How much chocolate is too much? (+3 reasons)
In this article, we will answer the question “How much chocolate is too much?”, and what are the side-effects of eating too much chocolate?
How much chocolate is too much?
The ideal amount of chocolate to consume depends on the type. For dark chocolate, a daily intake of 10–30 g/day offers its maximum benefits. However, it’s important to be mindful of the calorie content.
Both milk chocolate and white chocolate contain more calories than dark chocolate and offer less benefits, meaning they should be consumed in smaller quantities to manage calorie intake effectively. (1, 2)
What is chocolate’s nutritional profile?
In dark chocolates, cocoa bean solids can make up to 80% of the total weight, accompanied by cocoa butter.
Meanwhile, milk chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder, lecithin, and at least 20-25% cocoa.
On the other hand, white chocolate lacks cocoa solids and is made of cocoa butter, milk, and sugar.
Cocoa is the primary ingredient in all chocolate varieties and contributes significantly to its high fat content, constituting about 40-50% of cocoa butter. Within cocoa butter, approximately 33% is oleic acid, 25% is palmitic acid, and 33% is stearic acid.
Beyond its rich composition, cocoa serves as a valuable source of polyphenols, comprising about 10% of the whole bean’s dry weight. (2)
What are the Nutritional values of Chocolate?
The nutritional values per 100 g of chocolate are: (2, 3)
|Chemical Composition||Dark Chocolate||Milk Chocolate||White Chocolate|
|Vitamin A (µg)||9||25||9|
Chocolate is well-known for being a high-calorie food, and striking a careful balance between benefiting from the health-promoting cocoa compounds like polyphenols, and managing its caloric impact in the daily diet is necessary.
One of the components found in chocolate, theobromine, is believed to be responsible for causing heartburn. Theobromine has the effect of relaxing the esophageal sphincter muscle, which can lead to the entry of stomach acidic contents into the esophagus, resulting in discomfort.
Moreover, some studies have reported allergic reactions to chocolate in children, underscoring the importance of being mindful of individual sensitivities and allergies when consuming this treat. (4)
What are the health benefits of chocolate?
Dark chocolate has health-promoting components like polyphenols, flavonoids, procyanidins, theobromines, and various vitamins and minerals; it plays a positive role in modulating the human immune system.
Dark chocolate can confer protective effects against cardiovascular diseases, specific types of cancers, and various brain-related disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
It has anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties, offering additional health advantages beyond its basic nutritional value. Furthermore, dark chocolate has been associated with benefits related to weight management and the promotion of a healthy lipid profile. (3)
Milk chocolate, in contrast to dark chocolate, has a distinct composition and potential impact on human health. Unlike dark chocolate, which boasts high concentrations of cocoa (up to 80%) and associated health benefits, milk chocolate’s sugar content could be linked to adverse effects. (2)
When comparing the two, it is important to note that dark chocolate contains considerably higher levels of flavonoids than milk chocolate because it´s cocoa content is 20-25%.
Additionally, the biological effects of these flavonoids may be more pronounced in dark chocolate since the presence of milk in milk chocolate could potentially slow down the intestinal absorption of these beneficial compounds. (4)
White chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk, and sugar with no cocoa solids. As such it has none of the health benefits of polyphenols, flavonoids, procyanidins, theobromines present in cocoa solids (3)
Therefore, when comparing the three types, it becomes evident that only dark chocolate, characterized by its high cocoa content, abundant flavonoids, theobromine, and low sugar levels, stands out for its potential health-promoting effects. (2)
In this article, we answered the question “How much chocolate is too much?”, and what are the side-effects of eating too much chocolate?
- Zugravu, C., & Otelea, M. R. Dark Chocolate: To Eat or Not to Eat? A Review. Journal of AOAC International, 102(5), 1388–1396. 2019.
- Montagna MT, Diella G, Triggiano F, Caponio GR, De Giglio O, Caggiano G, Di Ciaula A, Portincasa P. Chocolate, “Food of the Gods”: History, Science, and Human Health. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 16(24):4960; 2019.
- U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ FoodData Central Search Results. Washington, DC.Candies, white chocolate. 2018.
- Latif R. Chocolate/cocoa and human health: a review. Neth J Med. 2013 Mar;71(2):63-8.
- Sharmistha Samanta, Tanmay Sarkar, Runu Chakraborty, Maksim Rebezov, Mohammad Ali Shariati, Muthu Thiruvengadam, Kannan R.R. Rengasamy, Dark chocolate: An overview of its biological activity, processing, and fortification approaches, Current Research in Food Science, 5, 1916-1943, 2022.