Chocolate is, first and foremost, a food consumed for pleasure. It is high in energy, which means it should be consumed in moderation. However, chocolate is not like other treats: cocoa contains a number of compounds from the polyphenol family, including flavanols, which have beneficial effects in terms of heart health. It may also have positive effects on brain function (such as the memory).
Cacao also contains significant quantities of certain minerals, in particular magnesium, which aids muscle function and helps to counteract fatigue.
Dark chocolate contains more cacao (and thus more flavanols), and less sugar. White chocolate is made with sugar and cocoa butter. It does not contain the low-fat cocoa that contains the flavanols. Milk chocolate does contain cacao, but in lower proportions than dark chocolate.
Consuming 10 g of chocolate provides you with approximately 55 kcal, which can be easily accommodated by a balanced diet and a recommended daily intake of 2,000 kcal. There is no established link between chocolate consumption and weight gain. In fact, certain studies suggest chocolate may have some beneficial effects on health, especially heart health(1,2,3).
1. Katz DL et al. Cocoa and chocolate in human health and disease. Antiox Redox Signal 2011;15(10):2779-811.
2. Matsumoto C et al. Chocolate consumption and risk of diabetes mellitus in the Physicians'
3. Health Study. Am j Clin Nutr 2015;101(2):362-7. Belz GG, Mohr-Kahaly S. Cacoa and dark chocolate in cardiovascular prevention? Dtsch Med Wochenschr 2011;136(51-52):2657-63.