You saw all the yummy dessert pictures in Mindy's post yesterday and I'm sure Missy has some coming up so I won't taunt you with any - yet.
Actually, I'm not just being nice. I was too busy enjoying myself to even remember to take pictures!
I noticed something with all those sweets though - many of them were dark chocolate and I found myself not eating all that much of them. It wasn't because they didn't taste good. They were sinfully delicious. But they were filling. A few bites satisfied that nasty sweet tooth.
I'm borrowing Tina's pictures from Death by Chocolate.
I got to wondering why I couldn't eat more than a few bites of each. So I did what any good writer would do - research!
In this case, the research was a bit of tying together what I had read in several different places. Several years ago, I read a really interesting article indicating that perhaps a chromium deficiency was responsible for people's cravings for sugar.
When I went to look for that article to write this post, I came across some other articles that tied it all together. Bear with me for the science part. I promise there is a payoff.
According to the article:
Chromium is a factor in blood sugar and cholesterol regulation, and is necessary for the metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates. Low chromium levels can thus lead to elevated blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides, or blood fats, explains the University of Maryland Medical Center. This raises the risk for disorders such as diabetes and heart disease.
I've read that between 80 - 90% of Americans are deficient in Chromium. That same article included this sentence: "Eating large amounts of simple sugars also can lead to chromium deficiency."
*insert heavy sigh*
Even my sugar befuddled brain can see the Catch 22 here. Lack of chromium makes you crave sugar, but too much sugar leads to a chromium deficiency.
So, a little knowledge is good, right? But what can we do with that knowledge to interrupt this vicious sugar cycle?
This is where it gets good.
A little more research yielded this good news:
All chocolate is made from the raw cacao bean! Cacao is the seed of a fruit of an Amazonian tree that was brought to Central America during or before the time of the Olmecs. Cacao beans were so revered by the Mayans and Aztecs that they used them as money!
Okay, I knew that, but did you know that cacao contains chromium?
Okay, bad news - I have to give a little disclaimer. My research also yielded this article that cautions that eating products made with cacao will not help you lose weight or be healthy because of all the other things in the treats. She says to beware of misleading claims and I certainly don't want to mislead my Yankee Bell pals.
So, what do we take away from this -
In my opinion - moderation in all things is good. If I can snack on a bit of dark chocolate and that will keep me from running to the freezer or cupboard all night in search of ice cream or cookies or candy, then it IS a good thing and not at all misleading.
So what can we eat that will give us the taste we crave without the bad stuff?
Well. there are cacao nibs.
But we can drink it too. Remember the post Jan Drexler did back in 2013 Not Your Children's Hot Chocolate. See, Jan was onto something!
But if you're not a fan of chocolate, according to this article by Emilia Klapp on ShareCare:
There are small amounts of chromium in most foods. However, dark chocolate (made with a high proportion of cocoa) is rich in chromium, carrying roughly 10 times the amount of the chromium in whole grains. Whole-grain products still are excellent sources of chromium, as are:
- Beef and calves’ liver
- Chicken and eggs
- Fish and seafood
- Dairy products
- Lettuce, broccoli, onions, and apples
- Potatoes with skin
- Brewer’s yeast
So what do you think?
I'm going to try this experiment and see if eating a bit of dark chocolate or cacao can fend off that sweet tooth. I'll let you know how it works out. In the meantime, I'd love to hear experiences anyone else has had.