Healthy Chocolate Bar – Not For Everyone
Single Best Strategy It is difficult to resist the pleasant sensation of eating chocolate. If we’re going to take it, unless it’s as healthy as possible, right? Sonia Peinado and Mireia Elías, nutritionists from the European Medical Institute of Obesity (IMEO), explain in detail the characteristics of the most recommended tablet from the point of view of health.
We can consider chocolate as a “boost sale” because most of its consumers do not make the shopping list thinking about including it, but rather they are carried away by the quantity of products on display. It is important to take the necessary time to be able to read the nutritional labeling of the foods that interest us.
Not all tablets are created equal. White chocolate is made with cocoa butter, milk and sugar (among other sweeteners and semi-finished products) and does not contain cocoa. Milk chocolate usually contains less than 40 percent cocoa (it is achieved by reducing the cocoa paste and increasing the milk content, which can be powdered, sweetened or condensed), thus reducing the concentration of polyphenols (specifically flavonoids), which are those that are related to the reduction of cardiovascular risk.
Finally, we find dark chocolate, with a high percentage of cocoa cream or paste (the higher it is, the less sugar it will contain) and cocoa butter. According to the current Royal Decree, for a product to be considered chocolate it must have “at least 35 percent total dry cocoa, 14 percent defatted dry cocoa and 18 percent cocoa butter” and to be considered “black” it must contain a minimum of 50 percent cocoa paste.
The Unadvertised Details Into What Is In A Healthy Chocolate Bar That Most People Don’t Know About
Considering then the composition of the different chocolates whose beneficial effect is associated with the percentage of cocoa paste or cream, “without a doubt, the healthiest option would be the consumption of dark chocolate, understanding its previously mentioned composition. However, and despite the associated beneficial effects, its intake should be prudent in populations at risk or suffering from overweight or obesity, since it is still a very energetic food and phenolic compounds can also be found in foods such as fruits and vegetables, whose intake recommendation is daily. We must leave the choice of a good chocolate for specific moments or moderate consumption “, say nutritionists at IMEO.
Elías cites, below, the benefits that cocoa has for health: It improves our cardiovascular health, thanks to the polyphenols it contains. These have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce blood pressure and “bad” or LDL cholesterol. The fat it contains is mainly made up of a fatty acid called stearic acid, which does not cause a rise in bad cholesterol.
As a consequence of improving circulation and increasing blood flow, cocoa helps cognitive functions, improving our attention and memory. It has a high fiber content, which provides benefits for intestinal health as well as being satiating. causes blood glucose rises or its consequent insulin resistance and diabetes or metabolic disturbances.
It is rich in vitamins of group B and minerals such as magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, copper and zinc. In addition, cocoa provides tryptophan. This is a precursor amino acid to serotonin, a hormone related to happiness. It also improves mood and fights depression. It causes an increase in the elasticity, hydration, density and circulation of our skin. Despite all the above, we can not ignore that it can be somewhat addictive due to its theobromine and caffeine content.
So many types of chocolate bars have appeared on the market that the consumer may feel lost in the volume of options. According to Elías, for chocolate to be healthy it must contain: High percentage of cocoa. The higher it is, the less sugar. See that it puts at least 75 percent cocoa, but the more the better. This looks easy on the front of the label.
Low sugar content. If the chocolate has a high percentage of cocoa, it will almost certainly be low in sugar. Even so, we can see it on the back of the label, specifically in the nutritional value or information, where the section on “carbohydrates of which are sugars” should not be greater than 20-25g per 100g.
However, almost all chocolates will contain sugar. If what we are looking for is a very low or no contribution, we can buy pure defatted cocoa powder “without added sugar” or 99 percent cocoa chocolate.
When the chocolate is labeled “no added sugar”, most of the time it will have sweetener to sweeten. The problem is that the most used is maltitol, sometimes even appearing as the first ingredient on the list, which implies that it is the one with the highest amount in the tablet. Maltitol is not recommended for people with intestinal pathologies such as irritable colon. In addition, if we take it continuously it can cause abdominal bloating, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
The fact that it contains roasted nuts, such as almonds or hazelnuts, does not imply that it is neither more nor less healthy, but simply that its contribution of nutrients will be different. You can also have roasted cocoa nibs with the same effect.
Some come with orange, chili, strawberry … which gives them a special touch. The amount of these ingredients provided is very small, so that at a nutritional level they do not make much difference. The most important thing will continue to be that they carry a high percentage of cocoa. Only then would they be adequate.
When it comes with caramel, we must be aware that it is a contribution of extra sugar and, therefore, of empty kilocalories. Make sure that the cocoa is pure, since if it has been subjected to some chemical treatment such as alkalization, it may lose part of its flavonoids and their respective benefits.
“We have previously discussed the main ingredients contained in different types of chocolates, so changing radically from one type to another can cause rejection in the population if they are used to consuming those that contain higher amounts of sugar. The change, therefore, should be gradual to accustom our palates to a product with a greater amount of cocoa and less sugar, “says Peinado.
Normally, “this composition with less milk is what leads us to consider this type of chocolate as bitter and, however, it is not always true, since much of the final flavor of the product will be determined by the quality of the chosen grain , as well as for their treatment ”.
In general, “chocolate bars with pieces of fruit increase the kilocalories destined for sugar due to the presence of the fruits (in addition to the one already added by the manufacturer along with cocoa, milk fat, butter, etc.), so they would not be a very healthy option ”, indicates Peinado.
When nuts are included in a chocolate bar, we must consider that we will increase the energy load of chocolate, which is already energetic. However, it is a much healthier option because the content of saturated fats will be lower, as well as the average value of carbohydrates and sugars, which option can also be improved by choosing brands whose products have the labeling “no added sugars” ”
Currently, we find in all food establishments products made with high concentrations of fat and sugar that have a high palatability (they are very pleasant to the palate) and, therefore, attract the attention of the consumer.
“A better option would be to make homemade pastries taking care of the ingredients and their quantities, prioritizing the use of dark or dark chocolates with a high percentage of cocoa and a low sugar content to which we can add elements that contain dietary fiber, with high satiating power. A perfect example of this would be the pancakes made from whole-grain oat flakes with dark chocolate without added sugars that can be decorated with pieces of fruit, ”recommends Peinado.
According to the recommendations of the World Health Organization (WHO) for adults and children, which says that the total consumption of sugars should not exceed 10 percent of the total intake and suggesting that this is less than 5 percent , Chocolate intake should be moderate and occasional, not exceeding 30 grams per week, which would correspond to an ounce or four small squares of a tablet. This amount may be higher (one ounce a day) if we drink chocolate with a percentage of cocoa of not less than 90 percent ”, concludes Peinado.