The Great Chocolate Debate
Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate and everything in between; whatever kind of chocolate you are looking for is sure to be found in your local supermarket these days. Some for eating, some for baking; in chip form, bars, blocks and wafers. But do you know the difference between the different types of chocolate? Let's break it down.
Because milk chocolate has a lower cocoa content, it doesn't offer as many benefits as its dark counterpart. It's often diluted with additional milk solids, sugar, and cream, and thus is higher in saturated fats that are prone to raise blood cholesterol levels. It may even contain pesticides used in cocoa production. Blech.
Bug spray notwithstanding, a recent study at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland concluded that individuals who ate mostly milk chocolate over an average of 11-ish years tended to have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke than other individuals that did not eat any chocolate at all. If that's not cause to eat more chocolate....
Dark chocolate, at a minimum of 35% cacao, is better for you than milk chocolate since it is higher in cocoa content, which is a fabulous source of flavonoids, a special class of antioxidants. Dark chocolate contains significantly less carbohydrates as well. Milk chocolate usually has about 50 grams of carbs per 100g, while the amount of carbs in dark chocolate ranges from 8 to 35 carbs, depending on how dark it is. Bonus: dark chocolate is high in fiber, nearly 5 grams in a 1.5 oz. bar.
Some may argue that white chocolate isn't really chocolate; and to that I say...you're probably right. White chocolate doesn't contain cocoa solids (during manufacture, the dark-colored solids of the cocoa bean are separated from its fatty content and the cocoa solids are not recombined). But it is a blend of milk solids, milk fat, butter, cocoa butter and lecithin (a simple emulsifier). White chocolate contains 151 calories, 11 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat, 17 grams of carbohydrates, no fiber, and 1 gram of protein per 1-ounce square (source: Livestrong). Love it or hate it, it's bound to wind up in someone's Easter basket this year!
If you can stomach a slightly bitter taste, organic dark chocolate is the clear winner in the great chocolate debate, at least in terms of nutritional value. Compared to milk chocolate, dark chocolate has less sugar and more cocoa butter. And while cocoa butter is fat, this fat is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid, stearic acid, and palmitic acids--healthy fats and heart healthy antioxidants. Choose a dark chocolate bar with at least 65% cocoa, so you can really reap the benefits with only a small portion (3 ounces a day is fine). Organic means none of that nasty pesticide residue, too.
Since no blog post about chocolate would be complete without some bombdotcom dessert recipes, and because I haven't really baked since owning an Easy Bake Oven, I'm leaving it up to the more talented bakers of the interwebs to bring you recipes for a few decadent, chocolate treats. I am, however, a whiz with a blender (get it? Whiz--blender--eh, nevermind), so scroll down for our recipe for a DELISH chocolate, banana & peanut butter smoothie!
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What kind of chocolate is your fave? I love milk and dark--but ngl, those Hershey Kiss Hugs got me like whoa!