Centegra Health System

01/03/2018 | News release | Distributed by Public on 01/03/2018 16:44

Faceoff: Milk vs Dark Chocolate

January 3rd, 2018

There is no question that dark chocolate is better for you than milk chocolate. However, all chocolate can be high in calories, fat and sugar.

Dark chocolate does have some health benefits. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help to lower the risk of cardiovascular problems as well as blood pressure and bad LDL cholesterol. Dark chocolate is rich in fiber and antioxidants. Cocoa has anti-clotting, blood-thinning properties and can increase blood flow and circulation.

Dark chocolate has more of the original cocoa bean present than milk chocolate. The more cocoa that is present, the higher the quality of the nutrients. Cocoa is a good source of flavonoids. Flavonoids act as antioxidants in the body which reduce the amount of cell damage, improve vascular function and lower blood pressure. Flavonoids increase the effectiveness of Vitamin C and prevent inflammation. Flavonoids may be beneficial in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels as well. The higher the percentage of cocoa, the more flavonoids and the better the chocolate is for you.

When choosing chocolate, look for the percentage of cacao first. Look for dark chocolate that contains 70 percent cacao and contains cocoa butter rather than another type of fat such as hydrogenated oils. Limit your consumption to one ounce daily. Consuming more than one ounce of chocolate can add up to an excess of fat and calories per day.

Milk chocolate, while it tastes great, has added fat and sugar that makes it a less healthy choice than dark chocolate. Sprinkling a small amount of dark chocolate onto fruit, low-fat yogurt or high-fiber cereal is a great way to incorporate small amounts of dark chocolate into your diet while enjoying its rich flavor.

Don't forget that flavonoids are also present in other foods that are heart healthy and high in fiber, such as fruits and vegetables. Chocolate should always be consumed in moderation. Because it tastes great, this high-calorie food is easy to overeat.

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Source: Julie Holbrook, MS, RDN, LDN is a registered dietitian with the Centegra Healthy Living Institute. To make an appointment with a registered dietitian call 877-CENTEGRA.