Chocolate’s Dark Secrets Revealed
Theobroma cacao, the botanical name of chocolate literally means ‘food for the gods’, but humans can enjoy it as well. Humans enjoy chocolate in all its forms, and the good news for chocoholics is that it actually has modern health benefits and can help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. Here’s a short Q and A to get you to know chocolate more:
What is the history of chocolate?
Chocolate has been around for centuries already, starting with the Mayans who used cocoa beans as money, to the Aztecs who discovered that they could make a delicious drink from the bean by roasting it, grounding it, and adding water and sweeteners to it. The first chocolate drink was made by the Aztecs in 1519. The chocolate bar was born sometime in the 18th century and it was first made by mixing chocolate with milk.
Can chocolates, regardless of their kind, give you health benefits?
Not all chocolate is the same, stay away from candies that have caramel, marshmallow, or the creamy, artery-clogging stuff; opt for solid dark chocolate.
Why is dark chocolate the best option over white and milk chocolate?
A phytochemical known as flavanoid is found in cocoa beans. White or milk chocolate contains lesser cocoa than dark chocolate. The higher the cocoa content, the more flavanoids you get.
What does dark chocolate do to your health?
Eating dark chocolate in combination with a balanced diet can help your heart, maintain good blood pressure, reduce blood cholesterol levels, and increase blood flow to your brain. It can also help improve levels of blood sugar and insulin sensitivity, hence, making diabetes a far off risk.
What amount of chocolate is healthy?
Eat chocolate in moderation because aside from the flavanoids, dark chocolate also contains fat, sugar, and calories. Too much chocolate can increase your weight. An ounce is enough to satisfy your craving and give you the health benefits you want without giving you a belly – eat it slowly.
Why do some chocolate brands flaunt their cocoa content on their labels?
More cocoa means more flavanoids. Dark chocolate contains 70% cocoa, milk chocolate, 50%, and cheap chocolate, only 7%.
What are the calorie contents of the different kinds of chocolates?
Most candies today contain cocoa solids, sugar, and fats, and for milk chocolate, milk. Below is a specific calorie list for the various kinds of chocolate that we use:
- Pure Cocoa Powder (2 tablespoons): 40 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams saturated fat
- Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce): 140 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat
- Semisweet or milk chocolate (1 ounce): 135 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat
- Dark Chocolate (1 ounce): 142 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 6 grams of saturated fat
What are the major differences between the various kinds of chocolates?
The quality of the chocolate boils down to how it is made. Ground, roasted, and graded cocoa beans are used to make chocolate liquor which also contains cocoa butter.
- Unsweetened baking chocolate is simply solidified and pressed chocolate liquor
- Cocoa powder is dried cocoa butter extracted from chocolate liquor
- Dark chocolate contains chocolate liquor, sugar, cocoa butter, and sometimes, vanilla
- Mild chocolate is simply dark chocolate with milk or milk powder
- White chocolate has no chocolate liquor, only cocoa butter, milk or milk powder, and vanilla
Chocolate candy is usually processed with emulsifiers to give it a smooth texture and mouth feel; the expensive ones are processed longer.