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Celebrate National Chocolate Day the Right Way

Celebrate National Chocolate Day the Right Way

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We’ve heard it before – chocolate has health benefits. But is that too good to be true? And what does it really mean? According to Keren Gilbert, MS, RD, certified nutritionist, cacao beans are a natural food, the problem is that chocolate has been adulterated in our society.

“The chocolate that we know and love is severely processed with added butter, sugar and cream, and that’s the issue,” says Gilbert, Founder and President of Decision Nutrition™, a nutrition consulting firm. “Unprocessed chocolate is actually quite healthy for you. If you go to a health foods store and look at the nutrition labels of raw cacao or raw cacao nibs, you’ll find there’s fiber, magnesium and vital nutrients that contribute to your well-being and mood.”

Gilbert suggests adding cacao powder or nibs into yogurt or shakes for a rich, chocolate flavor. However, be prepared for a more bitter taste than what is commonly associated with chocolate. “The sweetness that we are used to is created from added sugar and milk. It’s easy to naturally sweeten raw cacao with some stevia, honey or maple syrup,” continues Gilbert.

Further, when shopping for a packaged chocolate bar, Gilbert suggests looking for varieties that include at least 70 percent cacao to make sure there is some real cacao in it and it’s not overly processed. Gilbert notes, “This doesn’t mean I’m giving the go ahead to eat a box of chocolates. As a nutritionist, I mean that eating unprocessed, raw cacao has health benefits.”

Keren Gilbert is a nutritionist and the Founder and President of Decision Nutrition™, a nutrition consultant firm in Great Neck, NY and Roslyn, NY. Keren has years of experience in both clinical and private settings and has counseled patients with a variety of nutrition related issues including obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, pre natal, pregnancy and digestive issues. Keren is a registered dietitian and certified nutritionist in the state of New York. For more information visit www.decisionnutrition.com

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