Everyone loves chocolate, right? Not so fast. There are those who love it, those who hate it and even some who fear it. That’s because while most of us see chocolate as a guilty pleasure, others see it as a potential toxin that should be avoided at all costs. These beliefs have led to some common misconceptions about the cocoa bean that many of us take for granted. There are many people who avoid chocolate for various reasons. Some do so because they have an allergy to nuts or soy, while others choose to forgo it for its high fat content. Regardless of why you decide not to eat chocolate, here are 10 things you probably believe about the tasty treat that simply aren’t true.
It’s Full of Sugar
If there is one thing you should know about chocolate, it’s that it does not have a lot of sugar in it. In fact, it has very little sugar in it at all. Traditionally, cacao beans are fermented, dried, roasted and ground into a paste. Once you add the other ingredients, like sugar and cocoa butter, you get the chocolate that we know and love. In fact, pure chocolate contains only about 10% sugar. Once you add the other ingredients, the percentage of sugar drops to only about 5%. That puts it on par with a banana when it comes to sugar content. Dark chocolate has even less sugar, with most varieties having less than 10 grams per 100 grams of chocolate.
All Dark Chocolate Is Good for You
Most of us know that eating a handful of candy bars a day isn’t going to make us healthy. But many of us think that eating lots of dark chocolate is a good idea because it’s “healthy.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, there are many varieties of dark chocolate that are full of saturated fats and processed sugars that are bad for you. Some varieties of dark chocolate can be extremely high in fat and calories. Some of the worst offenders include plain dark chocolate, high-fat cocoa and even dark chocolate bars with nuts in them. If you want to consume dark chocolate that is healthy for you, you’ll want to look for varieties that are low in fat and calories.
It Has No Nutritional Value
One of the biggest misconceptions about chocolate is that it has no nutritional value. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, chocolate is actually loaded with antioxidants and is considered to be a superfood. In fact, cocoa has been found to contain over 300 different substances, including caffeine, minerals and vitamins. It’s also a great source of antioxidants that are believed to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. In fact, studies show that chocolate is one of the most antioxidant-rich foods in the world, with one serving containing as many antioxidants as five servings of blueberries.
It’s a Major Cause of Weight Gain and Obesity
Another common misconception about chocolate is that it’s a major cause of weight gain and obesity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, research shows that the cocoa in chocolate can actually help you lose weight. While chocolate is high in fat, most of this fat is polyunsaturated and monounsaturated and is believed to actually promote weight loss. Even when eating high-calorie dark chocolate, studies show that it’s unlikely to lead to significant weight gain. Perhaps the biggest reason for this is that people who eat chocolate tend to eat less high-calorie, unhealthy foods. That said, if you eat a lot of chocolate, it can lead to weight gain and you should cut back.
You Should Always Buy Organic When Eating Chocolate, and Organic Means Safer
Some people believe that organic chocolate is somehow safer than non-organic chocolate. That’s simply not true. There is no evidence that organic chocolate is safer than non-organic. In fact, there is even some evidence to suggest that non-organic chocolate is safer since it’s less likely to be contaminated with pesticides. Because cacao beans are grown in rain forests and open fields, they’re less likely to be contaminated by pesticides. Some people believe that organic is safer because it doesn’t use pesticides. However, even non-organic chocolates don’t use pesticides. Most chocolate manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure that their products are pesticide-free.
It Contains Traces of Lead and Other Toxins
It’s true that some foods contain traces of lead, but that doesn’t mean that all foods do. In fact, there is very little evidence to suggest that chocolate has high levels of lead in it. In fact, chocolate is one of the least likely foods to contain lead. There is some concern that cacao beans may have lead in them. However, once the beans are ground into a paste, there is very little chance of lead contamination. That’s because the process of turning the beans into chocolate removes any traces of lead. In fact, research shows that most consumers are unlikely to exceed the recommended daily intake of lead.
It’s Rare and Difficult to Produce
One of the misconceptions about chocolate is that it’s rare and difficult to produce. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. In most years, the world produces enough cocoa to meet the needs of all chocolate lovers. That said, there are times when the supply of cocoa is low, but that’s usually due to a natural disaster such as a hurricane. That’s because most people who love to eat chocolate live in temperate or tropical regions where cocoa can be grown almost all year round. Cocoa happens to be one of the most resilient and adaptable plants on the planet and can be grown successfully in many different areas.
Chocolate is a delicious treat, but like everything in life, it should be enjoyed in moderation. Eating too much chocolate can lead to health problems such as weight gain, increased blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. If you love chocolate, make sure you check the nutritional information on the packaging to make sure you’re getting a healthy snack.