“Hello young lovers, wherever you are! Today is Valentine’s Day, so hurry and buy roses and chocolate for your beau! There are some very tasty ones out there, so what are you waiting for? Don’t worry, chocolate is really healthy for you and your sweetheart – it is rich in antioxidants called phenols. So eat up. Have another piece. and another. and another…”
But before you do. Please read this:
1. Chocolate is derived from cocoa beans. The beans are bitter and full of antioxidants called phenols. These phenols do good things to our body, like help reduce blood pressure. The phenols are what makes the cocoa beans so bitter.
2. Only a very small amount of the phenols is left over by the time you bite into your pralines. Reminder: chocolate isn’t bitter, it’s sweet. The processing cocoa beans go through reduces most of the bitterness, at the cost of reducing the phenols.
3. Dark chocolate, unlike milk chocolate, retains some of the phenols, and is therefore the darling of the dietetic community. But most people do not eat dark chocolate, it accounts for less than 10% of total chocolate sales in the US.
4. Chocolate portion sizes should be much smaller than the serving size as stated on the nutrition label. An ounce and on third (40 grams) is the standard serving size for chocolate. It has about 250 calories, and half of your daily saturated fat allowance.
5. If you do enjoy chocolate, figure out a strategy that will allow you to consume a small portion, such as one or two squares (20 grams).
6. In case you haven’t noticed, Valentine’s day has been co-opted by the chocolate industry to a point where it accounts for 5% of annual chocolate sales. Just saying.
Bottom line: Enjoy high quality chocolate for its great taste and to lure your lover. Don’t mistake it for a health food. Enjoy it in small quantities - Unfortunately, even here at Fooducate we will have a tough time following our own advice…