Everyone has their food kryptonite—that one food they simply can’t resist. If you’re trying to lose weight, chances are these infamous faves are completely off the table. But should they be? According to researchers, many of the foods that we deem sinful can actually offer great health benefits when enjoyed in moderation.

 

Carbohydrates

If you know someone who’s dieting, they’re probably avoiding carbohydrates like the plague. Indeed, carbs have gotten quite a bad reputation over the years—though this isn’t entirely unfounded. After all, carbohydrates are rather calorie dense compared to other food groups. What’s more, it’s the body’s preferred source of energy, which is why it is easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

That being said, new research has found that limiting your carb intake may not necessarily make your diet healthier. In a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that consuming whole grains can speed up calorie loss because they reduce the amount of calories your body absorbs during digestion while also increasing your metabolism. Of course, be sure to read the labels carefully before purchasing a product to ensure that it is indeed a whole-grain variant.

 

Chocolate

There’s no better way to cap off a hearty dinner than with a little bit of chocolate. Because these treats are so good, however, that little piece you promised yourself often becomes an entire bar.

In moderation, though, chocolate can actually offer you an important health benefit. A study by Athens Medical School found that people who ate a 3.5-oz bar of dark chocolate showed better blood flow throughout a three-hour observation period. Meanwhile, other research suggests that dark chocolate can also help lower one’s blood pressure.

Of course, you’re probably worried about overindulging in this confection. Luckily, there’s a very easy way to enjoy your chocolates without going overboard: break off a small piece and savor it for as long as possible. By the time that little square is gone, you’ll have satiated your chocolate craving. You can also use this little trick for anyone of your other guilty pleasures.

 

Red wine

After a long day at work, a glass of wine is the perfect nightcap. However, sipping on wine is often seen as an indulgence—one that should only be reserved for only the most special of occasions.

If you’re a wine enthusiast, you should be glad to know that it can contribute to better heart health. This is because red wine contains a ton of antioxidants, and can keep your ticker in good shape while also lowering the risk for other cardiovascular diseases. Red wine also contains a substance called resveratrol that keeps blood vessels in tip-top shape, while also reducing cholesterol.

In fact, research from the Copenhagen Heart Study found that over 12 years, men and women who had a high risk of cardiovascular disease benefitted more from moderate wine consumption than individuals who were considered low risk. So, the next time you toast to good health, you can feel confident that it’s the real deal and not simply metaphorical.

 

Popcorn

Movie night just isn’t complete without a bowl of good old-fashioned popcorn. But did you know that this movie time favorite can actually be a good thing for people on a diet? This is because it’s a great source of fiber, which helps keep you feeling fuller for longer, while also cleaning your digestive tract.

That being said, you need to shop for organic corn kernels and pop them yourself. This way, you can avoid some of the unhealthy add-ons to popcorn, such as too much oil and butter.

 

Coffee

Are you the type of person who can’t start the day without a cup of joe? If you feel guilty about it, don’t be! Research shows that coffee has antioxidants that can prevent colon cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes. It has also been shown that it helps reduce muscle soreness, which is great news for fitness buffs who regularly go to the gym.

Furthermore, there are now coffee products that use natural extracts like Garcinia Cambogia, Patagonian Maqui berry, green tea, and Acetyl L-Carnitine to further hasten weight loss. However, it’s important to note that the efficacy of such supplements are bolstered by healthy eating habits and regular exercise.

Getting slim and staying slim is no mean feat, but it doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of the good stuff either. The key is simply moderation: eat just enough to satisfy your cravings. With this mindset, your weight loss journey will be much more enjoyable and sustainable.

 

 

Sources:

[1] https://now.tufts.edu/news-releases/new-study-suggests-eating-whole-grains-increases-metabolism-and-calorie-loss

[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15925737