The Americans consume more than 4 kilograms of chocolate per year, per person. It has many benefits, but beware, not all chocolates are as worthy as dark chocolate, as we would tend to believe. Let's clear up misconceptions about the food that is melting us.
Produced from the cocoa bean, chocolate was considered the food of the gods among the Mayas and the Aztecs. The fermented bean, roasted and crushed, forms a paste whose fat is extracted. It is the latter which is referred to as "cocoa butter". To obtain chocolate, the dough, cocoa butter, and sugar must be mixed. Enjoyed by gourmands, chocolate contains many nutrients beneficial to health. However, several studies show that the over consumption of certain chocolates is not recommended.
Myth # 1: Chocolate is good for you
True and false. Different types of chocolate are obtained by adding sugar, cocoa butter, milk or spices. Most of the benefits are found in the cocoa contained in chocolate. It is therefore recommended by many health and wellness professionals to consume chocolate with a minimum of 70% cocoa with a low glycemic index. Compared to white chocolate or milk that contains a lot of sugars, fats and flavors, dark chocolate does not cause significant peaks of insulin in the blood and therefore does not create feelings of fatigue, or sweet cravings.
Myth # 2: Chocolate contains antioxidants
True. Chocolate with a high cocoa content contains vitamins B and E and flavonoids, antioxidant molecules that fight against the free radicals responsible for ageing cells. Also rich in minerals, it contains magnesium, potassium and iron that helps reduce fatigue and prevent cardiovascular disease.
Chocolate has notable effects on the brain. It contains tryptophan, an amino acid that works for the synthesis of serotonin and melatonin, the sleep hormone. A low serotonin level can lead to a depressive state. Eating chocolate containing a lot of cocoa improves the mood and acts as a natural anti-depressant.
Myth # 3: Chocolate should be consumed every day
False. Chocolate, even black, is to be consumed in moderation because it contains sugar. A 100g wafer of dark chocolate contains about 600 calories, the equivalent of a Big Mac. It is therefore, advisable to eat a maximum of 30g of dark chocolate a day or about two squares.
False. Like all fruits, cocoa beans are treated with pesticides. Consuming organic chocolate therefore guarantees a product without chemical treatment but is not always dietary. Indeed, chocolate, whether organic or not contains, according to its composition, sugar and butter. Consume so with moderation. Sugar should second or, ideally, third in the list of ingredients. Avoid the chocolate marketing pitfalls of "light", because fat is often replaced with more sugar, even for dark chocolate. Choose a bar of organic chocolate with at least 70% cocoa that contains no artificial flavors and no added sugar.
Myth # 4: Chocolate is addictive
True. The product also contains anandamide, a molecule that binds to the same receptors as cannabis, for example. This action has the effect of creating a sensation of pleasure that can lead to a slight addiction. It is especially important when the addiction is not controlled. Consume with moderation. In addition, chocolates containing higher levels of sugar are more prone to causing addiction because of the peak blood glucose they cause.
Myth # 5: White chocolate is rich in calcium
True. Regarding calcium intake, eating white chocolate would be similar to drinking a glass of milk. The problem is that white chocolate contains six times more sugar than a glass of milk. It represents an energy value of 551 calories. Because of its low cocoa content, it is the chocolate that contains the least amount of antioxidants and vitamins.