Is There Such a Thing as Bad Chocolate?

| February 15, 2012 | 1 Comment
If you’re anything like me, you know that the answer to the above question is an unequivocal no! No, all chocolate is good, right? Well, unless it is a matter of giving chocolate to our kids… then it’s not so good. Not so good for teeth or sugar and fat consumption. And chocolate does contain caffeine, which might not be so good for your sanity, when the kids are all hyped up.Since two holidays that usually involve some chocolate consumption are coming up over the next couple of months, you may be wondering if there’s a way to give the kids the chocolate they crave without being asked to hand in your Mom of the Year award. Yes, there is!Here are the facts, so you can make the right decisions for your family:*Flavanols are a type of antioxidant that is found in cocoa. (As a quick refresher, antioxidants are substances that help neutralize free radicals in your body, and free radicals can cause health problems, such as cancer and heart disease. So in a way, eating foods high in antioxidants can help prevent certain health problems.) The darker the chocolate, the higher the levels of flavanols. For this reason, dark chocolate is considered more healthy than milk chocolate. White chocolate is not really chocolate at all; it is not made from cocoa beans, and contains no flavanols.

*All chocolate contains approximately the same number of calories. Milk chocolate contains a few extra calories due to the extra cream and sugar that is added, but it’s a negligible quantity. Fifty grams of milk chocolate contains about 265 calories and 15 fat grams; the same amount of dark chocolate contains 255 calories and 15 fat grams; and white chocolate contains 280 calories and 17 grams of fat.

*In general, the darker the chocolate, the more caffeine it contains. A 1.55-ounce milk chocolate bar contains about 12 milligrams per serving, and the same size dark chocolate bar contains about 25 milligrams. To put this in perspective, a cup of coffee has anywhere between 80 and 200 milligrams of caffeine, and an 8-ounce serving of non-diet cola contains about 35 milligrams.

*If you buy chocolate that contains nuts, cream fillings, nougat, or any of the other numerous options available when it comes to buying candy, the calorie, fat, caffeine, and sugar levels may vary.

*Serving size counts. A little box of four or five filled chocolates might be consumed in 10 minutes. A large box of 20 filled chocolates might be consumed in 15 or 20, if your kids are little chocolate monsters. Buying the smaller box, even if the larger box seems like a better deal, might be friendlier to their teeth and overall nutrition.

Remember that most things are just fine in moderation. One of my own strategies when it comes to holiday chocolate is to let the kids eat it with abandon for a day or two, then I make it disappear. Over the years, I’ve gotten better at gauging how long it will take for them to eat a certain amount of candy, and I can usually buy just enough to allow them 24 to 36 hours of a sugar high. You may, of course, choose to limit the candy, or to have them space it out over a week or more. You can also experiment and try something new every year to get the hang of what works best, and to keep the kids guessing, which is always fun.

What’s going to be your chocolate strategy this year?

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  1. ellyfilho says:

    You know what’s so hard especially for me with teen and pre-teens ? Telling them it’s not a good thing and loving it so much myself. The 1st thing they say is…. ” But you eat it ” then I have no response LOL .. but i do try 🙂

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