Nutrition Articles

7 Myths and Facts about Chocolate

Melting the Myths for Good

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Whether you prefer a gooey chocolate truffle or a mug of hot cocoa, chocolate is the number one indulgence for most of us—especially on Valentine’s Day. But this indulgence comes at a price, right? After all, isn’t chocolate bad for us, full of caffeine and saturated fat? Not so fast—new research has shown that chocolate can be a part of a healthy diet after all.

Here are some common myths about this Valentine’s Day (or any day) treat, along with the facts to set the record straight.

Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine.
Fact: While eating chocolate may perk you up, chocolate is actually not very high in caffeine. A 1.4-ounce chocolate bar or an 8-ounce glass of chocolate milk both contain 6 mg of caffeine, the same amount as a cup of decaffeinated coffee. (For reference, regular coffee contains about 65-135mg of caffeine.)

Myth: Chocolate is loaded with saturated fat and is bad for your cholesterol.
Fact: Stearic acid, the main saturated fat found in milk chocolate, is unique. Research has shown that it doesn’t raise cholesterol levels the same way that other types of saturated fats do. In fact, eating a 1.4 ounce chocolate bar instead of a carbohydrate-rich snack has been shown to increase HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

Myth: Chocolate lacks any nutritional value.
Fact: Chocolate is a good source of magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. It also contains polyphenols (an antioxidant also found in tea and red wine) that have been associated with a decreased risk of coronary disease. An average chocolate bar contains about the same amount of antioxidants as a 5-ounce glass of red wine.

A daily serving of dark chocolate, which contains more antioxidants than milk chocolate, can also help lower blood pressure and improve insulin resistance according to a joint study between Tufts University in Boston and the University of L’Aquila in Italy. The findings do not suggest that people with high blood pressure consume dark chocolate in lieu of taking their prescribed medication, but that the flavonoids in dark chocolate may have a positive effect on blood pressure and insulin resistance. Learn more about the health properties of chocolate.

Myth: Chocolate causes cavities.
Fact: Candy alone is not responsible for cavities. Cavities are formed when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars and starches from any type of food (soda, candy, juice, bread, rice and pasta) to produce acid. This acid then eats through the enamel of the tooth, causing a cavity.
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About The Author

Leanne Beattie Leanne Beattie
A freelance writer, marketing consultant and life coach, Leanne often writes about health and nutrition. See all of Leanne's articles.

Member Comments

  • Hubby bring me dark chocolate. But I don't eat it like that. - 12/22/2013 2:47:14 PM
  • I have to disagree about chocolate not causing headaches. Though in general it may not cause headaches, in some people with certain sensitivities it DOES cause headaches. My chocolate sensitivity has progressed from causing heartburn when I've had too much (at which point if I eat ANY I get heartburn unless I stay away from it completely for a few weeks to clear it out of my system), to causing itching, and now headaches. I have definitely noticed that I get headaches after eating chocolate. I'm also caffeine sensitive, so I don't know if it is the small amounts of caffeine in the chocolate or some other chemical which is responsible, but I HAVE been able to established this as one of the triggers responsible lately. - 3/23/2013 2:38:36 AM
  • Ahh chocolate, I love it! But can't control myself if I start. Though I'm going to try adding one small square of dark chocolate per day to the diet - it's health food right? :D

    Only point that I don't agree with - diet having no significant effect on acne. Acne can be caused by hormones (just look at any teenager, or some ladies (like me) about once each month)... and diet, especially sugar from my understanding, has a big part to play on the balance of your hormones.

    I used to have a bit of trouble with acne, and have found that since I cleaned up my diet the acne has all but completely gone. - 11/10/2012 4:27:02 AM
  • I must disagree with the statement that chocolate does not cause migraines. I have seen it first hand, my father suffered from migraines for years, when he gave up chocolate they went away. If he eats even a small amount of chocolate, he is sure to have a migraine the following day. - 7/18/2012 8:08:51 PM
  • "They" may say it doesn't cause acne, but I do believe it can cause flare ups. I was 8 when I started with breakouts and I gave up ALL chocolate for 2 years around age 14 because my acne actually smelled like chocolate and I didn't even eat a great deal of it at that time, but when I did it flared up. Giving it up did not completely clear my skin, but it did help to stop eating it. I do think that not eating it helped clear my skin sooner rather than later. I do eat chocolate (mostly a good Dark) now, but I am long passed the acne days. - 2/14/2012 2:08:16 PM
  • I think it's important to note the types of chocolate. Hershey's chocolate isn't great for you, whereas a hearty dark chocolate is. Thanks for all the great information! (Totally looking forward to my piece of chocolate today!) - 2/14/2012 11:36:14 AM
    I usually have a square of dark chocolate 80 - 90% grade a day and it gives me required energy for daily living. - 2/13/2012 11:26:22 AM
  • Like everything else in life, chocolate is part of a healthy diet if eaten in moderation. I had no idea that the chocolate-migrain
    e link was debunked. Great, informative article! - 2/13/2012 10:16:47 AM
    This is very informative piece of writing. Helpful to know the truth about chocolates. You might as well take a glance at www.chocolarious.
    com for more truths about chocolates. You can also include to learn new recipes that are easy yet so much delightful. - 2/6/2012 5:49:16 AM
  • My entire sp meal plans are around 2 chocolate shakes (enormous antioxidants and practically zero carb...)and 3 pieces of chocolate a day with another 750 healthy calories added, healthychocolateh
    abit is what I have,,,I'll share!! chocolate makes everything better :) - 8/31/2010 9:20:47 PM
    Oh, bless you, kind woman. It should be noted in most domestically produced chocolate products, there is very little actual chocolate (cocoa). But once you've had the real deal, you can taste the difference. I could seriously mainline cocoa nibs (insert drool here). - 2/4/2009 12:50:59 PM
  • I have always loved chocolate, especially the dark chocolate. I have never had a problem with only eating a small amount at a time though. It's much easier to control how much chocolate I eat than how much salty/crunchy/REA
    LLY bad for you stuff that I crave so much! - 6/13/2008 3:46:21 AM
  • I could never give up chocolate. I also think that chocolate triggered my migraines if I ate too much of it, especially dark chocolate. - 3/27/2008 7:46:18 PM
    I eat 2-3 Hershey's dark kisses a day. They don't make me want to keep eating like the milk chocolate ones do. And....they're good for me. - 2/17/2008 5:14:42 PM
    Dark chocolate is a flat belly food! It contains monosaturated fatty acids which help you lose belly fat!

    /weight.loss/!.food - 2/14/2008 6:15:11 PM

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