The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
What are the benefits of dark chocolate? Apart from being the greatest food in the world.
What Is Dark Chocolate?
Let’s start with defining what we mean when we refer to dark chocolate.
The commercial or trad definition of dark chocolate is a bar of chocolate that has 50% or more cocoa content.
But if you’re a bit of a chocolate snob like I am, then when you say dark chocolate, you’re really referring to 70% cocoa content or higher.
I’ve gotten to a point where my go-to choice is 85% dark.
I’m still not quite on board with 100% dark – it’s extremely bitter and feels like it creates a vacuum in your mouth. Any moisture, saliva, or any other sense of taste all seem to dissipate in the presence of pure cocoa.
For me, 85-90% is the sweet spot. Pun intended.
So What Are The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate?
Cocoa is rich in minerals – iron, zinc, and magnesium.
Natural cocoa itself is high in protein, believe it or not. It’s a good source of natural fats and is also extremely high in fibre.
I also find dark chocolate to be a great source of slow-release energy, and it has become my prime choice of workout fuel.
Now while chocolate, or the antioxidants in chocolate, have been linked to improvements in heart health, gut health, dental health, and a few other things, the only health claim that’s been approved by the EU for chocolate or for cocoa antioxidants, is that it improves the elasticity of blood vessels.
That doesn’t mean it doesn’t do the other things. It’s just those health claims haven’t been approved to be put on the packaging.
Nutritional Content Of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate also tends to have lower sugar content than milk chocolate.
If you compare milk chocolate with dark chocolate per 100g:
- Milk chocolate usually has 35-45g of sugar per 100g
- Dark chocolate, depending on cocoa content, may have somewhere between 10 and 20g per 100g.
So milk chocolate is usually 2 to 4 times higher than dark chocolate, depending on the brand and darkness you go for.
Richness Of Dark Chocolate
The other thing with dark chocolate is that because it’s got a much richer taste, I find it a lot more satisfying and a lot more filling. That means I don’t get that same urge to keep going back for more and more.
I can buy a 100g bar of 85% dark chocolate, for example, or 90% chocolate. It will usually be 10 evenly portioned squares.
If it was milk chocolate, I could probably have two squares and then 10 minutes later, go back for a bit more and then go back for a bit more and keep going.
With darker chocolate that doesn’t really happen. You’ll kind of have one or two squares. You’ll feel full, you’ll feel satisfied and you can actually savour it.
So all in all apart from for the sugar fix, I’d say dark chocolate is a hell of a lot better for pretty much across the board for everything than milk chocolate. Plus if you’re vegan, or choose not to have dairy for any reason most darker percentages of chocolate are usually dairy-free.
What Are The Best Supermarket Dark Chocolates In The UK?
With that said I’m going to run you through my three favourite darker chocolate bars.
Tesco Intense Dark 85% Chocolate
This is probably the best value for money because it’s only £1 for a 100g block. Tesco’s own brand 85% intense dark chocolate is extremely good.
It’s got a strong chocolate taste, just the right amount of sweetness, and it is really satisfying.
Lindt 90% Dark Chocolate
Lindt is more expensive than other chocolate brands out there, but it’s smoother than the Tesco one.
It’s a bit darker. So it’s a little bit more bitter, but it’s got a nice, smooth consistency.
It has a great, rich taste, so I am a fan.
Godiva 90% Dark Chocolate
My absolute favourite chocolate is Godiva’s 90% bar. It is probably the best tasting chocolate bar I’ve had.
It’s actually – weirdly enough – it’s sweeter than the 85% bar from Tesco, even though it has less sugar. I don’t really know how they’ve done that.
It’s incredibly smooth. I don’t really have the words to describe it.
I’m not really a food critic, so I can’t really analyze it in that same way, but it’s smooth. It’s rich, it’s creamy. It’s got the right sweetness. It’s super satisfying. And I think it’s a little bit cheaper than the Lindt one as well.
So if you are looking to try a darker bar, I would go for Godiva probably as your first choice. Even if not the 90% one, they do an 85% and they do a 70%. So, yeah, there you go. Those are my three favourite dark chocolate bars.
Note how I didn’t put Green & Black’s in there. I just find them more expensive and I don’t like the tiny square shapes that they use.
And to be honest, the ones I listed, I personally find taste better.
The Benefits Of Dark Chocolate
So there you have it.
We all seem to demonise chocolate, and for some reason think we need to eliminate it for any health goal.
But cocoa has a lot of health benefits, and if you go for a bar of rich chocolate with a high cocoa content, you can get enjoy a lot of the benefits of dark chocolate.