Chocolate is one of the foods that generate the most controversy in nutrition. Because there are several types, it cannot be evident if it is healthy or not.
While all types of chocolate contain cocoa in some form, some variants have excess sugar in their composition.
This article looks at what types of chocolate exist and determines which one is better.
What is chocolate?
The original chocolate is a food composed of a paste derived from cocoa beans, sugar, and milk.
The word chocolate is a derivative of the Aztec word xocolatl, whose translation is “sparkling water.”
All types of chocolate contain cocoa in some form. Cocoa beans are particularly rich in polyphenols and catechins, two types of molecules with antioxidant properties.
For a food to be considered chocolate, the fat content other than cocoa butter must not exceed 5%. (3)
When the product is based on other fats, such as hydrogenated vegetable fats, it is mandatory to clarify it on its packaging. These types of chocolate can be listed as simile chocolate or covered chocolate.
What is the origin of chocolate?
The origin of chocolate arose in the Aztec civilization, where this food did not exist, but the base was used to prepare a bitter energy drink.
Although it is not comparable to the types of sweet chocolate that we see today, its base was indeed cocoa beans. Initially, the chocolate fruit was symbolically equivalent to the human heart. The liquid prepared by the Aztecs represented the blood that circulated within the body.
Later, the Europeans modified the preparation of this bitter drink by adding ingredients such as sugar and milk to create what is now known as chocolate.
In particular, it was Henry Nestlé who had the idea of combining a cocoa-based paste with evaporated milk and sugar. This gave rise to the types of milk chocolate that we know today. (1)
Types of chocolate – what are they?
The types of chocolate appear according to different combinations in their ingredients.
The most common types are black, milk, and white. Currently, other types of chocolate have been defined, such as cup, covered, and semi-bitter chocolate.
To distinguish between different types of chocolate, regulatory organizations have established particular standards for each of them. (3)
In nutritional terms, the complete type is dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has the highest cocoa content and, therefore, more polyphenols.
Polyphenols are a type of molecule found in the pulp that surrounds the grains and has antioxidant properties. (4)
In addition, of the types of chocolate that exist, black has the lowest sugar content. Abusing milk chocolate is not recommended if you want to maintain your weight. However, dark chocolate is even a permitted food on a type 2 diabetic diet.
To see the difference between the different types of chocolate, here is a table with their properties: carbohydrates, proteins, and fat content.
Types of chocolate – Nutritional table
|Carbos||Protein||Total fat||Saturated fat|
|85%||14 g||12 g||40 g||14 g|
|Dark chocolate (70%)||565
|70%||29 g||11 g||37 g||15 g|
|40%||52 g||7 g||30 g||19 g|
|20% (manteca)||59 g||6 g||31 g||20 g|
Table of nutritional value of 100 g of chocolate – equivalent to a whole tablet
What types of chocolate are best?
To determine which type of chocolate is best, you must compare its ingredients. As a general rule, the more cocoa and less sugar, saturated and trans fats, the better.
- Black, white, or milk?
Dark chocolate (70% minimum cocoa) is considered the best. Some even consider it a superfood. This is due to its contribution of macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
In dark chocolate, the fat content is around 30% (in the form of cocoa butter), 6% protein, and 61% carbohydrates; the remaining 3% is water. In addition, it is one of the foods rich in potassium and magnesium, vitamins A and B. These micronutrients are essential for an athlete.
// Recommended: Saturated fats. Are they good or bad?
Chocolate without sugar or with sweeteners Yes or no?
Sugar-free chocolates, or chocolates with sweeteners, are often a choice for people who have diabetes and carry out a low carbohydrate diet. The bad news: By adding many sweeteners to chocolate, the flavonoid content is usually lower.
In some unsweetened chocolates, the percentage of total cocoa is significantly lower. In addition, it has been proven that digestion problems can accompany frequent consumption of some sugar substitutes (such as sucralose). If you have no problem processing fast-absorbing carbohydrates, 70% dark chocolate is the best.
Does chocolate make you fat?
No, it is not the chocolate that makes you fat. But the balance between the total calories ingested vs. the calories expended for the day. Although chocolate is a high-calorie food, its consumption is even allowed on a low carbohydrate diet such as the ketogenic diet.
Eating 25 g of chocolate per day, the equivalent of 2 cubes, cannot generate a significant change in body weight. Always talking about dark chocolate or types of chocolate with low sugar content.
What chocolate to buy?
The best option is best is high-quality dark chocolate. You should avoid buying white chocolates, high in sugar, and all types of chocolate imitations. Although it seems silly, to verify that it is authentic chocolate, you must check on its packaging that the word appears: chocolate.
If you also have the possibility of buying organic dark chocolate, You don’t just get the benefits of chocolate. But also the benefits of organic food. You will avoid the consumption of pesticides and chemicals and will not encourage their use in production.
The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more chances of obtaining the benefits of chocolate. By contrast, coated and simile types of chocolate are often high in trans fat. Saving on the quality of the chocolate will only bring you problems in terms of nutrition.
Is chocolate addictive?
The addictive power of chocolate is an active debate within the scientific community. Although no molecules with highly addictive psychoactive properties have been found, It has been noted that in certain hormonal stages, the urge to eat chocolate is tough to resist.
In particular, the days before the menstrual period in women or people with a lack of magnesium. Although it has been confirmed that chocolate contains a high amount of theobromine, a substance similar to caffeine, it is not addictive. (1) A serving of dark chocolate (40 g) provides 2 to 11 mg of caffeine and 20 to 60 mg of theobromine.
What is the cacao plant like?
The cacao plant does not exist. Chocolate is a product derived from a tree called Theobroma. This tree can reach up to 10 m and grows in humid tropical forests with a warm climate. Its production is mainly South American and African.
The word Theobroma, in Greek, means “food of the gods,” so it is considered food not only nutritious but also with a cultural background. It is currently considered a superfood. It is impossible to deny the pleasure of good chocolate accompanied by a movie, just as for most.
Chocolate is a food made from a paste derived from cocoa beans, sugar and milk.
The origin of chocolate comes from the Aztec civilization. This civilization prepared a drink based on chocolate grains to celebrate a victory after a battle.
Of all the types of chocolate, dark is the best. It has a lower sugar content and a higher range of antioxidant molecules called flavonoids.
The recommended amount of chocolate per day is 25 g.
Whenever possible, the types of chocolate, white and simile chocolate, should be avoided. Its composition is high in sugar and unhealthy fat content.
Dark chocolate is considered a superfood. A basic rule of thumb to know which of the types of chocolate is better is to evaluate the% cocoa.