Health & Nutrition
October 20, 2020
• Updated on
16 Jun

Healthy Chocolates: Choose The Best Healthy Option

Chocolates, more specifically, the cocoa content that makes them, have been, for long, hailed as very good for health. It is said to be a mood elevator; is heart-healthy as it raises HDL; improves blood circulation, is supposed to be great for cognition function and memory preservation; is good for skin and is full of antioxidants that protect your body from untimely degeneration. Healthy chocolate is also said to play a role in boosting the performance of athletes.

Here, we’ll dive into the world of chocolates and find out how good they are for our health, how much you should have, what type of healthy chocolate you should choose to maintain your fitness levels and much more! 

Dark Chocolate = Healthy Chocolate? 

We all know that the healthiest chocolate to have is dark chocolate. But this doesn't mean you pick anything that says dark chocolate from the store. Your dark chocolate has to be organic and has to have over 70% cocoa content to be deemed good for your health. 

What Is The Healthiest Chocolate To Eat?

Here’s what to look for in healthy chocolate

A good quality dark chocolate bar contains about 11 grams of fibre, nearly 67% of your RDI for iron, 58% of RDI for magnesium, 89% of copper, 98% of your RDI for manganese. To top it all off, it is also rich in potassium, selenium and zinc. Sounds pretty healthy, right?

But here’s what else to keep in mind - just because it is healthy chocolate doesn’t mean you can eat all 100 grams in one sitting. Unfortunately, the commercially processed chocolate we get at the stores is also loaded with other materials that go into making your chocolate store ready and delicious as not everyone is fond of the bitter taste of the cocoa solids.

healthy dark chocolate
Chocolate Bar


How To Choose A Healthy Chocolate To Maintain Fitness Levels

Read the label: The order in which the nutritional info on the label of your chocolate is given indicates its quality. If the first item on the list is sugar, milk solids, sugar solids, glucose, artificial flavouring, or artificial colouring, then those ingredients are present in large quantities. - and it’s is not the chocolate you should be picking up. 

Look for words like “cocoa powder, cocoa butter, cocoa solids, cacao”. These should be leading the nutritional label. This means that their concentration in the final product is more and so the chocolate is more likely to be healthier than the rest of the variants available.

Choose dark chocolate over milk, white and pink chocolate: Milk chocolate is creamy and dreamy, but it is not healthy chocolate. It goes without saying that dark chocolate is the healthiest of them all and contains the maximum antioxidants and nutrients. Choose the unsweetened or the less sweetened variety. 

Cocoa beans are very bitter, and, to make them palatable for common consumption, confectioners add sugars and butters. Milk and white chocolate are made from milk solids, sugar, preservatives, colouring, additives, flavouring and hydrogenated fats. These variants do not contain any antioxidants, or any other nutrients beneficial for the body - making these the least healthy chocolate

Choose dark chocolate bars over syrups and cakes, icing, ice creams and other baked goods: Another very important thing to note when you‘re a chocoholic looking to stay fit is that you need to choose unsweetened dark chocolate bars over everything else, even if they are labelled “healthy chocolate” or “dark chocolate”. This is because all baked items will have their share of sugars, fats and carbs that are going to increase the calorie intake and won’t do you any good.

healthy dark chocolate
Chocolate Syrup


How Much And How Often: Healthy Chocolate Intake 

You can ideally have 2 pieces of unsweetened chocolate in a day but we wouldn't recommend that you make it a daily habit. In case you are in the habit of consuming some chocolate every day, it is recommended you have it as a pre-workout snack or have it between meals. Since it is calorie-dense and releases a lot of energy, a pre-workout healthy chocolate snack may help boost your high-intensity workouts. Just make sure you're not having chocolate first thing in the morning too, or at night as a snack. 

Never have chocolate after a heavy meal as it spikes your blood sugar levels. If you’re going for hot chocolate, try and have one made from unsweetened non-Dutch processed cocoa powder in a cup of unsweetened milk/ almond mylk or coconut mylk. Any chocolate drink made from chocolate powder or Dutch-processed chocolate will not contain any flavonoids or the nutrients we talk about above.

Hot Chocolate


Why Is Dark Chocolate Healthier Than Milk Chocolate?

Is dark chocolate healthy? A lot of people think of dark chocolate as a healthier version of regular chocolate, but this isn't always the case. Dark chocolate does contain flavonoids and can be considered healthy chocolate since flavonoids are powerful antioxidants known to fight free radicals and stabilise your mood. 

The amount of flavonoids in chocolate depends on the percentage of cacao present, so look for dark chocolate that’s 70% or more. However, portion control is important. Many manufacturers add sugar to their dark chocolate, making the calorie count as much as it is in milk or white chocolate. Remember - weight loss is never the result of one food. It is an accumulation of habits over time. So even if you do want to eat dark chocolate, be aware of your portions - potion control is more important than blindly searching for healthy chocolate to eat. 

is dark chocolate healthy


Which Chocolate Is Best For Weight Loss?

Chocolate isn’t a natural weight-loss food. But, if you want to indulge your sweet tooth without gaining too much weight, look for healthy dark chocolate that has a higher concentration of cocoa, 70% of more. And the most important thing to look for is added sugar. Added sugar and milk solids should be minimal. Dark chocolate would count as low-calorie chocolate compared to milk chocolates. 

healthy chocolate to eat


If you are looking for a weight loss plan, you can get in touch with us for expert advice and a detailed diet chart. You can learn more on our Weight Management program page, or write to us at lb@nutritionbylovneet.com 

Try out our Coffee Chocolate Pop Recipe

FAQs

Can I eat chocolate and still lose weight?

Eating chocolate is by no means a solution for weight loss. Many chocolates contain added sugar and oils, so you cannot eat chocolate to lose weight. 

Is it ok to eat dark chocolate every day?

You can eat a little bit of dark chocolate on a daily basis - but be very conscious of your portions. Consult your nutritionist beforehand, especially if you are diabetic. 

Can I eat dark chocolate every day and lose weight?

Many manufacturers add sugar to their dark chocolate, making the calorie count as much as it is in milk or white chocolate. Remember - weight loss is never the result of one food. It is a combination of food, lifestyle habits and exercise.

What are the side effects of eating chocolate?

Chocolates that contain sugar can cause weight grain and breakouts if it doesn’t agree with you. Cocoa and chocolate also contain caffeine - so eating large amounts might lead to caffeine-related side effects like excess urination, sleeplessness, nervousness and quickening heartbeat. Cocoa can also cause allergic skin reactions, constipation, and trigger migraine headaches in some individuals. 

Which chocolate has the least sugar?

Chocolates with 70% or more cocoa solids have less sugar compared to milk chocolates. There are also several chocolate bars available that contain no sugar or are labelled as sugar-free chocolate bars. Check the kind of sweetener used before purchasing. 



Lovneet Batra
Founder
Lovneet Batra is a clinical nutritionist with over a decade of experience treating patients and educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet. One of Delhi’s most sought-after nutritionists...
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