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Most people have a sweet tooth – to some extent – so when it comes to cutting, you’ll find that many of your favorite treat foods suddenly become off-limits!
When calories are low during a cut, you start to get cravings for most types of “cheat” foods but one particular craving for most people is something sweet (and sugary) like chocolate. When looking at food choices on a cut, one of the most frequently asked questions is “can you eat chocolate while cutting?”
In this article, we’ll cover the basics of whether or not chocolate is an option when cutting and also whether it’s a good option! You can usually get away with consuming most foods in moderation (even on a cut) but what is more important is whether or not certain foods will benefit or negatively impact your progress…
Can You Eat Chocolate While Cutting?
As long as you maintain an overall calorie deficit, you can eat chocolate when cutting. However, chocolate is calorie-dense and has a high sugar content which can spike blood sugar levels and cause cravings. So it’s recommended that you reduce your intake of chocolate when cutting.
What Is Chocolate
Chocolate is made from roasted cacao beans. Because cacao beans have a bitter taste, to make chocolate they are combined with sugar, butter, and milk powder.
Chocolate most commonly comes in dark, milk, and white varieties. Although you can get plain chocolate bars, it’s more common for chocolate to be combined with other ingredients.
As a popular food, it’s important to consider chocolate when cutting. As chocolate bars are the most common form of chocolate I’ll be considering those as well as how this compares with the different types of plain chocolate.
Let’s take a look at the nutritional content of one bar (44g) of plain milk chocolate:
As you can see chocolate is calorie-dense, meaning that there are a lot of calories per gram. It also has a high fat and carbohydrate content, with a lot of that total carbohydrate content being made up of sugar as opposed to dietary fiber.
This makes chocolate a bad choice when cutting, as it’s calorie-dense but not necessarily nutrient-dense which is a major issue when cutting! There are also other factors that make chocolate bad for cutting which I’ll now explain.
Is Chocolate Bad When Cutting
As I said, chocolate is calorie-dense, meaning that you could eat the same amount of other foods like fruits but consume far fewer calories. This makes it a bad choice when cutting because it will increase your total calorie consumption without leaving you feeling full.
Chocolate is also a bad choice because of its high sugar content. Sugar is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, causing a spike in blood sugar levels. This spike means you’ll crave more sugar and can lead to overeating.
So, I wouldn’t recommend chocolate when cutting because it’s likely to leave you still feeling hungry and craving more chocolate.
However, if you do find that you’re craving chocolate when you’re cutting, then take a look at the section on how you can eat chocolate and still lose weight.
Will One Chocolate Bar Ruin Your Diet
The issue with chocolate bars is that they often combine chocolate with other high-calorie, high sugar ingredients like honeycomb and caramel. So you can easily end up going over your daily calorie total by eating one chocolate bar. This is why I wouldn’t recommend chocolate bars when cutting.
We’ve all heard that consistency is key and this is especially the case when cutting. If you’re consistently eating chocolate bars and going over your calorie total, then you won’t achieve the goals you want.
This being said, if you’re having a chocolate bar every now and again then it isn’t going to ruin your diet, especially if you’re factoring it into your daily calorie total and maintaining an overall deficit.
Can You Eat Dark Chocolate When Cutting
There is some debate around the role of dark chocolate when cutting. Dark chocolate is classed as a superfood and is a better option than other types of chocolate when cutting. This is because dark chocolate contains more fiber, which slows down absorption, helping to keep you fuller for longer.
Dark chocolate is also said to have other benefits when cutting, like helping to decrease hunger and cravings.
So, if you are craving chocolate when cutting then it’s best to have dark chocolate. Even though dark chocolate can have benefits when cutting, it’s still important to record the number of calories you’re consuming and only eat it in moderation.
Can You Eat Chocolate and Still Lose Weight
As I said, I wouldn’t recommend eating chocolate when cutting because it won’t leave you feeling full and the high sugar content can cause cravings.
But if you find yourself wanting chocolate and want to continue eating it when cutting then my advice would be to look at how you eat it and the types you’re eating, which I’ll now explain.
You should also check out this video on tips for how to eat chocolate when on a calorie deficit:
How to Eat Chocolate When Cutting
It’s easy to quickly go over your daily calorie total by over-consuming chocolate. So it’s important to pay attention to the portion sizes on products and be strict with the amount you’re eating. This is especially the case with chocolate bars and bags with chocolate in.
A lot of popular chocolate snacks these days come with ‘thin’ versions. Essentially, they’re the same product but made slightly differently to reduce the number of calories in them. If you find you’re craving a particular chocolate snack then these ‘thin’ options are a great way to satisfy a craving while consuming fewer calories.
Another good option when cutting is to look for chocolate on lower calorie, higher fiber foods like puffed quinoa. That way you can satisfy your chocolate craving, without consuming loads of calories from other high sugar foods that cause cravings.
Types of Chocolate
Another thing to think about is the type of chocolate you’re eating. Milk chocolate is made with less cocoa and more milk and sugar than dark chocolate. Although it’s slightly lower in calories than dark chocolate, it is higher in sugar.
White chocolate contains even less cocoa. It’s made mostly with milk, sugar, and cacao butter. It’s often highest in calories and sugar content so is probably the worst variety to eat when cutting.
So, although dark chocolate might be slightly higher in calories than milk chocolate, dark chocolate is still a better option when cutting.
Chocolate Alternative When Cutting
While dark chocolate is likely the best option when it comes to having chocolate when cutting, there is a better option – protein bars.
Now, you still need to be very careful when tracking calories as most protein bars seem like the obvious “healthy alternative” but when you look into the nutritional information, they contain just as many calories as a regular chocolate bar!
A Mars bar for example contains the following nutritional information for a 51g bar:
Calories – 228kcal
Protein – 2.2g
Fat – 8.5g
Carbohydrates – 35.3g
A 57g Protein Mars Bar in comparison has the following nutritional information:
Calories – 351kcal
Protein – 33g
Fat – 8.1g
Carbohydrates – 39g
As you can see, the protein Mars bar actually has more calories so would definitely be the worse choice when cutting, especially considering it has more carbs.
Therefore, you need to be careful when selecting a protein bar option but, in general, the best option on the market at the minute (in my opinion) is the Grenade Carb Killa bar.
There is a range of flavors but all have 20g+ protein, 2g or less sugar, and are all between 200-250kcal which is in line with a standard chocolate bar but much better on the macronutrient front.
When looking to make optimal progress, you’ll want to make the best macro choices so when craving chocolate bars on a cut, a Carb Killa or alternative is definitely going to be a good option to consider.
I’ve covered multiple foods/drinks that you can/can’t eat when cutting and the answer is always going to be – it depends. There are definitely better food choices than others when cutting and this primarily comes down to foods that are the most nutrient-dense to support training, recovery, and appetite suppression.
Chocolate bars are high-sugar foods which mean they don’t satisfy the appetite, take a relatively large proportion of your daily calories, and also don’t have very favorable macro ratios. Therefore, to get a sugar fix you are best to eat chocolate when cutting but a more macro-friendly alternative like a protein bar.
Whatever you choose to consume, just ensure it fits your daily calorie target and you should still be fine to eat it when cutting!