How much dark chocolate is too much? (5 obvious signs)
In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘ How much dark chocolate is too much?’. Dark Chocolate has many health benefits. Like most health foods, there is a limit to how much Dark Chocolate is good for you.
How much dark chocolate is too much?
You can consume dark chocolate on a daily basis with a cacao percentage of 70 % at least.
Numerous studies have examined the daily intake of dark chocolate and have found that the optimal benefits lie within the range of 10–30 g/day.
Similar to other foods containing phenolic compounds, increasing the intake beyond this range does not offer additional benefits and might even have negative effects.
Regarding the impact of dark chocolate on Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist circumference (WC), research indicates that a significant effect is only observed when the intake exceeds 30 g/day for at least 4 weeks (100).
Consuming such quantities would add more than 170 kcal to the daily caloric intake. (1)
What is Dark chocolate’s nutritional profile?
Dark chocolate comprises cocoa bean solids, which can make up to 80% of its total weight, and cocoa butter. The rich and enduring aroma of cocoa is a defining characteristic of dark chocolate, and its overall quality is influenced by the percentage of cocoa it contains.
The primary ingredient in chocolate is cocoa, and it contains a noteworthy amount of fat, with approximately 40–50% of cocoa butter. Within cocoa butter, about 33% is oleic acid, 25% is palmitic acid, and 33% is stearic acid.
Additionally, cocoa is a source of polyphenols, which make up around 10% of the whole bean’s dry weight. These polyphenols contribute to the potential health benefits associated with consuming dark chocolate. Dark chocolate also contains caffeine (15 mg/20 g) and theobromine. (2)
What are the Nutritional values of Dark Chocolate?
The nutritional values per 100 g of dark chocolate are:
|Chemical Composition||Dark Chocolate|
|Vitamin A (µg)||9|
Why must you avoid eating dark chocolate in excessive amounts?
Dark chocolate is recognized as a high-caloric food, and achieving a delicate balance between the health-promoting effects of cocoa compounds, such as polyphenols, and the caloric contribution it adds to the daily diet is crucial.
When it comes to body mass index (BMI) values, the benefits derived from polyphenols and epicatechin content are offset by the high calorie-to-gram ratio of chocolate. Failing to maintain this balance with the overall daily caloric intake may lead to weight gain and obesity.
Ingesting chocolate may decrease the tonus of the lower esophageal sphincter, potentially promoting gastroesophageal reflux.
Phenylethylamine, caffeine, and its metabolite, as well as theobromine, are substances that could act as triggers for migraine attacks and should be taken into consideration, especially by individuals prone to migraines. (1)
What are the health benefits of regular consumption of dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate has gained popularity for several decades owing to its remarkable health benefits.
It contains a range of health-promoting components, including polyphenols, flavonoids, procyanidins, theobromines, as well as various vitamins and minerals. These elements play a positive role in modulating the human immune system.
Consuming dark chocolate can provide protective effects against cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancers, and various brain-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Thanks to its anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial properties, dark chocolate is considered a functional food, offering additional health advantages beyond its basic nutritional value.
Moreover, dark chocolate has been linked to weight management benefits and the promotion of a healthy lipid profile, making it a valuable addition to a balanced diet for those seeking overall well-being. (3)
What are the health effects of theobromine and caffeine present in dark chocolate ?
The pleasant taste of cocoa and dark chocolate can be attributed to the presence of theobromine and caffeine in specific proportions. These compounds have a positive impact on our moods and state of alertness.
Theobromine, which is found in higher concentrations than caffeine, appears to be responsible for several effects associated with the consumption of dark chocolate.
Caffeine’s actions in the central nervous system (CNS) are crucial in understanding the appeal of caffeine-containing beverages. Its beneficial effects range from promoting alertness to potentially reducing the risk of neurodegenerative diseases.
While the effects of theobromine have been studied to a lesser extent than those of caffeine, it is known to exert positive effects on various human conditions.
The combination of caffeine and theobromine in dark chocolate may offer the anticipated benefits without the reported side effects sometimes associated with caffeine alone. (4)
In this brief guide, we answer the question, ‘ How much dark Like chocolate is too much?’. We considered the health benefits of Dark Chocolate and the harm that overconsumption causes. Like most health foods, there is a limit to how much Dark Chocolate is good for you.
- 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.
- 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.
- Martínez-Pinilla E, Oñatibia-Astibia A, Franco R. The relevance of theobromine for the beneficial effects of cocoa consumption. Front Pharmacol. 6:30. 2015.