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Health by Chocolate

How enjoying a little chocolate might actually help your health.

Which Type of Chocolate Has the Most Calories and Fat?

By far the lowest-calorie, lowest-fat form of chocolate is cocoa (the unsweetened type). A serving of 3 tablespoons has about:

  • 60 calories
  • 1.5 grams fat
  • 0 grams saturated fat
  • 3 grams fiber

The equivalent in unsweetened baking chocolate is 1 square (1 ounce), which contributes:

  • 140 calories
  • 14 grams fat
  • 9 grams saturated fat
  • 4 grams fiber

By comparison, a typical 2-ounce serving of semisweet or milk chocolate (with sweetener and other ingredients added) contains:

  • 270 calories
  • 17 grams of fat
  • 10 grams of saturated fat

Semisweet chocolate adds around 3 grams of fiber per 2 ounces, while milk chocolate typically contributes zero. The mostly insoluble fiber in cocoa comes from the seed coat on the unprocessed cocoa bean.

All of this brings us to Health by Chocolate Rule of Thumb #3: For a better flavonoid-to-calorie ratio, choose cocoa powder whenever possible for baking and making hot chocolate.

Don't Forget the Calories

One thing most chocolate bars have in common is calories. An ounce of sweetened chocolate will cost you about 150 calories -- that's about six to seven chocolate kisses. Here's my take on it as a chocolate lover: Those six kisses are worth every calorie.

But here's a word of caution: The health benefits of chocolate may disappear if you are adding the calories above and beyond your regular intake. This could mean you're adding pounds along with the flavonoids.

Researchers from the University of California at Davis said it best in a scientific review on cocoa and chocolate flavonoids published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. They concluded that people may benefit from including a variety of flavonoid-rich foods as part of a healthful diet -- and dark chocolate, in moderate amounts, can be part of this plan.

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