Chocolate and Health – Is Chocolate Really Bad For You?

Chocolate and Health – Is Chocolate Really Bad For You?

Chocolate is a favorite food of many people, and those who love chocolate are often called chocoholics. Chocolate is often seen as a guilty pleasure, but is it really bad for you? Obviously anything in excess is bad for you, but what about chocolate in moderation, maybe with only occasional excess?

Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, which are dried, roasted, and then separated into cocoa butter and cocoa powder. The powder, which is low in fat, is used typically for baking and making hot chocolate. The cocoa butter is used to make chocolate.

Cocoa butter is high in saturated fat, which isn’t good, but unlike other foods high in saturated fat it doesn’t raise your cholesterol. Cocoa butter is also rich in antioxidants and substances called flavinoids, which help lower blood pressure and protect arteries. So far so good! Unfortunately during processing the flavinoids are removed. Also since cocoa butter is bitter, sugar and sometimes milk solids are added. This adds calories and the milk solids add saturated fats.

So, is it bad for you? The news is good and bad.

Dark chocolate may improve health as people who eat 3-4 ounces a day have lower blood pressure, more supply arteries, and a lower likelihood of forming blood clots. Unfortunately white and milk chocolate do not have these positive effects.

Also, any type of chocolate had calories and can cause weight gain. Just four ounces a day can pack 4+ pounds of fat on you a month!

If you love it, and can limit yourself to just a few ounces of dark chocolate a few times a week, there is no reason to feel guilt! It may actually be good for you. If you eat a lot more, especially of white or milk chocolate, then your gut is right; it’s unhealthy.