Food Fight: Milk Chocolate v. Plain Chocolate

School Of Nutrition Posted Sep 16, 2014 Future Fit Training


We’ve all heard that chocolate is actually good for us. But is this just a good excuse to eat as much chocolate as we like? And, are all chocolates created equal?

Food Fight: Milk Chocolate v. Plain Chocolate

milk chocolate v plain chocolate

Let’s look at some stats comparing small bars (100g) of milk and plain chocolate:

 

MILK CHOCOLATE

PLAIN CHOCOLATE, 70-85% CACAO SOLIDS

Calories

535kcal

599kcal

Protein

8g

8g

Carbohydrates

59g

46g

Of which sugars

52g

24g

Fat

30g

43g

Saturated Fat

19g

25g

Calcium

189mg

73mg

Iron

2.4mg

11.9mg

Copper

0.5mg

1.8mg

Manganese

0.5mg

1.9mg

Magnesium

63mg

228mg

Caffeine

20mg

80mg

Anti-oxidant Power (ORAC)

7,519umol TE/100g

20,816umol TE/100g

Here are some highlights:

  • Both are high in calories, fat, saturated fat and sugar.
  • Plain chocolate actually contains more fat and saturated fat, but significantly less sugar, than milk chocolate.  
  • As expected, milk chocolate is a good source of calcium, which is needed for strong bones and teeth. On the other hand, plain chocolate contains much more iron, magnesium, copper and manganese than milk chocolate. Copper and manganese play important roles in anti-oxidant reactions within the body.
  • Plain chocolate has four times more caffeine than milk chocolate. Caffeine may have negative effects, such as insomnia, on caffeine-sensitive individuals.
  • ORAC is a scale that quantifies the anti-oxidant capabilities of various foods. The ORAC of plain chocolate is almost three times higher than that of milk chocolate. Cacao is a fabulous source of flavonoids, which are part of a powerful group of anti-oxidants known as polyphenols. Flavonoids may help to fight heart disease, cancer, and ageing through its anti-oxidant boosting effect.

 

OUR WINNER: Plain Chocolate!

Although milk chocolate may taste great, it’s not nearly as good for you as plain chocolate is. This is because milk chocolate contains less of the original cacao bean than plain chocolate does. Although milk chocolate does contain some cacao solids, this is diluted with the addition of milk solids, cream and sugar. This is important because the more cacao, the more flavonoids, and the better for you the chocolate becomes. So choose dark chocolate varieties that contain at least 65% cacao.

Having said that, plain chocolate is still very high in calories, fat and sugar. So I would recommend that you consume dark chocolate in moderation. Limit yourself to no more than half a small bar or around 50g per day. Flavonoids are also found in red wine, fruits and vegetables. So including more fruit and vegetables is a great way to promote cardiovascular health, and an occasional glass of red wine won’t hurt either!

Written by Victoria Trowse

If you would like us feature specific types or brands of food in our weekly Food Fight, email nicola.white@futurefit.co.uk with your suggestions.

 

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