Healthy(ish): Forget Dry January, It’s The Chocolate I Can’t Ditch

Grazia's wellness columnist and self confessed chocolate-addict Susannah Taylor coaches us through how to give up our favourite for February

Giving up Chocolate

by Susannah Taylor |
Updated on

I’m going to give up chocolate for February – who’s with me? forget alcohol, fags or prescription drugs – I need to check into rehab for chocolate addiction. These days, I have to have chocolate every single day. If I run out, I start rooting around in the kitchen cupboards in the hope of finding a bit of last year’s Easter egg or a random Celebration from Christmas hidden behind the biscuit tin.

I don’t eat a whole bar – usually about three chunks (note the word ‘about’ here, I am clearly in denial), but it’s definitely an addiction that has got worse since having a baby a year ago. What’s more, I’m not talking about ‘good’ dark chocolate here – I can’t get enough of full-on lardy Dairy Milk. And I’m not alone – according to Mintel, around eight million people in the UK last year ate chocolate every day.

Nutritionist Nicola Moore says chocolate is addictive for many reasons. ‘The sugar sparks a chemical reaction in the brain, which means chocolate becomes an emotional decision,’ she says. ‘Combine that with melt-in-the-mouth cocoa, smooth milk and fat from cocoa butter, then add caffeine into the mix, which is mildly addictive, and you just want to eat more and more.’

What I would like to know is how do I give it up? I’m becoming increasingly frustrated that I can’t kick my habit, plus if a bar of Dairy Milk is 230 calories, that’s 115 calories a day, which equates to over 800 extra calories a week, and I’m sure that’s the reason the zip on my jeans keeps undoing itself. Nicola says it’s important to recognise it’s not just about chocolate but reducing our sweet tooth in general. She suggests changing to dark chocolate with a minimum cocoa content of 70% as a starting point, which is definitely less bitter than the 85% stuff.

‘It’s far easier to eat more milk chocolate due to the sugar and milk content,’ she says. The thing is, I know I need to eat dark chocolate (and less of it), so my advice is to find great quality dark chocolate as it’s a) way tastier and b) expensive, so you can’t afford too much of it. My absolute favourite is Pump Street’s finely crafted chocolate – the 75% cocoa Jamaica chocolate, £6.25, is worth selling a kidney for. Or Nicola suggests making her ‘Lifesaver Biscuits’ (recipe on, which contain cacao powder and cacao nibs. As the name suggests, they are perfect for times when willpower is wavering.

If, however, you feel that going chocolate cold turkey is the only way, then why not raise money for a good cause at the same time? The British Heart Foundation is running a campaign this February called DECHOX, challenging us to give up chocolate for the whole month and raise money for life-saving research into heart and circulatory disease, which causes 26% of all deaths in the UK (that’s 160,000 lives lost a year). I’m in... will you join me?

Sign up to the DECHOX challenge at

Health In Your Handbag

Yogi Tea Choco Chili Tea

Teatime treat

Nicola Moore suggests a hot drink to replace a chocolate craving – Yogi Tea Choco Chili tea (£14.68) contains cocoa shells, cinnamon, liquorice, vanilla and chilli, and has a deliciously warm kick.

Pocket yoga

Using yoga techniques to improve strength and flexibility, cardio and the option of a digital training coach, the Asana Rebel app, £4.99, has the ability to transform your body and improve strength for real life.

Bear with me

Bearwas created to take the confusion out of the vitamin aisles. Choose from four lifestyle blends: Perform, Protect, Restore and Explore, £50 for 60 tablets.

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