Think you’re being healthier by eating dark chocolate? Well, you are BUT don’t be fooled, it’s still very high in kilojoules.

All chocolate is made from a combination of cocoa, fats and sugar. The cocoa comes from cocoa beans which contain cocoa ‘solids’ and cocoa ‘fats’. When making white chocolate the dark coloured chocolate solids of the cocoa bean are removed, leaving only the cocoa fats. This also means that white chocolate is lower in caffeine, antioxidants and phenethylamine (one of the properties in chocolate which is though to make it so addictive).

Milk chocolate also contains less cocoa beans than dark chocolate. And, it also has added sugar, milk and cream. In fact, milk chocolate generally has about double the amount of sugar of dark chocolate. The amount of fat in chocolate ranges from brand to brand, but often dark chocolate will actually contain more fat than milk chocolate – on the positive side, it does tend to have more good fats, as well as bad fats though.

Clients often tell me that they consume milk chocolate for the calcium – and it’s true, milk chocolate contains more calcium than white or dark chocolate. 100g of milk chocolate contains 56mg calcium compared to 125mg in 100ml of milk, but you also get a whopping 2300kilojoules from 100g milk chocolate compared to only 176kilojoules in 100ml of milk, so unless you’re malnourished, I’d be recommending the milk!

If you’re going to eat chocolate, I’d recommend going for dark chocolate, with the higher percentage of cocoa being better. The more cocoa the chocolate has, the more flavonoids it contains which are beneficial for reducing blood pressure and living longer. But, as always, the key message is to watch your portion sizes.

Melanie McGrice in the kitchen

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