“My wife said, ‘Take me in your arms and whisper something soft and sweet.’ I said, ‘chocolate fudge.'” – Tommy Cooper
Chocolate. As a woman, I have a specific love for this nectar of the gods. And while hormones definitely play a role in some chocolate cravings, it’s also been proven that there are other bodily systems that scream out for it as well!
Chocolate can improve your mood, especially in high-pressure or stressful situations. Participants were asked to complete serial subtraction tasks of threes and sevens (counting down by 3s and 7s), and a rapid visual information-processing task to test sustained attention. Those who consumed cocoa flavanol drinks prior to the trial had overall better cognitive performance and reported less mental fatigue than the control group.
Helps improve mood overall and can help us deal with stressful situations. Well, there’s no wonder us women crave this magic candy so much during certain times!
Regular chocolate consumption can improve your cardiovascular health. Notably, the polyphenols in cacao increase HDL cholesterol (often thought of as the protective kind of cholesterol), which in turns leads to decreased oxidized LDL cholesterol. Other effects include higher levels of circulating nitric oxide, and reduced platelet adhesion,, resulting in improved circulation. One study even found the cacao flavanol epicatechin to be responsible for the rise in nitric oxide, which is essential for vascular health. Bioavailability of nitric oxide is an essential determinate of vascular health as it regulates dilation tone, signals cell growth and inflammatory response, and protects blood vessels from clotting.
Well then. There you have it. Good for the mood, good for the heart and let’s face it, the giving of chocolate has helped every one of us at some point in our lives! Now, I have to point out that the CDC hasn’t approved any of these studies as validation of the health benefits of chocolates. And because it’s sold as a food product, there is no regulation on the quality or quantity of the actual chocolate in goods. According to the Health Effects of Chocolate Wikipedia page, “Although considerable research has been conducted to evaluate the potential health benefits of consuming chocolate, there are insufficient studies to confirm any effect and no medical or regulatory authority has approved any health claim.”
Despite (or because of) these things, chocolate holds a special place in my heart. So what is a bariatric patient to do when they want something chocolatey? There are plenty of chocolate flavored things, but that doesn’t always sate the craving. The first option is making things that are traditionally made of whole chocolate with cocoa powder and a separate fat and liquid combo. While in certain circumstances this works out beautifully, it won’t work for everything. It’s incredibly hard to make healthy chocolate candies without full cocoa solids.
On it’s own, the biggest problem macro in chocolate is the fat. And you often see the fat content go up as the carb count goes down. So (in my option) the best option is to have control over what exactly goes into your chocolates. There is naturally a small amount of protein in chocolate, but by making our own candies, we can drastically increase that while controlling the amount of carbohydrates and and quality of the fats. The one warning I will give is that I haven’t found a type of protein that will go into chocolate without giving it a slightly grainy texture. If you’ve had a chance to try Keto Wise’s fat bombs you’ll know the texture I’m talking about. Personally, I enjoy it (and the texture in those candies is what pushed me to try making my own!) but I know not everyone will, so I’m still experimenting to find a better way. For now, I bring you keto friendly, bariatric friendly chocolate candies!
Protein Added Chocolates
- 3oz unsweetened baker’s chocolate
- 1oz cocoa butter
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (or other flavoring of choice)
- 2 tsp liquid stevia
- 1/4 cup collagen protein powder
- 1oz no sugar added milk chocolate*
- Heat approximately 1 1/2 inches of water in the bottom of a double boiler (or a sauce pan with a metal or glass mixing bowl that sits partially inside the pan without touching the water) Break baker’s chocolate and cocoa butter (and milk chocolate if you choose to use it) into small pieces then place into the top of the double boiler (or aforementioned bowl).
- Using a whisk, constantly move the chocolate around as it melts. When the water in the pan comes to a boil, turn the heat down to keep it at a low simmer.
- Keeping it boiling will eventually cause your chocolate to scorch and seize.
- Add in liquid stevia and whisk well to combine. Continue whisking and slowly add the protein powder a little at a time until it is fully mixed in.
- Remove chocolate from heat and add vanilla extract (or other flavoring of choice). Your chocolate is now ready to either be poured into candy molds, or you can spread it out on a sheet of baking parchment. Place in the fridge to cool for at least an hour before consuming.
- I recommend you store this in the fridge since it has added cocoa butter to it. Having the extra fat can cause it to melt at a lower temperature.
- Serving size is approximately 1oz
*These chocolates are very high in cocoa solids and thus very dark and bitter. If you prefer a lighter, sweeter chocolate, you can choose to add some NSA milk chocolate to balance it out a bit. [/recipe-note]
I do plan on using this recipe to create other chocolate candies, such as almond bark or maybe some chocolate covered gummies. We’ll have to see what I can come up with!