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Which chocolate is healthiest?

Australians eat an average of five to six kilograms of chocolate per person every year. That sounds like a lot! Should we be eating one type more than another?

  • Dark chocolate. Dark chocolate has the most cocoa at about 70% or higher. At higher concentrations of cocao this gives the chocolate more anti oxidant and anti inflammatory benefits from the flavanol compounds. It has approximately 548 calories per 100 grams & 41% fat, 36% carbohydrate and 8% protein.
  • Milk chocolate. Milk chocolate has around 12% milk and the cocoa content is about 10% too. This means there are not many antioxidant benefits. It has about 540 calories per 100 grams & 30% fat, 59% carbohydrates and 8% protein.
  • White chocolate. White chocolate does not have cocoa solids rather it contains cocoa butter. There is no caffeine and no antioxidants. It has about 545 calories per 100 grams and 34% fat, 58% carbohydrates and 8% protein.
  • Carob. Carob has a chocolate like flavour. It is made from the starchy pods of a carob tree. Cocoa has a bitter taste therefore a person may prefer carob if they do not like the bitterness of cocoa. It has no caffeine and it does not have the antioxidants you get from cocoa. It has about 590 calories per 100 grams & 43% fat, 42% carbohydrates and 9% protein.
  • Sugar free chocolate. The sugar is replaced with stevia however the taste is different. The calorie saving you get with this chocolate may not be worth the poorer taste quality. It may have you reaching for more as you do not quite get that chocolate fix. It has 470 calories per 100 grams & 43% fat, 54% carbohydrates and 7% protein.

My choice is definitely the dark chocolate, in small amounts. Chocolate makes us feel good and that is a part of a balanced healthy lifestyle. I choose to eat 1 to 2 squares per day and I am satisfied with that. It satisfies my cravings and it works for me. When we deprive ourselves cravings tend to build up and it is then that we can lose our sense of control when we do have it.

Some people often tell me when they buy chocolate they eat the whole family size block, they have no will power. Remember what you are after is the taste and feel good factor. Chocolate is not meant to fill you up, that’s what your whole foods are for. When I’m tempted to over eat, I ask myself, how will I feel afterwards? Common things that come to mind are things like bloated, tired, fat, dehydrated and upset. I don’t want to feel like that and I’m sure you don’t either. Next time you’re tempted to eat it all, remind yourself how you will feel afterwards too. Is it really worth all that? If you really like your chocolate and feel you can never stop at just 2 squares, buy single servings. It may be annoying having to go to the shop each time you want chocolate, but it may help you break the chocolate binge urges and you’ll feel better for it.

Enjoy your chocolate, quality over quantity!

Blog post courtesy of Elizabeth Pattalis.

Elizabeth is a registered clinical nutritionist, Personal Trainer and a Pilates instructor for YogaBar. Her mission is to make healthy living simple, realistic and achievable for all her clients. Visit her at www.elizabethpattalis.com

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