Posted on by Thierry de Nutrielse

Whether it’s dark, white, with milk, with nuts, as a standard bar, powdered chocolate or in bite sized pieces. With flavours from the sweetest to the most bitter, chocolate has a special place in our kitchen and culture. Some people fervently worship this food while others see it as an enemy and cast it away because they don’t want to get fat!

Chocolate is produced from the cocoa broad bean which is transformed after many steps to make a cocoa paste. The cocoa paste can be further processed into cocoa butter, which is the liquid part of the paste (the cocoa fat) and cocoa solid (tourteau) which can be turned into cocoa powder like that used in hot chocolate drinks and breakfast foods. Chocolate powder contains 20% of cocoa fat.

If you keep the cocoa paste without separating the cocoa butter and cocoa solid, then add milk and spices such as vanilla to taste, you get chocolate! If some have adorned it with all the virtues (a powerful antidepressant, a powerful aphrodisiac etc) for most of us chocolate is a mix between pleasure and guilt about gaining weight. But what about it really?
First of all, you need to know that dark chocolate and milk chocolate have the same number of calories. Both contain 555 calories per 100 grams. Dark chocolate has less sugar than milk chocolate but is richer in fat while it is reversed for milk chocolate. So, there is no reason to eat dark chocolate if you prefer milk chocolate! White chocolate is not really “chocolate” because there is no cocoa paste, just cocoa butter. White chocolate has the same calorie count as dark or milk chocolate. On the other hand, be careful using chocolate spreads. They are like the slice of bread prepared by grandmother with butter and powder chocolate sprinkled on top. The good way to use a spreadable chocolate is to spread thinly over the bread and not with a spoon directly from the jar! Spreadable chocolate is full of saturated fat which is not good for your health.

If you wish to lose weight and you love chocolate, don’t delete it completely from your diet. This will only increase your cravings.
In fact, demonising food only makes it more desirable. It is better to give yourself permission for one or two pieces of chocolate to savour and enjoy it like a gift for yourself without feeling guilty rather than to avoid it. A small piece every day will not increase your weight while abstinence will bring on the craving much stronger as you long for the texture and taste of chocolate!

So, give chocolate a special place as a luxury food, like in the old centuries, and eat small quantities with pleasure and contentment!

Ref. : Savoir manger édition 2006/2007 Dr Cohen et Serog - Ed Flammarion