Recently we here at Metabolic Effect released our new Craving Cocoa product. Cocoa powder as a weight loss aid was first popularized in our book The Metabolic Effect Diet and was a concept Keoni, my brother and co-author, came up with after spending years researching the cacao bean and its byproducts. He probably is one of the world’s premier experts on cocoa and its health benefits.
Before talking about it in our book, we had already had years of clinical experience using cocoa in this way. Since releasing the information about cocoa and cravings, thousands now use cocoa to control diet induced cravings. It is easily the most used and talked about tool from our first book.
So I thought I would discuss how to use cocoa in your diet, and specifically our new Craving Cocoa product. If you are the type that just wants the how-to advice and are not interested in the science, then skip down to the how to section below.
First off, you can think of Craving Cocoa as cocoa powder on steroids. While cocoa powder itself is an amazing craving reducing health beverage, we added more to it based on our clinical experience. In our experience, there are three ingredients that are better at crushing cravings than anything else. They are:
- Cocoa powder
- Branched Chain Amino Acids
- Soluble viscous fibers
Cocoa powder is loaded with bioactive compounds including serotonin, phenylethylamine (PEA), anandadmide, tyramine and others. The major effect of these compounds is to impact brain chemistry in a way that increases satisfaction and relaxation.
Using cocoa raises serotonin and dopamine in the brain and interacts with the cannabinoid system, the same mechanism by which marijuana relaxes the body. All of this makes cocoa an incredibly beneficial tool to change brain chemistry in a healthy balanced direction.
Cocoa also seems to balance stress hormones by positively impacting cortisol. In animal studies it seems to help balance blood sugar levels as well. Another effect of bitter compounds like cocoa is their impact on a chemical called GLP-1. GLP-1 is a gut hormone that signals to the brain you are full, helps the body release appropriate amounts of insulin and may have direct effects on your body’s ability to burn fat.
One aside here is that as great as cocoa is, it cannot overcome the huge amount of calories that come along in chocolate. Cocoa is cacao beans that have been roasted and then beat into a powder. Chocolate is when cocoa butter (fat) is mixed in with the powdered roasted bean. And then of course, you add sugar and/or milk and other things to the chocolate. Chocolate and cocoa are not the same things.
Cocoa is amazing for controlling cravings. Chocolate is not.
Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)
Branched chain amino acids (BCAA) are added to the formula. Many people who are familiar with BCAA see them as a muscle building product only used by bodybuilders. It is true that they do aid the body in holding on to its muscle in low calorie states and aiding muscle growth in more well fed states.
BCAA does this primarily through its impact on mTOR which is involved in the signaling in muscle tissue that determines muscle maintenance and growth. However, mTOR also signals the brain to be more satiated and full. So BCAA help not just with cravings, but hunger as well.
However, the main impact of BCAA in the Craving Cocoa formula is the ability of thee amino acids to stabilize energy levels in low calorie states. The BCAAs (leucine, isoleucine and valine) are both gluconeogenic and ketogenic.
This means they are building blocks to glucose and ketones, two of the brains most valuable fuel sources. This means they have the ability to trick the brain into believing it has plenty of fuel resources and it does not need to increase cravings for high sugar and high calorie foods.
BCAAs also are precursors to the brains major stimulating brain chemical (glutamate) and its major relaxing brain chemical (GABA). When the balance of these two chemicals gets disrupted it can result in sleep disturbance, anxiety, worry, mood changes and cravings for food. BCAAs keep these chemicals balanced.
BCAAs, like cocoa, are also very bitter and they too help release GLP-1, the hunger suppressing gut hormone.
Soluble Viscous Fibers
Fibers are one of the most overlooked aspects of good nutrition and weight loss. Research into weight loss is rich in studies on fibers and their ability to decrease hunger and stabilize blood sugar levels.
There are a few fibers that are more beneficial than any others and those are the soluble viscous fibers, like guar gum and glucomannan. When consumed these fibers coat the digestive tract interacting with cells that line your gut and signal back to the brain it has eaten. This is a very useful thing to have when you are trying to lose weight. This also decreases the chances the body will release the hunger and craving hormone called ghrelin. When dieting ghrelin is not your best friend since it increases hunger, increases cravings and upregulates the levels of your major fat storing enzyme, LPL.
The metabolism is naturally adaptive to changes in food intake. By using these special fibers you can circumvent much of the metabolisms desire to eat constantly as well as its desire to react to dietary changes with the tendency to increase its fat storing mechanisms.
How to Advice: The Craving Cocoa Diet.
