I’ve tried to be an 80% girl, I’m not there yet. With chocolate, the higher the percentage listed on the package, the lower the sugar. However, at the point where dark chocolate has zero sweetness (80% for me), I am zero percent excited. While I think most people can rattle off “dark chocolate is healthy”, Hershey’s makes a dark chocolate and there are dark chocolate M & M’s and you know I’m not going to be praising those. So, here’s how to choose your chocolate:
When I think of 70% I think of a C- (not that I ever received a C-, obv). But with chocolate 70% is a good thing. This means that your chocolate has enough cocoa beans to offer some health benefits and not too much sugar. If you want to go 80 or 85% you’re a better eater than I am.
Portions matter too.
Our lovely, and nutrition nerdy (that’s a major compliment btw), intern Jane found one study showing that 2/3 of a bar of dark chocolate provided a significant amount of magnesium. As much as I love magnesium, at Foodtrainers that’s not our recommended portion. We suggest ½ ounce of dark chocolate if you choose to have it after dinner OR 1oz if you have it mid-afternoon. And it’s one or the other. For many standard-sized bars that’s ¼ of the bar. For my beloved Hu Kitchen, it’s 3 squares. Half an ounce of dark chocolate is almost always less than 5g sugar.
Read the fine print
You want to look for a short ingredient list. I’m not a fan of lecithin. Lecithin, often from soy, is used for texture in place of additional, pricy yet healthy, cocoa beans. Oftentimes, in the higher percentages you will not see it but it doesn’t have to be there. I’d also skip dark chocolates with milk as an ingredient. The milk proteins can affect the antioxidant content (it binds with them). And finally skip any dark chocolates with words “Dutch processed” or alkali, these are processing methods that also reduce the antioxidant content.
Sleep is sacred
Many people think dark chocolate is high in caffeine. It isn’t. An oz. of dark chocolate has about 1/10 the caffeine of a cup of coffee. You’ll recall we suggest only a half oz. after dinner. However, there’s another upper in dark chocolate called theobromine. If you’re super-duper caffeine sensitive, you may want to have your dark chocolate earlier in the day.
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What’s your fave chocolate?
insulin sensitivity, good for gut flora- other studies on this?
fiber and cocoa = good for gut flora