Tip of the Week: Chocolate can be heart healthy but you have to eat the right kind

By HeartHawk Latest Reply 2012-02-08 23:16:14 -0600
Started 2011-09-14 22:25:16 -0500

Study after study shows that eating chocolate is good for your heart. Unfortunately, many people interpret this as a license to gorge themselves on chocolate. But not all chocolate is equal and unlimited quantities are not justified.

Chocolate is believed to exert its beneficial effect via the anti-oxidant properties of the flavanols found in cocoa. There is no agreement on the optimal daily dose but one might infer that no more than 20 to 40g of cocoa every 1 to 3 days (which is a pretty wide range) seems prudent. However, not all chocolate is equal.

To get 40g of cocoa in a milk chocolate preparation that is only 20% cocoa you would have eat 200g of chocolate. The problem is that the other 160g is mostly sugar. This ratio of sugar to cocoa would overwhelm the positive effects of the flavanols.

100% cocoa bars are so bitter as to be unpalatable. I usually eat 40g of an 86% cocoa bar which means I get about 36.4g of cocoa per serving. I had to work up to this as I previously ate sugar-laden milk chocolate. Now, when I eat a 70% cocoa-bar (which would provide 28g of cocoa per 40g serving) it tastes really sweet.

Since no one really knows just yet what the optimal dose is you should consult your doctor before starting any cocoa regimen. But, I always make certain that I eat no more than 40g of a 70% cocoa bar per day.


4 replies

zahtece 2012-02-08 21:26:36 -0600 Report

Hi Hearthawk..wouldn't the chocolate even with the high cocoa content still fall under cholesterol..?

HeartHawk 2012-02-08 23:16:14 -0600 Report


It's always a balancing act. The saturated fat in chocolate does indeed raise cholesterol but if you keep the carbs low (low sugar, high cocoa content - 80% cocoa or higher) it will be large LDL cholesterol which is not nearly a dangerous. Plus you get benefits of the cocoa polyphenols.