Are you actually eating real chocolate? You will be surprised to know that the disappointing answer is: Most likely NOT! Learn how to tell if you are eating real chocolate that is good for you. Cacao has amazing health benefits so eating the right type of chocolate is key!
Eating Real Chocolate That Is Good For You
A growing number of studies show that chocolate, especially antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, has health benefits that put it squarely on the latest list of superfoods. This sounds fantastic because chocolate is so delicious, but the studies that boast of chocolate’s amazing health benefits are not referring to your average store-bought chocolate bar.
What Is The Difference? How To Tell If You Are Eating Real Chocolate That Is Good For You
Let’s take for example a popular brand: Hershey’s chocolates. Like other industrial chocolate makers, for the most part, their products aren’t really chocolate.
Chocolate is made from cacao beans, which are kind of expensive. Replacing cacao for cheaper ingredients (usually cheap vegetable oils), is a more profitable way of producing chocolate, but the problem is the final product is something other than “real chocolate”.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has a policy for labeling chocolates. The products need to meet certain standards (SOURCE), or food companies cannot actually label their products as real “chocolate”. So what do they do? They always have a tricky way to get away with things, and they are allowed to label their fake chocolates as “chocolate flavor”.
Now you know how to tell if you are eating real chocolate. Next time you buy chocolate, stay away from products labeled as “chocolate flavor” or “made with chocolate”. It means it is not real chocolate and was produced with inferior ingredients. Remember to always read your labels and stay informed to make the best choices for you and your family.
Real Chocolate Is Good For You
Studies show that the darker the chocolate, the better. Eat only less-processed chocolate that contains at least 65 percent cacao, recommends Joy DuBost, PhD, RD, an American Dietetic Association spokeswoman.
Not only does dark chocolate have a higher concentration of antioxidants than milk chocolate, but milk chocolate is also higher in added sugar and unhealthy fats. Dairy also inhibits the absorption of antioxidants from cacao.
Cacao contains far more antioxidants per 100g than acai, goji berries and blueberries. It is also rich in minerals like magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, copper and manganese. Did you know that cacao can increase levels of certain neurotransmitters that promote a sense of well-being? It is the same brain chemical (phenylethylamine) that is released when we experience deep feelings of love.
Of the many flavonoids in cacao, two in particular, epicatechin and quercetin, are believed to be responsible for the cancer-fighting properties. Eating real chocolate helps prevent cancer!
7 Health Benefits Of Cacao:
- It can improve memory loss
- Reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke
- Improves vision
- Protects your nervous system
- Lowers blood pressure
- It can boost your mood
- Helps prevent cancer
You Can Make Your Own Chocolate
The good news is you can make your own chocolate with only 3 super healthy ingredients: cacao, coconut oil and honey or maple syrup. It’s super easy and the chocolates are super tasty. I actually LOVE the recipe with maple syrup. Give it a try! See my recipe here: DIY 3 Ingredient Real Chocolate Recipe.
You can also make your own real chocolate syrup. See my Healthy Chocolate Milk recipe and enjoy drinking real chocolate milk! It is a super simple recipe that you can store in a mason jar in your refrigerator.
Other Good Real Chocolate Options
I personally love chocolate that contains 70% cacao. It is really the perfect balance for a rich, a little bit sweet but still dark, real chocolate flavor. If I go above 70% my kids think the chocolate is too bitter so they won’t eat it. It is really up to you and your personal preference. Here are some of my favorite chocolates:
Cacao beans are one of nature’s most potent antioxidant foods. Cacao powder is the basic, most important ingredient for making real chocolate. Making your own food is always the best choice. For other great homemade snacks, check out my 5 Processed Kids Snacks You Should Avoid article.
This information should not replace professional advice by a qualified medical or herbal practitioner.
This How To Tell If You Are Eating Real Chocolate That Is Good For You post contains affiliate links. The products linked are the products I use and recommend. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link, your cost will be the same but Creative Healthy Family will automatically receive a small commission. Your support is greatly appreciated.
Last update on 2022-11-19 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
Beth Tappen says
Thank you so much for the clarification and explanation about real chocolate and its benefits! Does this recipe melt at room temp and that is why you need to store it in the freezer? Could you use it in baking (ie, cookies, brownies, muffins, quick bread, etc.)
Creative And Healthy Fun Food says
Hi, thank you for your message. Yes, they do melt at room temperature and I keep them in the freezer. You can use it in baking also! I am going to try a new idea this week and make cacao brownies. I will post it soon 🙂
Thank you for all your informative posts and fabulously delicious yet easy recipes, keep them coming!
Creative And Healthy Fun Food says
Thank you so much!
Thank you for sharing healthy chocolate making.
I like to avoid sugar so I buy Lily’s Extra Dark Stevia-Sweetened chocolate bars. On the ingredient list the first thing listed is “Unsweetened Cocoa,” so I guess that would be a “real chocolate” choice.
I also buy a chocolate bar at Trader Joe’s called Simply Lite. It’s also Stevia Sweetened. But they list “Cocoa Mass” and “Cocoa Butter” on their ingredient list. I found the below definition for “Cocoa Mass” and it sounds like it should be a healthy chocolate choice.
“Cocoa mass is the portion of any finished chocolate that came directly from the fermented, dried cacao seed. … In other words, cocoa mass is “the brown stuff”. Cocoa mass can come in pressed form, in which case it is usually called “press cake” … or it can come in powdered form, in which case it is “cocoa powder”.”
Do you have any comments on that?
I wonder why this site uses the “latin” term “cacao” instead of the english “cocoa”….