Articles, health benefits of chocolate

The Great Chocolate Debate: Part I

Handmade or mass-produced? 

A host of scientific studies in recent years have concluded that there are significant health benefits in eating chocolate.

But the known health benefits relate to good quality dark chocolate, the best of which is made by highly skilled artisan chocolatiers in small batches, using premium cocoa beans. The primary ingredients are cocoa butter, cocoa solids, sugar cane and natural vanilla pod.  By maintaining a high proportion of the essential cocoa components – and a minimum of 60% cocoa solids – the extensive benefits of handmade dark chocolate can be realised, as it is the cocoa bean that scientists consistently find to have health-giving properties.

In contrast, when mass-produced dark chocolate is made, cocoa butter is removed and replaced with inexpensive vegetable fat.  Multiple ingredients are used, including food colourings, preservatives and vanillin (an artificial vanilla flavour) and  cocoa solids rarely make up more than 30% of the finished product.  Throughout the whole process the chocolate has had little human contact and, instead, almost every decision is focused on making the chocolate as low-cost as possible.

So does it mean that mass-produced chocolate is bad for you?  The general concensus is that, in moderate quantities, it probably won’t do you any harm.  But it’s doubtful that there are any significant health benefits either.

Artisan Chocolates Assortment On Green Plate

The Great Chocolate Debate Part II:     Is chocolate high in caffeine?

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