Pros and cons of chocolate for consumer health.

February 28, 2023

By Christeena Paramar

Chocolate is the most beloved treats in the world. It is rich, creamy and delicious. Are you a fan of chocolate, if so, you might have a confounded outlook on whether eating it is useful or unfavourable to your wellbeing.

Ever wondered how chocolate is produced? Chocolate is produced from the pods of  Theobroma cacao, which is primarily grown in rainforests,. Nibs, the cacao tree’s seeds, which are used to make chocolate after being fermented and processed. The two principal substances in the fatty cocoa bean are cocoa solids and cocoa butter. While some cocoa butter and cocoa solids are utilised to manufacture dark chocolate, cocoa butter alone is used to make white chocolate in many cases.

Depending on the kind, chocolate is a thick suspension of solid particles comprised of sugar, cocoa, and milk that have an average solids concentration between 60 and 70 percent and are disseminated in a continuous fat phase that is predominantly composed of cocoa butter. Cocoa refers to the non-fat fraction of cocoa liquor (finely crushed cocoa beans), which is used to manufacture chocolate in the form of cocoa liquor (containing 55% cocoa butter) or cocoa powder (containing 12% fat).

Depending on the concentrations of cocoa solid, milk fat, and cocoa butter content, there are three basic types of chocolate are dark, milk, and white. As a result, different amounts of protein, fat, and carbohydrates are present. White chocolates lack cocoa solids containing antioxidants, while dark chocolate contains higher amounts.

Pros of Consuming a chocolate

  • Antioxidant Properties

The strong antioxidant content of chocolate is one of its most important advantages. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can contribute to the emergence of health issues. Antioxidants are compounds that can help stop or decrease cell damage caused by free radicals. Flavonoids, catechins, and procyanidins are a few of the many antioxidants found in chocolate.

  • Could Boost Brain Function

Chocolate may also have beneficial effects on brain function. The flavanols in chocolate can improve flow to the brain, which may enhance cognitive function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

According to research, eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, may enhance cognitive function temporarily. According to a study in the journal Appetite, drinking a high-cocoa chocolate beverage enhanced cognitive function in healthy people more than drinking a low-cocoa chocolate beverage or a placebo.

According to a study published in the Journal Frontiers in Nutrition, consuming flavanol-rich chocolate improved the cognitive functions in older adults.

To completely comprehend the potential effects of chocolate on brain function, additional research is required. It is important to keep in mind that these studies were limited in scope.

  • May improve heart health.

One of the most significant health benefits of eating chocolate is its impact on heart health. Chocolate, especially dark chocolate contains compounds called flavanols, which have been shown to improve blood flow, lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of heart disease.

According to a study published in the journal Heart, people who consume chocolate regularly had a low risk of heart disease than those who consume it frequently.

  • Can Boost Mood

There may be some scientific justification for why so many individuals use chocolate as a consolation treat when they’re feeling bad. Chocolate contains several compounds that can boost moods, including phenethylamine (PEA) and anandamide. PEA is a natural mood enhancer and anandamide is neurotransmitter that can create a feeling of euphoria.

Phenylethylamine have shown to stimulate the hypothalamus eliciting euphoric sensations as well as influencing the concentrations of serotonin and endorphins which boosts the mood.

  • Contain Nutrients

Chocolate contains a range of nutrients that are beneficial to human health, including iron, magnesium and zinc. Iron is essential to produce red blood cells, magnesium is important for bone health and muscle function, and zinc supports immune system function and wound healing. In addition, chocolate contains fibre which can promote digestive health and help you feel full.

  • May help reduce cholesterol

In addition, the antioxidants in cacao can prevent the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, which has been linked to a protective mechanism in heart disease published in an article.  The researchers wanted to see if chocolate bars with plant sterols (PS) and cocoa flavanols (CF) had any influence on cholesterol levels and concluded that may uphold cardiovascular disease by bringing down cholesterol and further developing circulatory strain.

Cons of Eating Chocolate

  • High in Calorie and Sugar

One of the biggest drawbacks of eating chocolate is its high calorie and sugar content. Chocolate is often high in added sugars, which can contribute to weight gain, tooth decay and other health problems. In addition, many chocolate products are high in calories and fat, which can also contribute to weight gain and other health issues.

The sugar content in dark chocolate is low compared to white and milk chocolate but still contains sugar. It’s important to consume chocolate in moderation and choose products that are lower in sugar and calories.

  • May contain Harmful additives

Some chocolates products may contain harmful additives like artificial flavours, colours, and preservatives. These additives can contribute to health problems like allergies, digestive issues and hyperactivity in children. To avoid these issues, its important to read all the ingredients label carefully and choose chocolate products that are free from harmful additives.

  • May Trigger allergies

Chocolate is a common allergen, and some people may experience allergic reactions after consuming it. Allergic reactions to chocolate can range from mild to severe and may include symptoms like hives, itching or difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms after consuming chocolate, its important to seek medical attention right away.

  • May Contain contaminants

While dark chocolate can be beneficial to your health, a Consumer Reports study from 2022 discovered that eating dark chocolate daily could be harmful to adults, children, and lactating mothers.

Chocolate product may also contain contaminants like heavy metals, which can be harmful to human health. Heavy metals like lead and cadmium can accumulate in the body over time and contribute to health problems like cognitive decline and kidney damage. To reduce your exposure to these contaminants, its important to choose high quality chocolate products from reputable manufacturers.

  • May Trigger migraines

Chocolate contains several compounds that can trigger migraines in some people, including caffeine, tyramine and phenylethylamine. If you’re prone to migraines, you may avoid limiting your intake of chocolate. Conversely, there are conflicting view related to chocolates can trigger migr aines. In general, it is recommended not to eat chocolate if you are susceptible to migraine.

In conclusion, chocolate contains antioxidants, nutrients, and compounds that can improve brain function, boost mood, and promote overall health. However, it is important to be mindful of the high calorie and sugar content of many chocolate products, as well as the potential for harmful additives, allergic reactions, and contaminants. By choosing good-quality chocolate products and consuming them in moderation, you can enjoy the many benefits of chocolate while minimizing the potential risks.

Share this:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter