You will be hard-pressed to find someone who does not like chocolate, though some are not fans. Nevertheless, chocolate remains one of the most beloved sweets in human society and has been used in uncountable desserts and snacks. Chocolate comes in multiple forms, with several confectionary companies using different recipes to put a new spin on it.
Companies like Mars Wrigley Confectionary and Hershey Company have made millions in chocolate sales with famous candies. While these brands have developed hundreds of unique treats, chocolate is slightly more complex than most people realize. Making chocolate requires careful manipulation of the ingredients to generate the desired variant, though there are only 2 variants of significance. These variants are milk and dark chocolates with very different flavor profiles.
Some people prefer milk chocolate while others prefer dark; it is a matter of taste that is not likely to fade despite any arguments. While most chocolate lovers prefer the 2, it does not change the fact that significant differences impact the effect they have on our health. Chocolate, like all food, has a caloric value that determines how much it affects our food intake and how much energy our bodies can draw upon.
Calories are not everything since the ingredients and nutrients contributing to a caloric value are extremely important. Insofar as chocolate is concerned, whether it is milk or dark chocolate, the caloric value is altered. The same applies to other key ingredients that make chocolate what it is. The question we must ask is: which type has the lowest caloric value?
What is Milk Chocolate?
Milk chocolate is probably the most common type on the market due to its sweet flavor profile and malleability in other confections. The first instance of milk chocolate appeared in the early 1600s, though it referred to a beverage of liquid cocoa mixed with actual milk. It first reached London in 1687, but it was not until 1839 that solid milk chocolate was introduced. A company called Jordan & Timaeus used steam-powered machines to begin developing solid chocolate.
On May 23rd, 1839, they announced the first solid milk chocolate, which they called dampfchocolade. From there, solid milk chocolate launched an industry that began its spread in 1875 when chocolatiers Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé combined cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, and condensed milk to produce their own solid chocolates. In modern society, their efforts led to the creation of Nestlé, named after Henri.
Randolph Lindt further refined the process in 1879 following his invention of the conche, which produced smoother chocolates. Nowadays, milk chocolate is the most commonly consumed chocolate on Earth. The only thing that set it apart was the inclusion of milk in its creation, which tempered the otherwise bitter flavor of the cocoa that produces chocolate.
Milk chocolate is now widely available as traditional chocolate bars, balls, and squares but has also been adapted to fit several proprietary chocolate treats. Nestlé and Hershey, in particular, have become very creative by creating chocolate snacks like CRUNCH bars and Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. That said, all of them owe their existence to creating the original milk chocolate.
With this in mind, we are left with the issue of how many calories milk chocolate has, not to mention the additional ingredients. Multiple details distinguish milk chocolate, and knowing them could be extremely important.
Nutritional Details of Milk Chocolate
Milk chocolate might be the most common and have a sweeter taste, but that taste comes with a price. All sweets will be high in calories because of the sugar concentration. Milk chocolate also develops a high calorie count because of the sugar and the milk, which also yields a high concentration of healthy fat. On average, 100 grams of milk chocolate has 535 calories (equal to 5.35 per gram). The average chocolate bar weighs between 56 and 85 grams, meaning at least 300 calories and, at most, 455. This makes milk chocolate a major drain on your daily caloric intake, especially since most people lose their self-control when consuming sweets.
The caloric value of milk chocolate can be slightly reduced if made without added sugar. In most cases, sugar-free chocolate only loses between 10 and 20 calories when using the same measurement. It ultimately depends on the recipe, but 100 grams of Lindt's "no sugar added" milk chocolate has 511 calories (5.11 per gram).
Milk chocolate has another important detail that distinguishes it from other types. All genuine chocolate has a concentration of cocoa, the plant from which chocolate is created. Cocoa solids in the recipe determine how much of cocoa's bitter flavor is retained by the subsequent chocolate. The low percentage of cocoa solids identifies milk chocolate since the main goal of milk chocolate is to maintain a sweet flavor profile.
Typically, chocolate can only be identified as milk chocolate if the cocoa solids level is 40% or less. Hershey Company's chocolate only contains 11% cocoa solid, so Hershey's bars are so sweet. Cocoa solids have a minor impact on chocolate's caloric value because higher concentrations limit how much of the other ingredients make it into the final product.
What is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is considered an acquired taste because it is significantly more bitter than milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is one of the purer forms modern chocolates can take since it is much closer to the cocoa plant's natural state. Spanish explorers first discovered the cocoa plant in the early 1500s; they brought it back to Europe and tempered it with honey and cane sugar, resulting in the liquid chocolate we mentioned earlier.
Eventually, the liquid chocolate derived from cocoa plants would be solidified due to Peter and Nestlé. However, there was a chocolate company that did not use butter and milk to alter the chocolate's flavor profile. J.S. Fry's & Sons used purer chocolate and did not add milk or butter when solidifying it. It was only following Peter and Nestlé's breakthrough that the term "dark chocolate" was coined.
