Dark Chocolate

Updated: For a list of recommended chocolate brands, check http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm.

I like taking a bite of plain dark chocolate with a one or two nuts (cashews, pecans, almonds, pistachios), that way I made my own nutty chocolate bar in my mouth.

Same with peanut butter. Spread a bit on top of a few dark chocolate squares, and you’ve got a healthy version of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups!

What does Chocolate Percentage % Mean?

100% chocolate is 100% unsweetened pure chocolate, either in the form of cocoa, chocolate liquor, and/or cocoa butter. The higher the percentage, the higher the actual chocolate content. The lower the chocolate, the higher the sugar.

From wikipedia:
The cacao bean products from which chocolate is made are known under different names in different parts of the world. In the American chocolate industry:

  • chocolate liquor is the ground or melted state of the nib of the cacao bean
  • cocoa butter is the fat component
  • cocoa powder is the nonfat part of the cacao bean which is ground into a powder

I usually eat a 1/2 serving of dark chocolate almost every day. It is so healthy, and the darker the better. Start off with 60% and work your way up to 70%, then 85%.

Once you get to 85%, the added sugar immensely decreases, and the fiber increases! Keep in mind the calories and fat (sat fat) increase, but if you keep it to a half serving every day, it can be a good snack choice. Plus, it’s been said that the saturated fat from chocolate is composed much differently than beef saturated fat.

Please make sure you read the labels on different brands, as the nutritional data can differ. A lot of manufacturers are using partially hydrogenated oil instead of cocoa butter.

Here’s a comparison using Green & Black chocolate:

34% Milk chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Whole Milk Powder, Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Organic Vanilla Extract.

Notice how the FIRST ingredient is sugar, then milk!

Calories: 220
Fat: 13g
Sat Fat: 8g
Cholesterol: 10mg
Sodium: 30mg
Carbs: 23g
Fiber: 1g
Sugars: 20g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 8%
Iron: 6%

70% Chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Cocoa Butter, Soy Lecithin (Emulsifier), Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Whole Milk Powder

Sugar is second, while milk is last.

Calories: 240
Fat: 18g
Sat Fat: 10g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 5mg
Carbs: 18g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 10g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 2%
Iron: 20%

80% Chocolate – 12 blocks (40g)

Ingredients: Organic Chocolate Liquor, Organic Cocoa Butter, Organic Fat-Reduced Cocoa Powder, Organic Raw Cane Sugar, Organic Vanilla Extract, Organic Whole Milk Powder

Sugar is added only after ALL the chocolate ingredients. There’s no soy (Soy Lecithin) added, although because it’s made in the same factory as the other flavors, it’s not officially “soy-free”

Calories: 250
Fat: 20g
Sat Fat: 12g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 10mg
Carbs: 15g
Fiber: 4g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 4g
Calcium: 4%
Iron: 20%

Unfortunately, I love Green & Black’s Organic chocolate, but it’s actually a UK company now owned by Kraft Foods. sigh. So many big food companies are scooping up smaller food companies, and it’s getting hard to find a decent chocolate. So, READ LABELS! Check the ingredients!

I keep telling myself to find another chocolate brand, but it’s hard because the Green & Black can be purchased for a good price. We eat so much chocolate between the two of us, it’s a difficult decision.

UPDATED 2012-01-6: I’ve since realized that saving money when buying chocolate isn’t worth it. Just as buying meat from a local, ethical farm is important, supporting chocolate manufacturers that are truly fair-trade is also important.

For a list of recommended chocolate brands, check http://www.foodispower.org/chocolatelist.htm.

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