· By Alicja Buchowicz
Is Chocolate *Really* Healthy to Eat?
Chocolate is undoubtedly one of the yummiest and most popular snacks on earth. The average annual chocolate consumption is just under 2 pounds per person, with a grand total of 16 billion pounds of chocolate consumed globally a year. It comes in different tastes, texture, and forms like bars, blocks, and discs.
You'll find chocolate not only as standalone snack but also incorporated into other foods such as ice cream, cakes, and even beauty products. However, many people think eating chocolate is unhealthy because it contains a high amount of saturated fats and sugars — but this isn’t necessarily true.
Certain kinds of chocolate can be quite healthy to eat. In fact, there are numerous benefits associated with eating all types of chocolate.
What are the different types of chocolate?
There are four types of chocolate. Each type of chocolate is unique in its own way, and they are not created equally.
Dark chocolate - The type of chocolate with the highest amount of antioxidants and nutrients. It is made using a process that minimizes the amount of cocoa solids — which means that it is low in sugar and high in fat content.
Milk chocolate - The type of chocolate with the least amount of antioxidants and nutrients. It has a higher amount of sugar than dark chocolate and low in fat content.
Ruby chocolate - The type of chocolate most similar to milk chocolate, it has a similar composition but made using a special type of cocoa bean.
White chocolate - The type of chocolate that falls in between the three. The main difference between this and dark chocolate is that it doesn’t contain any cocoa solids. It is made using cocoa butter, milk and sugar as ingredients.
Dark chocolate is the healthiest type
Dark chocolate is delicious and a great source of antioxidants. It has been found that dark chocolate can help prevent chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. It has the highest amount of antioxidants, the least amount of sugar, and the highest amount of fat. Most people know and have the understanding that dark chocolate is the healthiest type of chocolate. But is that necessarily true? Let me explain...
Are there benefits to eating milk chocolate?
Dark chocolate and milk chocolate are two very different types of chocolate. Milk chocolate contains a high amount of sugar and a low amount of fat. It also has the least amount of antioxidants when compared to the other types of chocolate.
However, despite the fact that it’s not as healthy as dark chocolate, it still has plenty of benefits. As mentioned before, it contains a high amount of sugar. I know, you're probably rolling your eyes and wondering what I could possibly say to convince you that milk chocolate is just as good as dark — but this high amount of sugar also has a positive side to it.
It can help reduce stress levels, improve your mood and increase serotonin levels in your body which is just as important as antioxidants.
What about white chocolate?
The same goes for eating white chocolate, but it’s important to note that it doesn’t have any cocoa solids in it. This means that it doesn’t have the same amount of antioxidants that other types of chocolate do.
However, there are a few positive things about eating white chocolate. It has a low amount of saturated fats and a high amount of fats that are considered good for your heart health.
Flavours added to chocolate tend to come through the best when added to white chocolate, so in this chocolatier's opinion, is the most fun type of chocolate.
You can be happy and healthy
Dark chocolate is the known healthiest type of chocolate because it has a lower amount of sugar and a higher amount of fat when compared to milk, ruby, and white chocolate.
Dark chocolate is considered healthy because it has antioxidants that help prevent diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
So sure, eating dark chocolate on a regular basis can be quite beneficial for your health. But there are benefits to eating all types of chocolate.
Maybe you get a nostalgic feeling from eating the chocolate your mom got your first Easter, or your grandfather really enjoyed this weird, lavender-flavored chocolate, and eating it reminds you of him.
Maybe you are a person who menstruates and chocolate makes you feel better, and helps you through cramps and pain.
It could just be the thing that makes you smile when you eat it without any other meaning or reason behind it. It really doesn't matter — if eating something makes you happy, it is healthy for your body and mind, and you should enjoy it.