|New research shows that luscious, irresistible chocolate is not quite as sinful as many people believe.
In fact, it’s rather heavenly to know that:
- Chocolate contains the good kind of cholesterol.
- Chocolate has some nutrients: Protein, calcium, riboflavin, iron, Vitamin A and thiamine.
- A single cup of coffee contains the same amount of caffeine as an entire pound of chocolate.
- White chocolate contains no caffeine.
Myth: Chocolate causes acne.
Truth: In a recent study out of the University of Pennsylvania, 65 acne sufferers consumed large amounts
of chocolate. 46 showed no change in their condition, 10 got better and only 9 got worse. This study seems
to indicate that chocolate does not affect acne.
Myth: Chocolate causes high cholesterol in the blood.
Truth: Since Chocolate is a product of plants, it contains no cholesterol.
Myth: Chocolate is bad for my blood pressure.
suggest that the flavanols found in cocoa and chocolate products may have positive effects on vascular
|Nutritional Facts taken from the American Dietetic Association
Chocolate and Fat
Chocolate contributes less than two percent of the fat in the American diet.
The main sources of fat are meat, full-fat dairy products, and fried foods.
Chocolate and Saturated Fats
While chocolate contains some saturated fats, studies have shown that not all types of saturated fats raise
blood cholesterol levels. For example, stearic acid is a saturated fat that makes up one-third of the fat in
chocolate. Stearic acid does not raise blood cholesterol levels. In addition, oleic acid, a monounsaturated
fat also found in olive oil, makes up one-third of the fat in chocolate. Eating foods with oleic acid as part of
a healthful eating plan has been shown to be beneficial for heart health.
Chocolate and Caffeine
Chocolate contains very little caffeine See the chart below for the caffeine content of a few items.
Food or Beverage Caffeine Content
Milk chocolate (1.4 oz. bar) 3 to 10mg.
Dark chocolate (1.4 oz bar) 28mg.
Decaffeinated coffee (8 oz. cup) 6mg.
Regular coffee (6 oz. cup) 65 to 150mg.
Hot cocoa (8 oz. cup) 6mg.
Cola beverages (12 oz. cup) 38 to 46mg.
Chocolate and Polyphenols
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which come from the cocoa tree "Theobroma ' cacao. As a result,
chocolate contains many of the same healthy compounds from plants, including minerals (copper, iron,
zinc, and magnesium) and specific antioxidants called polyphenols. Polyphenols, like those found in tea and
red wine are currently being studied for their potential health benefits.
Chocolate and Allergies
Allergies to chocolate are very uncommon. If you have been diagnosed with food allergies by a board-
certified allergist, you must read labels and avoid the foods or ingredients that cause the allergic reaction. A
registered dietitian can help you plan meals and select foods that exclude the food to which you are allergic.
Chocolate and Diabetes
Diabetes occurs when a person’s body doesn’t properly regulate blood sugars (blood glucose). Eating
certain foods, even simple sugar, does not cause diabetes. All people with diabetes should follow their
physicians’ and dietitians’ instructions for meal planning, physical activity, blood glucose monitoring, and
Chocolate and Headaches
Research shows that most headaches and chocolate intake are not related. Experts agree that most often
it is stress, irregular sleep patterns, hunger, and hormone changes that trigger headaches.
Chocolate and Tooth Decay
Tooth decay happens when carbohydrates (both complex and simple) mix with natural bacteria in the
mouth. This creates acid that breaks down the enamel on teeth. Chocolate, which contains carbohydrates,
is no more or less responsible for tooth decay than other carbohydrate- containing foods like bread,
raisins, crackers, and fruit. In fact, chocolate actually clears the mouth relatively quickly, reducing the time
it spends in contact with the teeth.
A recent study looked at why we crave chocolate and concluded that people do not become addicted to
chocolate. Instead, the study found that people desire chocolate because they enjoy the sensation of
Chocolate and Hyperactivity
Pediatricians say there is no link between the sugar found in chocolate or other foods and restlessness or
attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children.
Chocolate and Health
the bottom line........Remember that chocolate can fit into a healthful eating pattern.
Be sure to eat a variety of foods.
Enjoy chocolate in moderation to add flavor and pleasure to eating.
|History of Chocolate
Chocolate is believed to date back to the ancient Maya Indians, who inhabited the Yucutan Peninsula of Southern
Mexico as far as back as 500AD. The word cacao is believed to be derived from this Maya civilization.
Chocolate comes from cacao beans. Cacao comes from the Aztec word "cacahualt," which stands for "food of the
Gods." It was Christopher Columbus on his fourth and final journey to the Carribean in 1502, who brought
chocolate to Europe. He was astonished at the Atzec's high regard for this commodity and presented it to the
Spanish Court. The Europeans did not care much for this cacao complaining it was too bitter.
It wasn't until 1591 when the Spanish explorer, Hernando Cortez, introduced this commodity to the court of
Charles V that chocolate became popular. He recognized its commercial use, and sent it back to Spain with
recipes on how to convert cacao into chocolate. The Europeans replaced the chili flavourings with vanilla and
sugar making chocolate a lot more palatable.
Chocolate at this time was nothing like the chocolate we know today. Roasted cacao beans were ground to a
powder and mixed with water or wine, to which flavourings such as pimiento or chili powder, cornmeal and
even hallucinogenic mushrooms were added. The result was a bitter tasting, frothy drink used primarily as a cure
and aphrodisiac. Hence, the root of chocolate's connection with love.
In the Aztec culture, the same drink was believed to be sacred and promote stamina. A luxury limited to warriors,
elite circles and nobility, the Aztec Emperor, Montezuma, was alleged to have consumed 50 cups of this prized
Cacao beans were so valuable to this civilization, they used it as their currency, a case where money really did
grow on trees.
The cocoa tree (Theobroma cacao) is a native only to the dense tropical Amazon forests, although it is now
cultivated in many countries. Cocoa trees produce pods that are the size of a pineapple. Inside these pods, there
are between 20 and 50 cream-colored seeds. The seeds, called beans, are strung in five chains around a single
placenta within the pod. Cacao beans are taken out of the pods, and begin a process of fermentation, that lasts
three to nine days. The fermentation is done to rid of germs and reduce the moisture content of the bean. The
fermented beans are then shipped to processing plants, where they are converted into chocolate.
The bean is first roasted, to develop flavor and aroma. It reduces the moisture content and renders the shell in a
loose condition, so that it can be readily removed in the process of winnowing (crushing the bean to separate the
fruit from the shell). After the winnowing process, cacao paste is produced, and further processes create cocoa
butter. Joining these two together in different processes creates some of the commercial chocolate we eat today.
When cocoa powder is combined with cocoa butter and sugar, the "real" dark chocolate is formed. Dark
chocolate can be either sweet or bitter-sweet depending on how much sugar is added.
Milk chocolate is made when cocoa powder is combined with cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. The
addition of milk to this combination gives it a brownish color. Each chocolate manufacturer has secret ways in
which they combine the substances; thus milk chocolate can vary in color and flavor.
Many people might argue that white chocolate is not really chocolate. But the fact is that white chocolate is made
by combining cocoa butter, sugar, and milk powder. Since cocoa butter is derived from the cocoa bean, then we
can only conclude that real white chocolate is indeed chocolate.