Can Chocolate Really Be Good For You?

can chocolate be good for you I expect by the time you’re reading this all chocolate will have been devoured – I haven’t yet started on my own egg, which is a smallish Cadbury’s Creme number. Once I get started, I find it best to eat the whole lot in one go – egg and ‘bonus’ confectionary. If you limit it to a small amount every day, the guilt just drags on forever. For me, anyhow!

Every year I mean to buy a great quality egg from some kind of artisan chocolatier or posh confectioners, but every year I end up in Sainsbury’s grabbing a couple of rubbish eggs at the very last minute! I was thinking about this yesterday and it reminded me to post about something I’ve been reading up on.

I had a very interesting little research session about chocolate the other day, after a top nutritionist told me that it can be exceptionally good for you. The trick is in the actual cocoa solid content – if you’re eating chocolate that’s 75%, 80% cocoa solid then you’re doing OK. You want the cocoa solids to be as high as possible. Because guess what most of the other percentage consists of? You’ve guessed it! Our old friend Mr Sugar.

Lindt, Divine and Green & Blacks all do amazing, high quality dark chocolate that’s readily available in supermarkets. Yes, it’s far more bitter than the Cadbury’s Dairy Milk that we all grew up on (didn’t we?), but it’s also a fair bit healthier. I see all these stupid headlines saying “chocolate IS good for you!” but then not explaining which type of chocolate! Dairy Milk is only about 20-25% cocoa solids, so all of these apparent ‘antioxidant’ effects and other health benefits are almost definitely going to be outweighed by the colossal amount of sugar that’s dumper-trucking its way into your body. If you go for the higher cocoa solids, the sugar content is less and the benefits higher. (Obviously this is all relative; you’d be better off eating a load of fresh fruit and veg, overall, but hey!)

Many of us eat so much sugar that we are properly, properly addicted to it, so it’s no surprise that milk is far more popular than dark – you’re really loving the sugar rush rather than the taste of actual, real chocolate. Of course there are good quality milk chocolates, but it still goes without saying that they are going to be sweeter, higher in sugar content.

Anyway, it wasn’t my intention to put a dampener on the egg-eating experience, I just wanted to make a point about chocolate and the very big difference between poor quality and good quality! (She says, eating a Cadbury’s Creme Egg.) I got an absolutely amazing recipe for chocolate mousse the other day, which I shall post about soon – it just uses chocolate and egg whites. (Maybe something else, must look…) Because the quality of the chocolate used is so good, hardly any sugar is needed and the intense flavour carries the entire dish. It’s definitely a better way to get a chocolate fix, if you’re on the hunt for one – lower sugar, lower fat…

As always, though, we can apply that age-old adage, “everything in moderation”. The odd bit of crappy choc isn’t going to kill you. But what if you have a bar a day? More? Then you might want to consider joining the ‘dark side’ (boom boom) and training your taste buds in the way of the bitter chocolate! I find that my chocolate cravings are satisfied after just a couple of squares – the rest of the craving is undoubtedly just for sugar.

Little Easter Sermon is over, choco-philes! Go in peace and eat plenty! We shall resume our chocolate discussions next week when I find that bloody mousse recipe..


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