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Health by Chocolate

How enjoying a little chocolate might actually help your health.

New and Improved Chocolate Products

Now that the word is out that chocolate may have health benefits, special chocolate products are hitting the shelves. Two examples are CocoaVia and Hershey's Cacao Reserve.

1. CocoaVia (by Mars Inc.)

This product contains cocoa powder with a higher amount of flavanol than your average chocolate bar. The company has also added cholesterol-lowering soy sterol esters (similar to the type in Benecol and Take Control margarines). They have also added B-vitamins and calcium and two antioxidant vitamins, C and E.

Whether all this leads to much health benefits remains to be seen. I can tell you that the products I've tried taste worthy of your attention. If you are interested in trying CocoaVia, try to find them on sale because as the amount of nutrients and flavanols went up, so did the price.

There are several types of CocoaVia bars. The Original Chocolate Bars contain (per 22-gram serving):

  • 100 calories
  • 6 grams fat
  • 3.5 grams saturated fat
  • 9 grams sugars

2. Hershey's Cacao Reserve

Want some of the benefits of dark chocolate but with the flavor of milk chocolate? Try the milk chocolate bars in the Cacao Reserve line by Hershey's. I found them in my drugstore. I tried the Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts with 35% Cacao. It was delicious, and a cross between a milk chocolate bar and a dark chocolate bar, I think.

Per 1 ounce (that's a little more than 28 grams):

  • 162 calories
  • 11 grams fat
  • 5 grams saturated fat
  • 11.8 grams sugars

Chocolate Recipes

If you're ready to cash in on the possible health benefits of chocolate (or at least the taste benefits), here are a couple of lighter dessert recipes to fulfill your chocolate cravings.

Chocolate Raspberry Pound Cake

WebMD Weight Loss Clinic members: Journal as 1 portion medium dessert

Dust this cake with powdered sugar and serve with fresh raspberries and a dollop of Light Cool Whip or whipping cream, if desired. If you don't want to use Splenda, increase the sugar to 1 1/2 cups.

3/4 cup less-sugar raspberry preserves
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Splenda
3/4 cup baking cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup less-fat margarine (with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon), preferably with plant sterols added
3 tablespoons raspberry-flavored liqueur (fat-free half-and-half can be substituted)
16 ounces fat-free sour cream
2 large eggs (use higher omega-3 type, if available)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an angel food pan (tube pan) with canola cooking spray and dust lightly with flour. Place the raspberry preserves in a small microwave-safe bowl and heat on HIGH for 15 seconds or until softened.
  • Add whole-wheat and white flours, sugar, Splenda, cocoa, baking soda, and salt to large mixing bowl and beat on low to blend well. Stop mixer and add margarine, liqueur, sour cream, eggs, vanilla, and softened preserves all at once. Beat on medium speed for two minutes, scraping sides of mixing bowl after a minute.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then remove cake from pan and place on serving plate to cool completely. When ready to serve, dust powdered sugar over the top. Serve with fresh raspberries and a dollop of whipped topping or whipping cream. if desired.

Yield: 16 servings

Per serving: 195 calories, 5 g protein, 36 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat, 1 g saturated fat, 3 g fiber, 311 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 18%.

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