Eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate, might help lower your risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease, and might also help improve your mood. However, these benefits depend on the type of chocolate you choose. Eating chocolate can have some downsides, including a chance you could gain weight if you eat too much of it.
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An ounce of chocolate generally contains about 8.5 g of fat and 150 calories. Milk chocolate and white chocolate tend to be higher in calories due to the added sugar used to make these chocolates, than dark chocolate, which has the highest cocoa content.
Dark chocolate is higher in flavonoids, the antioxidants that provide the beneficial effects of chocolate, than milk chocolate. White chocolate contains no flavonoids. So when it comes to getting the most good out of chocolate besides flavor, the darker the better.
Chocolates with a lot of added sugar, such as candy bars filled with caramel or nougat or coated with candy, have more calories and fewer health and nutritional benefits than plain chocolate. Stick with plain dark chocolate with a high cocoa content -- 60 to 70 percent -- for the most benefits with the fewest calories.
Moderation Is Key
If you want to get the heart-healthy benefits of chocolate without gaining weight, you should eat only a small amount of chocolate. One study showing the benefits of chocolate used only 30 g of dark chocolate per day, which is about the size of a chocolate kiss, according to Colorado State University Extension.