Dark Chocolate can have a number of benefits as long as it is consumed in sensible amounts.
If you’re looking to find out why it may be worth adding a little bit of Dark Chocolate to your diet, then you’ve landed on the right page.
Perhaps you already eat Dark Chocolate and want to know a bit more about it, or maybe you’re thinking of incorporating it into your diet.
Whatever your case, this article is going to focus on all of the important things that you need to know about Dark Chocolate and what it is made of.
We’re going to be paying particularly close attention to the nutrition facts about Dark Chocolate and the potential benefits it can bring.
We are also going to hear nutritional therapist Yasmin Muswell’s thoughts on Dark Chocolate as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
We’re going to break this article up into the following sections:
• What is Dark Chocolate?
• Dark Chocolate Nutrition Facts
• The Benefits of Dark Chocolate
• Expert Comment from a Nutritional Therapist
• How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Be Eating?
• Anything Else to Consider?
• Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts
So, with the introductions out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at Dark Chocolate to see where it stands when used as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
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What is Dark Chocolate?
If you’ve landed on this page, then you probably already know the main facts about Dark Chocolate, but let’s cover the basics quickly anyhow.
In case you didn’t know, Dark Chocolate is made from the seeds of the Cacao tree. It is usually made from Cocoa solids, Cocoa butter and Sugar, without the milk which is found in milk chocolate.
As well as being a tasty sweet treat, Dark Chocolate is also lauded as being quite a nutritious and beneficial food when consumed in the right amounts and sensibly.
Dark Chocolate is known for its rich and sometimes bitter taste. The percentage of Cocoa affects the taste and bitterness. You can find Dark Chocolate from around 50% cocoa all the way up to 100% cocoa.
Some of the most popular types of Dark Chocolate are 70%, 85% or 90% cocoa.
You may be wondering how Dark Chocolate is made. It is quite a long process but here are the basics about it.
Dark Chocolate is made from roasted Cacao beans, which are processed into something called Cocoa mass or Cocoa butter. This is then mixed with other ingredients such as sugar and vanilla to make the finished product. A stabiliser such as Soy Lecithin may also be added before it makes it onto the store shelves.
Dark Chocolate is often a popular choice amongst people who follow a Vegan diet, because many Dark Chocolate brands do not use animal products in their ingredients formulas.
That being said, you should always carefully check the label before assuming that any product is Vegan friendly or not. You can find out more on our dedicated article is Chocolate Vegan friendly?
With the introductions to Dark Chocolate out of the way, let’s start taking a closer look at the nutritional profile and nutrition facts about Dark Chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Nutrition Facts
Believe it or not, Dark Chocolate contains a number of nutrients which are beneficial to your health.
The nutritional profile of Dark Chocolate will, of course, vary from brand to brand. The only way to be sure about the nutritional content of your Dark Chocolate bar is to check the label of the product in question.
That being said, let’s take a closer look at 70% Dark Chocolate, which is one of the more common types.
A 20g serving (around six small squares) of 70% Dark Chocolate contains around 8 grams of fat, of which 5g is saturated fat. It’s high in sugar, with around 6g per 20g serving, but is also a good source of fibre and protein, with approximately 2g of each per serving.
Let’s compare that to a 20g serving of 85% Dark Chocolate. 85% Dark Chocolate contains 10g of fat per 20g serving, of which 6g is saturated fat, but it has less sugar, with just 3g per 20g. The protein and fibre content is also a little higher, at around 2.5g of each per 20g serving.
Here are some comparisons of 70% and 85% Dark Chocolate when it comes to the Nutrition Facts:
Please bear in mind the the above numbers are in relation to a popular brand of Dark Chocolate available in the USA. The serving size is 40g.
The main things to bear in mind when it comes to Dark Chocolate nutrition is that generally speaking, the higher the percentage of Cocoa, the lower the amount of sugar. Higher percentage Dark Chocolate bars also typically contain more protein and dietary fiber. The fat content is generally high throughout most types of Dark Chocolate.
So, now that we’ve covered the main nutrition facts about Dark Chocolate, it’s time to move on to some of the supposed health benefits associated with it.
The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
It’s now time to look at some of the supposed benefits of eating Dark Chocolate.
In case you didn’t know, Dark Chocolate is naturally high in the important minerals Iron, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese. It also contains smaller amounts of Calcium.
So, what benefits do these essential minerals bring when it comes to your health?
• Iron contributes to normal cognitive function, normal energy release and the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, amongst other things.
• Magnesium contributes to the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, normal energy release, normal muscle function and protein synthesis. It also contributes to normal psychological function and the maintenance of healthy bones.
• Copper contributes to normal energy release, normal function of the immune system and the protection of cells from oxidative stress, amongst other things.
• Manganese contributes to normal energy release, the maintenance of healthy bones and and the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
• Calcium contributes to normal energy release, muscle function, the maintenance of healthy bones and teeth, amongst other things.
So, as you can see for yourself, the trace minerals found in Dark Chocolate all have a number of important roles in the body.
Expert Comment from a Nutritional Therapist
Yasmin Muswell is a Nutritional Therapist based in the UK. We asked her about the potential benefits of including a small amount of Dark Chocolate in your diet. Here’s what she said:
“The key ingredient in Dark Chocolate is Cacao powder. You might have heard of Cocoa powder, but Cacao is more of the refined version of the Cacao bean. Cacao is more unprocessed and there isn’t any sugar added to it.
“Dark chocolate contains a higher amount of Cacao powder – and that’s what’s really high in certain nutrients, such as Magnesium, Iron and Potassium.
“The reason I highlight Magnesium is because it’s one of the nutrients that is really used up when we’re stressed, on the go and over-exercising. It’s really a nutrient that most of us are probably deficient in, just because it does get used up so much by the pace of our lifestyle these days.
“Going for darker chocolate, 85% cocoa and above, are the ones you want to look at for trying to get in the Magnesium.”
How Much Dark Chocolate Should You Be Eating?
The key thing to bear in mind with Dark Chocolate is not to eat too much of it.
It is a calorie dense food, which is also high in saturated fat and sugar.
The BBC recommends that a good portion size of Dark Chocolate is around 20g, which equates to around six small squares.
As with all things, it’s important to enjoy Dark Chocolate in moderation.
Dark Chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.
Anything Else to Consider?
As we have already mentioned in this article, Dark Chocolate is a good source of certain nutrients and minerals.
That being said, you should always carefully check the label to make sure that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients.
Dark Chocolate should be enjoyed in moderation, as part of a healthy and balanced diet.
It is also worth noting that Dark Chocolate contains Caffeine. For this reason, you may not want to consume too much Dark Chocolate before bedtime, as it may affect your sleep.
The higher percentage Dark Chocolate bars tend to contain more Caffeine, so it is worth bearing this in mind.
As always, you should speak to a certified medical professional before making any major changes to your diet and lifestyle.
Wrapping Things Up – Final Thoughts
So, that brings us to the end of our look at Dark Chocolate, and whether it is good for you or not.
We’ve walked you through the basic things that you need to know about Dark Chocolate, including how it is made and what it contains.
Generally speaking, the higher the percentage of Cocoa in the Dark Chocolate bar, the lower the amount of sugar.
We’ve also explained the basic nutritional facts of Dark Chocolate, and pointed out some of the important minerals it contains.
We have also brought you the comment from a Nutritional Therapist on Dark Chocolate.
We hope that you found this guide useful. Remember that Dark Chocolate should be consumed as part of a healthy lifestyle and balanced diet.