You know you shouldn’t, but you’re craving a taste of delicious chocolate.
Your will power is holding strong, then, a friend smiles and says, “Hey, try some of this dark chocolate; it’s GOOD for you!”
Is it true? Can you really eat all the dark chocolate you want without worrying about the caloric count? Does dark chocolate provide antioxidants, thereby helping your body control free radicals?
What’s the verdict? True or false?
You decide whether to eat that tempting bite of chocolate, and how much you should have. I researched the subject a bit. Just don’t blame the messenger.
Here are the facts about dark chocolate:
- Dark chocolate is “dark” because it has no (or very little) milk added.
- In Europe (the USA has no specifications), dark chocolate must be composed of at least 35% cocoa (milk chocolate must have at least 25% cocoa).
- The health benefits of chocolate come from the cocoa (primarily antioxidants and serotonin).
- Dark chocolate is made of cocoa, sugar and fats.
Is dark chocolate good for you?
Cocoa is definitely a health benefit. Sugar and fats are not (yes, you need carbohydrates and fats in your diet, but chances are really high you are already getting plenty enough).
If you want to enjoy your chocolate with a good conscience, make sure you get high-quality chocolate. Seek a brand that is (preferably) organic, high in cocoa, low in sugar, low in milk solids and low in fat. The ingredients of the chocolate you eat can make all the difference as far as the health benefit goes—whether it is “dark” chocolate or not. If you’ve been reading labels on other foods, you are aware of how the same food can be healthy or horrible—depending on how its made. The same goes for chocolate.
Some countries (notably the United Kingdom and Japan) have strict guidelines for chocolate production. That is why their goods are generally considered superior to others. The USA and Canada don’t take chocolate so seriously. You can buy a great American chocolate bar, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find one. The trick is to look for a chocolate that rates high for health benefits, but still pleases your taste buds.
Is dark chocolate healthy? It all depends on the chocolate. Your work is cut out for you. Go forth and sample.