It’s something that all sweet-toothed lifters want to know, “Can I Eat Chocolate While Cutting?”
You know cutting means that you’re going to be eating at a calorie deficit, i.e. you’ll need to burn more calories than you consume.
This also usually means that you’re probably going to be missing out of many of your favourite foods.
Unfortunately, this can typically lead to cravings.
And more often than not you crave the most sinful of foods.
But surely one chocolate bar won’t completely ruin your cut, or will it?
Let’s find out.
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Can I Eat Chocolate While Cutting?
You can eat chocolate while cutting, as long as you’re sensible with your portion sizes and it’s not a regular occurrence. A standard chocolate bar will have as many calories as a typical cutting meal, and it’s mainly made up of high carb and fat content. In reality, if you’re going to eat chocolate you should fit in with your daily calories and macros. So, one or two pieces of chocolate to satisfy a craving should be fine, as long as you remain in a calorie deficit.
1. Be Sensible With Your Chocolate Eating
Look, I’m not going to say that you have to completely avoid many of the foods you like while cutting.
However, I will say that you need to be sensible about your choices.
If you’re looking for me to say that it’s okay to eat a bar of chocolate every single day while cutting then you’re going to be sorely disappointed.
I understand that cutting is hard.
Plus, as you’re eating at a calorie deficit and you’re probably not eating many of your favourite foods you probably will experience a fair few cravings.
Cutting can definitely take a toll mentally.
In fact, you may even find yourself in a continuous argument with your own mind.
“I want to eat this, but I know I can’t. But, surely just a tiny bit won’t matter. Stop it. Have some self-control”.
And the mental and emotional torture goes on.
So realistically, if you find yourself going through this then just eat some chocolate.
You’ll probably find that it will do you some good.
As soon as you satisfy that craving you’ll feel a lot happier and content.
And you’re more likely to approach your cut with new-found enthusiasm.
With that being said, you don’t want to turn this into a regular habit, although I see no harm with scheduling in a chocolate treat now and then.
Additionally, you’ll want to fit your chocolate eating in with your daily calories and macros.
If you can do that then eating chocolate won’t take any toll on your cutting phase.
But, you should obviously ensure that the vast majority of your calories come from healthy and whole foods.
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2. Can You Control Your Chocolate Eating?
Now, if you’re looking to stay within your daily calories and macros you’ll generally want to keep your chocolate consumption extremely low.
I’m literally talking one or two pieces, perhaps a couple of times a week.
This is all well-and-good if you have the required self-control, although I know that it’s something that I’d struggle with.
In fact, I’m pretty sure that just a single piece of chocolate would open the floodgates.
I’d probably tell myself that I don’t really need a cutting phase.
Then again, I might even convince myself that chubby is the new sexy.
17 chocolate bars later I’d be questioning my life choices and wanting the ground to swallow me up.
So, whether you should eat chocolate while cutting is definitely down to you as an individual and how well you can control that craving.
If you’re someone who can live with having a single piece of chocolate twice a week, you’re good to go.
If you’re anything like me then it’s probably best you never keep any chocolate in the house and perhaps even look at alternative methods to get your “fix” (more on this in a moment).
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3. Beware of “Better” or “Healthy” Chocolate
I haven’t really spoken of the nutritional content of chocolate so far.
But, trust me, it doesn’t make for particularly good reading.
Let’s not dress it up, chocolate is always going to contain fat, carbohydrates, and sugar.
The amounts will vary depending on the type of chocolate you’re consuming.
This leads me nicely onto my next point, “healthy chocolate”
You’ll typically hear that dark chocolate is better for you than milk or white chocolate.
Now, while this may be true, it’s not really the type of “better” that will make a difference to your cut.
Dark chocolate is definitely higher in antioxidants, which are said to reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease or stroke.
Plus, dark chocolate is better for your skin and cognitive function.
However, this is dark chocolate that typically has a cacao percentage of 70-85% and not your average bar of chocolate off the shelf.
With that being said, these various health benefits have very little to do with reducing calorie intake.
In fact, dark chocolate will generally have more calories per gram than milk chocolate.
Admittedly, the higher the cacao percentage, the lower the carbohydrate and sugar content, although fat content is higher.
So, don’t be fooled into thinking that it’s okay to eat “healthy chocolate”.
Remember, cutting is all about eating at a calorie deficit.
4. Get Your Chocolate Fix Elsewhere
This is probably going to sound a bit lame to some of you, but it’s definitely gotten me out of a “fix”.
As I’ve mentioned, I’m more than likely to go on a binge if I go anywhere near even one piece of chocolate.
Therefore, it’s easier for me to just find an alternative.
Admittedly, it’s not exactly the same as chowing down on a chocolate bar, but it has certainly helped me with a craving.
My first recommendation would be an instant hot chocolate drink.
I’ll generally just mix with hot water, and this is something I can get away with on a daily basis.
Many of the biggest chocolate brands have their own hot chocolate drinks.
And best of all is that they are generally only 70-80 calories per cup.
As I say, it’s not 100% the same thing.
However, if I can enjoy the same aroma and flavour of a 500-calorie chocolate bar for just 70 calories then I’m doing it.
Another alternative is simply to use a chocolate-flavoured protein powder.
Once again, very low in calories, typically 100 calories per scoop.
Plus, you get a good hit of 20-25g of protein and other great muscle-building and recovery ingredients.
With that being said, be wary of the type and brand of protein powder, as some are packed with sugar and artificial sweeteners.
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Trust me when I say that after a few days of protein shakes and hot chocolate drinks the cravings are satisfied.
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5. One Day Doesn’t Make or Ruin a Cut
I think it’s important to state that you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself if you do indulge in chocolate.
In fact, I’d even go as far to say that if you have a chocolate binge (like me) for a day then you shouldn’t overly worry.
I’ve already mentioned that you don’t want to make chocolate consumption a regular thing.
So, it should be viewed as a treat.
However, one “bad” day does not make an entire cut.
What I mean by this is that cutting (and bulking for that matter) is a long-term phase.
For most of us, we;re going to be spending a good number of weeks, or even months, on a cut.
So realistically, one day isn’t going to make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things.
In fact, even if you put weight on in a 24-hour period from an all-out binge, you will typically lose this weight over the next few days as your eating habits return to normal.
Obviously, don’t make bingeing a regular occurrence.
But, by the same token, don’t beat yourself up over one “off day”.
Hopefully you can see that it is okay to eat chocolate while cutting.
However, this shouldn’t be a regular thing, but rather as an occasional treat.
Additionally, you should try to fit your chocolate consumption in with your daily calories and macronutrients.
This way it will have the least impact on your cut.
It’s best if you have the self-control to simply enjoy just one or two pieces at a time.
You should also be wary of “healthy chocolate”, as the additional benefits usually don’t have much to do with calorie reduction.
Plus, you can also find chocolate alternatives to feed your craving.
Finally, if you overindulge on chocolate don’t be too hard on yourself.
In the grand scheme of things one bad day on a cut isn’t going to make a huge amount of difference.
Hi, I’m Partha, owner and founder of My Bodyweight Exercises. I am a Level 3 Personal Trainer and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist through the Register of Exercise Professionals, United Kingdom. I have been a regular gym-goer since 2000 and coaching clients since 2012. My aim is to help you achieve your body composition goals.