Is Chocolate Really Bad for You? Exploring the Myths and Truths Behind the Popular Treat

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Is chocolate really that bad for you

Chocolate: the creamy, sweet confectionary loved around the world. It comes in many different sizes, shapes, and flavors; sometimes, you might choose to enjoy the creaminess of a milk chocolate bar. Other times, you might prefer to reach for a piece of dark chocolate for a touch of bitterness. Either way, both would be considered well-earned treats, sometimes even viewed as something “naughty” — a food you shouldn’t really be consuming.

So – What is Chocolate?

Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, which grow on cacao trees. These beans get slowly roasted to allow the chocolatey flavor to come through. After roasting, you have the essence of chocolate, and chocolatiers use this to create their version of the delectable treat.  

Of course, from there, the sky’s the limit — chocolate can taste vastly different depending on where you get it. Many brands use low-quality ingredients to form their chocolate, but many people still find the sugary treats tasty. Then you get the gourmet stuff, like the chocolate you can find at This type of chocolate completely changes the experience. With good chocolate, you enjoy a smooth texture, a real chocolatey taste, and, in some cases, added notes from other added flavors (such as salt, caramel, and ginger). As mentioned, the sky’s the limit!

Why is Chocolate Considered Unhealthy?

Chocolate is generally considered an unhealthy food because it’s high in calories, sugar, and saturated fat. Too much sugar can be particularly bad for you, leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. Sure, it gives you a burst of energy, but not the type that has any longevity. Does that mean that eating chocolate is always a bad idea? Good news — no.

Could Chocolate Be Good for You?

Much like anything, chocolate is absolutely fine to consume in moderation. Sure, having a third of your diet consisting of chocolate bars won’t do much for your health, but most people don’t eat it that way. When eaten as a part of a varied, healthy diet, chocolate can even provide some health benefits.

Three Healthy Facts About Chocolate

It’s true — there are some health benefits of chocolate. Keep in mind that most of these health benefits come from dark chocolate (as opposed to the milk or white variety).

1: Chocolate Can Help Your Heart

The numerous antioxidants found in dark chocolate can actually improve the health of your heart. It increases blood circulation, helping prevent heart disease. Who knew? To make the most of this benefit, aim to eat chocolate that has 70% cacao (or more).

2: It Can Improve Brain Function

Another incredible benefit of consuming dark chocolate at 70% cacao or higher is that it can even improve brain function. According to researchers, chocolate increases hippocampal cerebral blood flow, leading to better memory. This benefit is great for those who are getting on in years and want to exercise their brain more.

3: Chocolate Can Reduce Stress

Finally, chocolate can even reduce stress. When you eat dark chocolate, the brain feels pleasure, leading to a decrease in stress. Overall, you’ll be in a better mood after eating chocolate.

Plus, by eating a little of what you love from time to time instead of avoiding it altogether, you’ll avoid feeling too stressed about your limits. No one will ever tell you to eat nothing but chocolate. However, don’t think you have to cut it out completely, especially if it’s something you love as a treat.

How to Enjoy Chocolate the Healthy Way

If you really want to reap the benefits of chocolate, aim to eat high-quality dark chocolate as a treat. Don’t overdo it. Instead, savor the taste, enjoying all the notes and flavors that the chocolate provides. Also, remember to consume chocolate as a small part of a wider, varied, healthy diet. If you need help figuring out what a healthy diet looks like for you, consider speaking to your doctor — they can put you on the right track.

Remember that there are plenty of different ways to consume chocolate, too. There’s the standard way of snapping a piece of chocolate from a bar. You could also buy a box of chocolates that contain a wide range of exciting flavors — it might even turn you into a chocolate connoisseur! For those who like to relax and destress at the end of the day, a warm cup of milky cocoa can be the perfect way to do so.

In Summary

Chocolate doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure. When high-quality dark chocolate is eaten in moderation, it can provide various health benefits. Plus, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a sweet snack that you love from time to time!

About the Author

Jared Levenson is a former binge eating wrestler turned Zen Buddhist Monk, Internal Family Systems counselor and nutrition wellness coach. He's helped hundreds of people through universal meal principles and internal family systems to make peace with food, stop binge eating, and find true health and wholeness.


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