When it comes to food indulgence, chocolate or beverages like a cup of hot chocolate rank number one and the rank remains the same when it comes to the list of food that one needs to give up while on a diet. But, it is now being suggested that along with a nutrient-rich diet, as recommended by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, the consumption of one ounce or less of dark chocolate will not hurt the diet.
According to studies, special attention should however, be given to the type of chocolate that is being consumed. It is recommended that the label of the chocolate be read to know the ingredients that went into the making, for a careful selection of the chocolate.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States requires that foods like chocolate should specify the ingredients that can be used for products labeled as cacao.
Now, chocolates which contain up to 50 to 60 percent of chocolate liquor are labeled as bitter chocolate, and if the percentage of chocolate liquor is around 35 percent, it is labeled as semisweet. Some chocolates may also contain around 70 to 90 percent of cacao, which is the highest.
Apart from these, many chocolatelike products are also available, which are better avoided as they contain added fats like hydrogenated oils along with palm and palm kernels. Moreover, these do not fall under the category of chocolates as identified by FDA.
Researchers have found that nonalkalized cocoa powder and dark chocolate are rich in Flavan-3-ol antioxidants. Moreover, chocolates are rich in minerals like potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese along with B vitamins niacin and riboflavin. And, the bevy of health benefits like increased cognition, better blood sugar, increased HDL, and lower blood pressure makes dark chocolate good for health as well.
It is worth mentioning here that the consumption of quality dark chocolates and nonalkalized cocoa will contribute towards a healthy lifestyle, however, moderation is key to success when it comes to food indulgences and diet.