The title of Will Clower’s new book is sure to win him plenty of valentines — and even more skeptics.
“Eat Chocolate, Lose Weight: New Science Proves You Should Eat Chocolate Every Day” ($26, Rodale) sounds like a laughable gimmick, the neuroscientist admits. That’s because everyone assumes chocolate is bad — which it is, when it comes encased in sugar and fat.
A chunk of the solid dark stuff, however, is a prescription for a healthier heart, reduced cancer risk, improved mood and other assorted benefits, Clower says. And he predicts that doctors who tell patients to have a glass of wine with dinner will soon be pushing a daily dose of dessert, too.
Clower’s message in a nutshell: “Eat weight-loss chocolate, not weight-gain chocolate.” The latter is what you’re more likely to encounter in the supermarket checkout line and in any massive box that comes with a cheat sheet revealing which gloopy fillings lurk inside each treat.
“ ‘Sampler’ is a bad word,” Clower says. “Stay away.”
In the book, Clower employs a series of “chocolate challenges” to teach readers to retrain their taste buds so that they’re happy to raise a better bar — ideally, one with 70 percent cocoa or higher.
“These mini science experiments let you take control over your health,” says Clower, who notes that his “horizontal tasting” would even make for a good date night.
For that test, you need to gather several different kinds of chocolate that have an identical cocoa percentage. Maybe make it a matchup between Swiss and Belgian brands, he suggests. (And add a glass of wine to the mix while you’re at it.) Then take a bite of each one, really savoring the flavors and thinking about their differences.
This will help you pinpoint a favorite to use as your “ender.” (Clower says: “Have something at the end of a meal that’s rich and wonderful and makes you moan out loud.”)
It’ll also get you accustomed to taking a more mindful approach to your food.
Notice what the chocolate looks like, what it smells like and how it feels in your mouth. When you take your time, your body is better at knowing when it’s had enough.
“If you leave something on the tongue and let it work, you basically wear out on it,” Clower says.
These same tricks can apply to any kind of food, Clower adds. But — as your doctor might tell you at that next checkup — almost everything is better with chocolate.