The Dechox challenge: 5 reasons you should give up chocolate in March

Giving up chocolate
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A new survey by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has found that more than two-fifths of Brits confess to being chocoholics, and as many as 45 per cent would really struggle to try and give up the chocolate if push came to Crunch(ie).

This March, the British Heart Foundation is asking chocolate lovers take on the Dechox challenge and give up chocolate for the month of March to raise money for the BHF’s vital research into heart and circulatory diseases. Think you'd struggle to give up? Here's five reasons to take part!

1. It'll do wonders for your waist-line

Whilst some studies claim that chocolate is good for us, they are only referring to 70 per cent cocoa chocolate and even then, it is advised we stick to a couple of squares per serving.

Tracy, Senior Dietician at the British Heart Foundation, says: “Sadly, with the average bar containing 250 kcals, it’s not the healthiest choice. Too much chocolate of any type can contribute to weight gain, - a risk factor for heart and circulatory diseases. Dechox is the perfect opportunity to give yourself a Time Out from chocolate but it’s also a great chance to enjoy other foods."

2. You'll experience less sugar crashes

Tracy says: “The caffeine and sugar in chocolate may give you an energy spike, but the sugar crash that follows will leave you feeling more tired than you did before. When you’re hungry, you’re better off trying to eat foods that provide more slow releasing energy to sustain your energy levels throughout the day. Choose foods with less sugar and more fibre - such as a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, a small sandwich, or a small bowl of unsweetened cereal.”

5 reasons why you should give up chocolate in March


3. Understand your relationship with food

Many of us associate chocolate with reward, comfort or celebration, meaning it’s what we reach for because we feel we ‘need’ it. But by using March to stop eating chocolate, you may be better able to understand your emotions around food and work on addressing them and making healthier choices. Great for your long-term health!

4. It’s hard to burn off

Tracy says: “Any excess energy we consume will lead to weight gain. One chocolate is equivalent to around 10 per cent of a man’s and 12 per cent of a woman’s recommended intake over a day – often gobbled down in a few minutes. To burn the energy obtained from a chocolate bar, a 50-year-old person needs to walk 45-55 mins.”

READ MORE: What is a calorie and how many calories should I eat to lose weight?

5. Medical conditions

Medical conditions such as diabetes mean you need to be extra conscious of your sugar intake. Most people with diabetes are advised to limit chocolate to a few squares to prevent too much of an increase in sugar levels. Quitting chocolate for March will help your body to regulate blood glucose levels.

Since Dechox began in 2015 more than 100,000 people have taken part, raining over £4.5m for the BHF’s vital research. The charity is now calling on even more people to take a (chocolate) break and get involved this March.

Each year, around 170,000 lives are shortened by heart and circulatory disease – that’s one person every three minutes. By taking part in Dechox, you can help the BHF keep more hearts healthy.

Rose Goodman

Rose Goodman joined Future Publishing in 2020 and writes across, Woman & Home, Woman, Chat and Woman’s Own magazines. Prior to pursuing her career as a writer, Rose obtained a degree in psychology and went on to work in adult mental health for five years at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, specialising in eating disorders. She is fully trained in first aid, medical emergency response and motivational interviewing – a directive, patient-style counselling approach to address ambivalence in recovery. She graduated with a MA in creative writing from the University of Brighton in 2017. In her spare time she enjoys writing poetry and attending literary events, and offers weekly support to those living with homelessness. Rose has a passion for raising awareness around mental illness and the importance of prioritising our wellbeing.