As Valentine’s day approaches, we may feel conflicted about eating chocolate. But chocolate can have many health benefits, eaten occasionally of course.
Chocolate is a mixture of cocoa solids, cocoa butter fat, milk, sugar and stabilisers like lecithin which help the main ingredients to form a solid mass. As if that didn’t sound like a bit of science, the cocoa solids give the chocolate its antioxidant properties, as they contain flavanols which are psychoactive organic compounds. And so, the higher the cocoa contents, the more of these antioxidants you’ll receive. Typically, dark chocolate will contain 45 – 90% cocoa solids and trace amounts of milk, while milk chocolate will have mostly milk and sugar, and between 10 – 32% cocoa solids (at least in the States). You may see vanilla included in the ingredient list, and that tends to round out the flavor and may lead to less sugar being added too. But there are some manufacturers who use cheaper alternatives to cocoa butter like vegetable oils and palm oil, and other additives to stabilize the product. Now although I like my KitKats, Cadbury, Agapey and Lindt, when it comes to quality chocolate, you want to see a very minimalist ingredient list. That’s the standard of chocolate, I’m talking about in this article.