Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Chocoperfection - A option to consider for your Paleo weight loss diet

When you have a chocolate craving or just want something sweet to finish your meal, Chocoperfection is a good alternative to traditional chocolate bars.  This award winning sugar-free chocolate comes in both large bars and small individual portions, as well as several flavours.  What makes this sugar-free chocolate different from all the rest is the sweeteners that are used.  Out of all the sugar alcohols, these are the only ones that don't appear to cause any gastointestinal distress.

Here is their writeup on the sweeteners that they use :

ChocoPerfection is naturally sweetened from plant fibers. These natural sweeteners are sugar free and have a glycemic index of zero. The main sweetener in ChocoPerfection is derived from the chicory plant and is named oligofructose. Oligofructose is classified as a "prebiotic fiber" meaning that it takes root in the digestive tract to support the growth of beneficial probiotic flora. Ultimately, oligofructose will rid your digestive tract of harmful bacteria, promote the excretion of toxins, stop sugar cravings and strengthen your immune system.
The second sweetener in ChocoPerfection is erythritol, which is also derived from plants. Erythritol is similar to xylitol in that it has a glycemic index of zero, but it has fewer calories and is considered beneficial for healthy teeth.
ChocoPerfection does not contain maltitol, which is the artificial sweetener used in the overwhelming majority of low carb products. Maltitol has been shown to increase blood sugar levels and prevent weight loss.
Erythritol, according to Mark Sisson in his post here is almost non caloric and has a glycemic index of 0.  Oligofructose is also considered to be a very healthy sweetener as stated in the article by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences. (Read their article in The Journal of Nutrition here.)

These chocolate bars have also been declared a "functional food" by the Association of Functional Medicine.  According to Wikipedia, "Functional food is a food where a new ingredient(s) has been added to a food and the new product has an additional function, often related to health-promotion or disease prevention."  Another example of a functional food are fermented foods with live cultures that have probiotic benefits.

The size of a regular small chocolate bar, the regular Chocoperfection bars have 18g of fat and 16g of carbs, but 14g of those are fiber which makes the net carbs only 2g.  Even though there are other flavour options available, since dark chocolate also has other health benefits, this is the flavour I would recommend.

These mini bars are my personal favourites for a number of reasons.  The size of about a large square and a half of a regular dark chocolate like Lindt, these bars are the perfect choice if you're craving just a little something sweet.
They come in dark chocolate with mint flavouring, and are an especially nice way to finish a meal without adding a lot of carbs or calories.  With only 4g of fat and 5g of carbs, 3 of which are fiber, this little bar has only 2g net carbs and I think is the perfect size.  The fact that they are individually packaged as well makes it a lot easier not to overdo.

Another reason I think this chocolate really works well with a Paleo diet is because the latest research shows that protein, which many dieters eat to keep from getting hungry, can actually be changed to glucose in your system and stored as fat.  This means that you have to find something else to satisfy your appetite, and the solution seems to be fat.  The right kind of fat will not make you fat, but it will satisfy your appetite and even cut it down to a large extent.  This is one of the reasons why when you eat a Paleo diet, which is by definition high in fat, you can go for long periods of time without ever being hungry.  

Chocoperfection seem to have all these in the correct ratio.  They are mainly fat, have just a little protein, hardly any carbs, and a lot of fiber which again is very filling.  When you look at the list of ingredients there isn't a long list of unpronounceable words so your not filling up with chemicals.

I  want to make it clear that you don't have to buy any specialty foods to eat Paleo, even when you are losing weight.  You can eat simple meat and vegetables and be very successful.  But if you want a treat that isn't going to derail your efforts, this is a good choice.  It isn't cheap but it also isn't more expensive than the Twinkies or bags of chips people eat on the SAD diet so it's really all relative.

Of course you can just eat plain good quality dark chocolate as well, which is what I myself have eaten for years.  And to be perfectly honest here, I think Cocoperfection is very good - but not as good as my favourite regular dark chocolate. But I think sometimes you have to give something up to gain something else, and this is one of those times.

Sometimes a new product is introduced that can have special benefits for those specifically on a weight loss diet, and this seems to be one of those products.  If you find it hard to be satisfied with a tiny square of regular chocolate, then eating Chocoperfection instead will allow you the leeway to indulge in a larger amount. And another benefit is that it doesn't start any cravings that you can still get even when indulging in only a small piece of regular chocolate.

However with saying that, one still needs to remember that chocolate should be treated as a treat and not as a meal replacement.  Even though on the Chocoperfection website you can read about people who eat up to 4 of these bars a day and successfully lose weight, this is definitely not what I suggest. Each large bar still contains 197 calories, so if you are eating more than one a day you will need to cut out some other healthy protein, fat and carb sources to still lose weight, and this is not a healthy diet even for the short term.  As long as you keep your limit to one bar a day, you can still make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need from other sources and still have your treat.

So I think that as part of your 80/20 lifestyle, Chocoperfection is a good choice because it won't raise your blood sugar or bring back your sugar cravings.  And if you make sure the rest of your diet consists of real foods, you can still indulge and consider yourself within Mark Sisson's guidelines for a healthy Paleo diet.

Chocoperfection also melts just like normal chocolate so is perfect for making special occasion desserts.  I have use it successfully as a glaze for my chocolate microwave cake. And in the spring when local strawberries were available in my area, I used the Chocoperfection dark chocolate bars to make chocolate covered strawberries for a party dessert .... and there were no leftovers.  Even after being told, nobody could tell they were eating anything other than regular chocolate, and it made me feel good to know that I could serve something for dessert that was very tasty but still reasonably healthy at the same time.

 “Life isn't about finding yourself.  Life is about creating yourself.”   - George Bernard Shaw

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