not very good for your health or figure. "Once in the lips forever in the hips", they say.
  • Still, there is a way to enjoy the taste of chocolate - or any other dessert - without ending up with loads of cellulite or diabetes and you can achieve this by having your favourite chocolate or chocolate dessert (a piece, not the whole cake!) immediately after one hour of vigorous exercise.
  • Examples of such exercise include running, fast cycling, fast / uphill walking etc - anything that raises your heart rate to 145+ beat per minute (155+ for young women; 135+ for older women). Obviously, pilates and yoga will not be able to help you, as they do not raise your heart rate to 145+ bpm.
  • The first 30-60' after a "quality workout" is the time when whatever sugar you ingest goes straight into your muscles and liver in order to be used for your next workout - instead of going straight into your hips in order to become cellulite. This is called carbohydrate loading and it is not an arcane secret - it has been used by athletes for decades.
  • There is a simple physiological explanation for this: immediately after exercise your fat cells are still influenced by the effect of adrenaline and noradrenaline, which prevents them from reacting to insulin and from accumulating triglycerides (fat) or glucose ("sugar"). As a result, whatever sugar you ingest (within reason) will be absorbed by your muscles and liver and will be used on your next workout or for your carb needs in the next few hours or days.
  • But please be aware that this window of opportunity only lasts about one hour after exercise, with 30' post-exercise being the ideal time to consume your favourite chocolate or chocolate cake.
  • Also, please ensure that your sweet treat does not contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) which, as the name suggests, derives it's sweet taste from high amounts of fructose. This is because fructose converts to fat - not glucose - as soon as it enters your liver after ingestion, so it can not be used for carb loading.
  • And of course, be reasonable. No one suggests that you should exercise a lot and then eat huge amounts of sugar-laden foods, which is very unhealthy. Like with everything else, moderation is the key here.
  • Carb loading after intensive exercise also allows dieters to have a break from the diet without compromising the effective of their diet. Frequent so-called "refeeds" are actually essential for the success of any diet - and what better way to take a SMALL break from the diet than eating the forbidden foods within the 30-60' "window of opportunity" that intensive exercise offers?
  • So go on, hit the gym, the pool or the park, have an hour of intensive exercise and then reward yourself with SOME chocolate immediately after! Satisfy your addiction without undermining your beauty ;)
  • Note: Obviously, if you suffer from diabetes or any other disease or if you are on a restrictive diet for any reason, please consult your healthcare practitioner before changing your diet in any way.