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Don't Forget the Calories continued...

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.

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

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