On Monday I brought you a recipe for vegan brownies and on Tuesday a general overview of chocolate with a brief description of what and how it’s made. In conclusion of this week’s Food Adventure Series, I bring you the nutritional information of chocolate.
Not all chocolate recipes are the same. Every chocolate manufacturer has their own recipes making it hard to display the nutrition information in black and white, or maybe velvety chocolate brown and silky white in this matter ;). It would be arduous to go out and compare all the chocolate recipes in my local grocery store. Rather, I’m going with the basics of white, milk and dark chocolate. Away we gooooooo…
According to Self.com (which has a great interactive nutrition data site) one ounce of white chocolate (about 28 grams) is 151 calories and 79 calories from fat, based on a 2000 calorie diet. Most of these calories come from sugar. As I mentioned in the last post, white chocolate consists of cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar and lecithin. The cocoa butter gives white chocolate about 5 grams of saturated fat in one ounce which could be more than a quarter of your daily intake of saturated fat for one day. According to the American Heart Association, saturated fat may increase your blood cholesterol and should be limited to less than 7% of your daily calories.
Again, according to Self.com, one ounce of milk chocolate, is similar in all aspects to white chocolate, except, of course, the addition of the chocolate liquor, the numbers are just slightly less in count. Obviously there is some calcium in milk chocolate totaling to about 6% of your daily intake. Calcium is a good thing and the body needs it but more about that later. One of the aspects I didn’t touch on in white chocolate is carbohydrates. Both white and milk chocolate have similar amounts of carbohydrates, about 17 grams. A huge chunk of these carbohydrates are from sugar and a tiny amount from dietary fiber. For every gram of sugar there is 4 calories. In this case we have 17 grams multiplied by 4 calories = 68 calories just from sugar. Once again, the American Heart Association tells us that women should consume no more than 100 calories per day in extra added sugar and men should consume no more than 150.
Dark surprisingly is not far off from the other two chocolate options when taking into account calories and saturated fat. The numbers are comparable. Where dark chocolate wins over is the amount of sugar used. Dark chocolate only has about 10 grams of sugar and I’m sure if the chocolate has a higher percentage of cacao, the sugar will decrease even further. Also, according to Self.com, dark chocolate is a good source of copper and manganese. But let’s get to the stuff we’ve all heard dark chocolate is good for: heart health. The Journal of the American Medical Association did a study between 2005 and 2006 and in 2007 published the results that dark chocolate may reduce blood pressure. A test group of 44 adults ages 56 -73 with stage 1 hypertension or upper-range prehypertension were given dark chocolate and white chocolate for 18 weeks. The testing showed that poly-phenols/antioxidants in dark chocolate reduced the blood pressure and hypertension while white chocolate showed no change. This doesn’t mean to go crazy eating dark chocolate if you have high blood pressure. Eat dark chocolate in moderation and savor it. After all, cacao was once called “food of the gods.”
Here’s a tid bit of info for you too – do not eat dark chocolate with milk. A study was done by Mauro Serafini, PhD, and colleagues of Italy’s National Institute for Food and Nutrition Research in Rome, stating that dark chocolate contains antioxidants which consume free radicals that could be harmful to our health. (Antioxidants, fighting for our health! Yeah!) But, apparently, when consumed with milk, it may prohibit the absorption of antioxidants which negates the health benefits. I guess this means that milk chocolate negates itself too. Many of my late night snacks have consisted of some dark chocolate with a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk. Little did I know…
So enjoy your chocolate, but be aware of which kind you are eating and how much. If you can, go for the dark option. Your body may thank you sometime down the line.
Happy Friday everyone!! I hope you’re all doing the happy Friday dance!!
Much love 🙂