How dark do you like your chocolate? 70% cacao? 80% cacao? Even darker? I personnaly alway go for dark chocolate. Why? Stronger taste, the bitterness in my head, I think: 85% Chocolate means only 15% sugar, right? Is that true or just the pure guilt-free self-proclamed theory of mine? Lets find out together in OiB today.
So, this post is dedicated to all the dark chocolate lovers out there and to the reasons that we should eat more of it. Can I get a whoop whoop?
∴ Dark Chocolate, 3 components.
→ Emulsifiers: Emulsifiers are simply molecules that attach to both oil and water. It helps provide the right consistency. They have two ends, like a magnet.
Soy lecithin is the most widely used type in chocolate. It is derived from naturally such as soybeans but is considered article because it is usually extracted with chemicals. Other examples are the ammonium phosphatide and the very controversial, PGPR.
NOTE: The maximum dosage for emulsifier in the EU is 0.6% by weight and 2.3% in the US. ConfectioneryNews.
→ And of course, cacao. There are four major types of cacao bean:
- Criollo: Native to Mexico and Central America
- Forastero: Mostly cultivated in Africa
- Trinitario: Actually a crossbreed of the Criollo and Forastero. Usually found in Central and South America but in parts of Asia as well.
- Nacional: Typically found in South America, west of the Andes. The Nacional is the most difficult to grow.
∴ Why is Dark Chocolate Better than Milk Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is essentially chocolate without the milk solids added to it. The more milk solids in chocolate, the lower the percentage you will see on the wrapper (70%, 85%, 100%, etc.).
So when you see a package of Lindt dark chocolate and it reads 90% dark chocolate, you know that figure represents the percentage of cacao solids in the bar.
∴ Some hidden Health Benefits.
According to Epicurious.com, the health benefits of chocolate are almost entirely due to the polyphenols found in cocoa. As a rule of thumb, whenever you read something good about chocolate, what they’re really talking about is cocoa – Not sure of the difference between cocoa and cacao, click here for my plain English explanation.
Therefore, as the cocoa content of chocolate increases, so do its positive effects on health. A standard milk chocolate will contain about 30% cocoa, while premium dark chocolates usually have more than 70%.
Dark chocolate contains less sugar, more cholesterol-neutral fat, and more cocoa polyphenols in a more bioavailable form than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is also said to be more filling, which means it takes less calories to satisfy your chocolate cravings.
∴ What To Look for When Shopping for Dark Chocolate
According to the Paleo Guide, you should always choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate despite what talking M&M’s say.
- Antioxidants are higher in dark chocolate.
- Milk chocolate and the ingredients in it (sugar, trans fats, milk solids, artificial sweeteners to name a few) can lead to hardening of arteries, cancer, arthritis, diabetes, and weakening of the immune system.
- Milk can interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients, especially those flavonoids.
Now that we’ve cleared that up, always opt for 70% or darker and, in this guy’s humble opinion, for 85% and higher. The more naturally occurring cacao that is available, the greater the benefit.
NOTE: I have said before and will keep reminding you: Read labels. Look for dark chocolate that has as little sugar as possible (under ten grams). Keep skimming and look for vegetable fat as an ingredient. If it is on there, keep shopping around.
I hope you enjoy this article as much as I did researching and compelling those information. We learn something new everyday and the purpose of OiB is to list different way of consumption that are healthier and organic.
Feel free to share your feedbacks in the comments box.