We all love sweets. And even if you’re very health and fitness-conscious,
it’s hard to simply do away with all the yummy goodness. For some of us, the problem lies with the
insatiable addiction to chocolate. But, what if our joy of chocolate can be a
good thing? Heck, what if it can help you build muscle? Well, that’s the case being made about dark
chocolate. The belief is that dark chocolate can increase
muscle growth because it contains the flavanol epicatechin. Epicatechin has been hypothesized to invoke
two significant muscle-building properties: decreasing myostatin, and increasing follistatin. A 2014 study seeking potential methods to
diminish the effects of sarcopenia, the process in which we lose muscle mass due to aging,
tested exactly for this. With roughly 150 milligrams of epicatechin
supplementation per day, the 6 middle-aged subjects saw a 16.6% myostatin decrease and
a 49.2% follistatin increase. So why is all of this important? Myostatin is a regulating protein that alters
the rate of muscle growth, creating a genetic muscle ceiling. The more myostatin present, the lower the
amount of muscle you can build. As seen in other animals, the lack of myostatin
can invoke unnatural amounts of muscle. The protein follistatin, has an antagonist
effect to myostatin, diminishing myostatin’s muscle limiting effect. Fittingly, if your goal is to build muscle,
you want myostatin reduced, but not to the point of completely removing it. And as showcased, this is a very likely scenario
with epicatechin and the necessary amount can be obtained through dark chocolate. However… the amount you have to eat is relatively
high. Now, all dark chocolates are not created equal. The ones with the highest epicatechin content
are the ones with the highest cocoa purity. You will need 100 grams of 50% cocoa dark
chocolate to reach the 150 milligrams of epicatetchin used in the study. However, you will only need 60 grams of 85%
cocoa dark chocolate to reach the same amount. Do the math and that’s roughly 350 to 600
calories from nothing but chocolate… per day. For some, that’s not a problem. For others, especially those with weight restricted
goals, it will be quite difficult to reach this amount. And whether consuming smaller amounts will
still yield any growth benefits remain to be seen. On top of that, it’s not entirely certain
that even high amounts of epicatechin can ensure greater muscle growth, but the research
does look promising. Either way, the epicatechin benefits don’t
stop there. It can potentially increase testosterone,
increase ghrelin, which suppresses appetite, and increase nitric oxide, which can improve
blood flow to the muscles. Time will only tell how effective epicatechin
and dark chocolate can be. For now, if you’re already enjoying a decent
dose of your favorite dark chocolate, you can have some peace of mind knowing your sweets
can potentially improve your gains. What’s your thoughts on dark chocolate gains? Believe the hype? Share your thoughts below. Check out some new PictureFit tees while you’re
at it. And as always, thanks for watching!

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