If you are familiar with Metabolic Effect, you know the concept of HEC well. If you are not let me briefly explain. HEC is an acronym for hunger, energy and cravings. We pronounce HEC, “heck”. When your HEC is in check, as we like to say, it is an indication your hormonal biochemistry is balanced in a way that will allow you to enjoy sustainable results from your diet and exercise.
If HEC is not in check, it spells disaster for your efforts. Craving Cocoa is designed specifically to keep your HEC in check, it does that through all the mechanisms described above.
So how would you use the Craving Cocoa in a diet? There are six main ways:
- Preload– Use before each meal. This will reduce the amount you eat at the meal and reduce the chance for cravings after the meal.
- Reload– Use after each meal. This reduces or removes the sense of dissatisfaction many people report after eating healthy meals”
- Front-load– Use first thing in the morning. This is a great strategy if you are not a big eater in the morning and this leads to bingeing later. In this case, you use the cocoa to reduce the chances of getting hungry and craving the wrong things later that morning. (It works great blended in coffee)
- Backload– Use last thing in the evening. This is a great strategy if you are the type who requires something sweet and satisfying at night. This helps substitute for a dessert or wine craving at night.
- Meal Replacement– Use in place of one or more meals. If you are someone who must eat frequently to maintain blood sugar balance, subbing Craving Cocoa in place of 1 or more meals or snacks will allow you to maintain your blood sugar and energy levels while dramatically reducing your daily caloric load.
- Snacking– If you eat three meals per day, adding Craving Cocoa between breakfast and lunch, lunch and dinner, and dinner and bedtime can have a dramatic impact on reducing the chance of overeating at your regular meals or eating the wrong things.
How do you know which to use? This is a good guide:
- Preload– Use if you tend to overeat at your meals.
- Reload– Use if you tend to crave sweets or alcohol after your meals
- Front-load– Use if you would prefer to skip breakfast, yet doing so can often throw your metabolism out of balance leading you to crave sweets mid-morning or overeat the wrong foods at lunch or dinner.
- Backload– Use if you often feel the need to continue eating after dinner or need a snack in front of the TV.
- Meal Replacement– Use in place of a meal or two if you are wanting to cut calories without feeling deprived.
- Snacking– Use if you often feel like if you don’t have something between meals you are constantly playing catch-up with your metabolism and are likely to overeat at your meals as a result.
If you have been a long time follower of Metabolic Effect you know it is about finding the approach that works for you. The acronym of our company is ME for a reason. If you are new to metabolic Effect, that concept might be foreign to you. You may be confused by all the different options provided.
Many options are offered because we are all different. Not only will these strategies work differently for different people, but the same person may find use for multiple strategies at different times.
For example perhaps you use the front-load strategy on the weekends because you like to sleep in or prefer to skip breakfast; and perhaps during the week you use the snacking and/or meal replacement strategy. That could work perfectly for you, and you should try it and evaluate how it works.
The idea is that to lose weight and achieve your body composition goals you must achieve two things: 1) lower calories 2) balance metabolism so you don’t suffer negative changes in hunger, energy or cravings. Craving Cocoa is devastatingly effective to help you do that.
Try it and let me know what you think. If you want to try the cocoa, click the link below. Here is what people have said about it so far:
- “My daughter was jumping up & down to try it after she smelled it. Lol she loved it!”
- “It’s the best cocoa!!!! Love it!!”
- “I just got mine today. Ripped that box open & tried it. I was pleasantly surprised of the taste….SO good. It definitely hits the sweet spot!”
- “Wow!! I’ve honestly never tasted something so good!! I’m not a big chocolate person, but I sure am now.”
- “I hard core crave chocolate so I’m excited to have this. I blended 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup ice & craving cocoa! It’s like ice cream before I go to work!!! Yummy!!”
- “Tonight, I made a smoothie with unsweetened almond milk and ice and I love the depth of the cocoa flavor and added cinnamon right away after the first couple of swallows. I like cinnamon.”
- “Best protein shake ever!”
- “I totally LOVE Craving Cocoa cold and icy!!! Its thirst quenching and so refreshing after a workout! It reminds me of the fudgsicles I used to get from the ice cream truck when I was little. Yummm!”
- “I now just made the craving Cocoa hot, OMG tastes just like cocoa you remember as a child rich and sweet, not too sweet and this is even better because it’s not loaded down with sugar to taste this good. Love it.”
Click HERE for The First Performance Based Cocoa Product Specifically Designed To Help Combat Diet Induced Hunger & Cravings