Runners understand that for long distance stamina, energy foods that can be quickly processed and digested by the body are essential. They give you a boost of fuel and can raise morale when your legs start dragging. While sports-centric energy gels have their place in competitive racing, sometimes all you want is the satisfying bite of something familiar.
For many running enthusiasts, chocolates are high on the list of satisfying pre and post-run fuels. Yet have you ever wondered why they seem to do such a good job at energising you before you exercise, and perking you up after a training session?
The energising powers of your favourite snack food comes from caffeine, theobromine and tryptophan, which can be found in good quality chocolates. It can also keep you calm, as trytophan is a precursor to serotonin, a mood-stabilising compound.
You’ll want dark chocolate for the best results though, as it also increases nitric acid levels to help control blood pressure, and it has antioxidant properties. Still, for those that prefer milk chocolate, you'll still get many benefits so don't let your preferences get in the way.
The high levels of added sugars in some chocolate brands are a concern for runners that may be on low sugar diets or simply don’t want to have a high intake of sugars, so The Belgian Chocolate Group has something that will make you smile. Literally named from the country of origin, the confectioner trades on the fact that the small European country is quite chocolate obsessed. Production of chocolate in Belgium has a 400-year history, and The Belgian Chocolate Group is situated at two facilities east of the city of Antwerp, in Herentals and Olen.
Their wide range of chocolate products include a range that have no added sugars, which is great news for people that want to avoid the consumption of more sugars than necessary. The Belgian Group state that the range is the perfect option for consumers with sugar-level related health conditions like diabetes, but still wish to enjoy the awesome satisfaction of chocolate bars.Theoretically, when eaten in moderation, the caffeine and sugar in chocolate won't lead to an energy crash after the boost has worn off, but as a general rule, the darker the chocolate, and the less sugar it has, the more energy-boosting potential it has.
If you’re expecting some sort of bitter tasting snack, you’ll be surprised. The Belgian’s ‘no added sugar’ options taste sweetly pleasant, but without the overly saccharine aftertaste of other commercial brands.
The company explains that The Belgian’s ‘No Sugar Added’ chocolates taste just like regular chocolate due to the flavours in the natural occurring ingredients and the moderate inclusion of maltitol, which is a natural sweetener derived from fruits and vegetables, and has half the calories of cane sugar.
Other benefits of maltitol is that it don’t cause cavities or tooth decay like other sweeteners and it does not have the unpleasant aftertaste that other sugar substitutes tend to have.
This just goes to show that natural foods are highly palatable even without having to heap in additional sugars.
As far as delicious energy foods go, low-sugar chocolates are as good as it gets.
The Seven Flavours of Fun
The Belgian Chocolate Group’s range of chocolates with no added sugars can be found in original dark, 70% dark, dark chocolate with almonds, dark chocolate with green tea, dark chocolate with superfruit, milk chocolate with hazelnuts, and original milk chocolate varieties in Singapore.
Where to buy
Packaged in slim 100g bars for easy portability and sectioning, they can be purchased in Singapore at NTUC, Cold Storage, The Cocoa Tree, Choc Spot, and many other supermarkets, at prices low enough to surprise you.