Chocolate's Dark Secret
From religious elixir to lover's treat to health food? The new truth about chocolate.
A small portion of about an ounce should satisfy your taste buds -- especially if you eat it slowly -- and provide chocolate's health benefits without widening your waistline.
Here's an example. A standard-sized bar of Hershey's Dark Chocolate has 531 calories, compared with 150 calories from an ounce of dark chocolate or about six Hershey's Kisses.
Q: Why do some chocolates tout the percent of cocoa on the label?
A: The greater the percentage of cocoa, the higher the concentration of flavonoids. Most milk chocolate contains up to 50% cocoa, while some inexpensive chocolates contain as little as 7% cocoa. Look for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa for the finest dark chocolate rich in healthy flavonoids.
Q:What is the difference in the calories in cocoa, baking chocolate, and chocolate candy?
A: Most chocolate we eat today is a combination of cocoa solids, fats, sugar, and, in the case of milk chocolate, milk. Here's the scoop on fat and calories:
Pure cocoa powder: (2 tablespoons): 40 calories, 1 gram of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat
Unsweetened baking chocolate (1 ounce):140 calories, 14 grams of fat, 9 grams of saturated fat.
Semisweet or milk chocolate (1 ounce): 135 calories, 8.5 grams of fat, 5 grams of saturated fat.
Dark chocolate (1 ounce): 142 calories, 10 grams of fat, and 6 grams of saturated fat.
Q: What is the difference between cocoa powder, baking chocolate, dark, milk, and white chocolate?
A: It all boils down to how chocolate is made. Cocoa beans are roasted, graded, and ground to make a chocolate liquor, which also contains cocoa butter.
Unsweetened baking chocolate is chocolate liquor that's been solidified and pressed.
Cocoa powder is cocoa butter removed from chocolate liquor and dried into cocoa powder.
Dark chocolate is a blend of sugar, cocoa butter, chocolate liquor, and sometimes vanilla.
Milk chocolate is made by adding milk or milk powder to the dark chocolate formula.
White chocolate contains sugar, cocoa butter, milk or milk powder, and vanilla. It has no chocolate liquor.
Emulsifying agents are usually added to chocolate candy to give it a smooth texture and mouth feel. More expensive chocolates are processed longer to enhance the mouth feel.