Last week it came to my attention that there seemed to be some confusion surrounding the issue of dark vs milk chocolate. As a result I had a few incredibly confused clients approach me so I've set out to clear up this debate in this article.
There is a common misconception that milk chocolate may in fact be a healthier alternative afterall. This has been conclued merely due to the number of calories per 100g. However, we've moved on from calories being the be all and end all. There really is more to health than calories (and more to nutrition information tables too). So let's look at the facts:
*Milk Chocolate (per 100g): *Dark Chocolate (per 100g):
Calories: 565kcal Calories: 630kcal
Fat: 36g Fat:53.5g
Of which saturates: 21.5g Of which saturates: 32.0g
Carbohydrates: 48.0g Carbohydrates: 22.5g
Of which sugars: 45.5g Of which sugars: 13.5g
Fibre: 3g Fibre: 11.5g
Protein: 9.8g Protein 9.4g
Evidently what we can see here is that the calories may be lower in the milk chocolate; this is due to the fact that the sugar content is considerably higher. 1g of sugar = 4kcal compared to 1g of fat =9 kcal.
So far, the sugar content of the milk chocolate is over double that of the dark chocolate. The fibre content of the dark chocolate is nearly 4 times that of the milk chocolate. Whilst the protein content is very slightly less in the dark chocolate, they're very similar.
However, I know what you are thinking now.... What about the difference in the fat. Yes, there is considerably more fat in the dark chocolate. The myth that suggests fat makes you fat and increases your risk of heart disease, high cholesterol and other nutrition-reletaed diseases is all too simple. It is far more complex than this (and requires another article all together). However, research has suggested that unsaturated fat is beneificial in brain functioning, energy and a reduction in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol). Furthermore, whilst the term saturated fat is an umbrella term for a variety of fats which are chemcially different (they contain no double bonds in their carbon chain) to unsaturated fatty acids. Whilst not all saturated fats are beneifical there is some research to suggest that certain types can also contribute to the increase of HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Consequently, this is not something which should persuade you to pick milk over dark.
Sugar has been shown to not only cause havoc on the brain due to its addicitive properties. It's been linked to heart disease, obesity and type 2 diabetes amoung many other diseases.
With regard to the macronutrient profile of the two chocolates I hope I have explained why calories are not the be all and end all.
Before I wrap up, I think it is important to note some of the other properties which are present in dark chocolate:
1. Antioxidants: it is rich in antixoidants which help to remove free radicals in the body.
2. Flavanols: it is rich in flavanols which can contribute to healthy blood flow and skin.
3. It is more difficult to over eat: due to the reduced amount of sugar and its bitter taste you'll be less likely to consume the whole bar at once!
4. Some research has suggested it helps to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Evidently, dark chocolate (when assessed in more detail) appears to be the healthier option. This is not to say I am suggesting you never eat milk chocolate again. I'm simply making you aware of the facts and encouraging you not to take things you see on social media at face value.
If you have any comments or questions feel free to email me.
*comparison between Green and Black Milk Chocolate and Green and Blacks 85% Dark Chocolate.