The name "dark chocolate" was developed because of the newfound need to distinguish between the 2 types. Dark chocolate was so named because it possessed a darker brown color than milk chocolate's lighter coloration. Despite being purer and closer to the plant that spawned it, most people favored milk chocolate over dark because of the bitter flavor associated with the latter.
While it is hardly shocking that the general public favored the sweeter confection, dark chocolate experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century. Dark chocolate was linked to several health benefits that were less pronounced than milk chocolate. Milk chocolate is less beneficial because of the added ingredients like milk and butter.
Despite the key differences between dark and milk chocolate, other factors must be considered. Like milk chocolate, dark chocolate has a specific nutritional value that is important to know before consuming any. It also marks another major difference between milk and dark chocolate.
Nutritional Details of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate's bitter flavor profile is not a coincidence but is a result of the lack of additives used during its production. The milk and butter used to sweeten milk chocolate are completely absent, affecting dark chocolate's caloric value. Milk and butter are both major sources of additional calories and nutrients that affect the total in the foods they are used to make.
Dark chocolate's lack of these additives means it has a lower caloric value than milk chocolate. On average, 100 grams of dark chocolate contains 505 calories (5.05 per gram), around 30 less than the same amount of milk chocolate. Considering the previous average weight of a chocolate bar, a dark chocolate bar will have at least 283 calories and 429 calories at most. Though, these are averages and might be subject to change depending on the recipe and production method.
Like milk chocolate, calories are not everything, and other aspects of dark chocolate directly affect its nutritional value. Like before, the percentage of cocoa solids in dark chocolate has a similar effect to that of milk chocolate. Unlike the latter, dark chocolate has fewer added ingredients and is closer in purity to the cocoa plant used to create it.
Chocolate only earns the title "dark chocolate" when the cocoa concentration is between 50 to 90%. On average, chocolatiers and major chocolate companies opt for a 70% cocoa concentration to avoid oversaturating it with bitterness. Dark chocolate is primarily used in other products since only a small percentage of the population eats it as is. Nevertheless, dark chocolate bars remain extremely popular and offer a higher concentration of what makes them nutritional.
The health benefits mentioned before are tied directly to dark chocolate's purity. Since it is not adulterated with added sweeteners and milk, cocoa's nutrients are more concentrated. As a result, consuming dark chocolate enables us to enjoy the benefits cocoa can offer without trying to stomach the raw plant.
What is White Chocolate?
We have emphasized the differences between dark and milk chocolate and how their caloric values differ. While this information benefits people hoping to take advantage of any health benefits, you might wonder why we have not mentioned white chocolate. White chocolate is extremely popular due to its sweet flavor and brighter color, but there is a major issue with white chocolate that milk and dark chocolates do not have.
White chocolate is not technically real chocolate. White chocolate is made with milk, sugar, and cocoa butter, but no cocoa solids are in it. Without cocoa solids, it technically does not meet the criteria to be considered real chocolate, let alone offer the benefits of cocoa plants.
What Are the Benefits?
We have made vague mention of the benefits associated with eating chocolate with high levels of cocoa solids. By now, you probably want more insight into what makes chocolate consumption beneficial. Despite being a candy, eating chocolate with high concentrations of cocoa can benefit weight loss. As surprising as it sounds, researchers from Harvard University discovered a connection between consuming milk chocolate and improved weight management.
Specifically, Harvard's research discovered that eating 100 grams of milk chocolate first thing in the morning or right before bed offered the following benefits:
- No additional weight gain.
- Reduced appetite and improved sleep.
- Improved fat burning and reduced glucose levels from morning consumption.
- Improved sleep quality and enhanced exercise metabolism from evening consumption.
This is not an excuse to go wild and eat obscene amounts of chocolate, but that moderate consumption of well-produced chocolate can make weight loss easier. Some chocolates minimize the additional sugar and other sweeteners and only use what is explicitly necessary to make milk chocolate. The trick is finding those chocolates and a reliable vendor you can purchase from regularly.
Keep it All Natural!
Chocolate is a beloved treat that millions of people eat regularly, despite the issues associated with the chronic consumption of sweets. The knowledge that chocolate can help weight management routines was nothing short of extraordinary, but it requires an understanding of chocolate's nutritional values.
While milk chocolate usually has a much higher caloric value than dark chocolate, some versions keep the calorie count extremely low. The key is finding a chocolate bar that does not overuse sweeteners and additional ingredients. This occasionally means accepting a slightly more bitter flavor as it inches toward the 40% maximum cocoa percentage for milk chocolate. Unfortunately, finding such a bar of chocolate can be challenging in a market like this.
We at Bella All Natural have always believed in the power of natural substances to improve health and appearance. While we usually focus on other substances, we have realized the importance of chocolate in health and beauty. That is why we are proud to announce our new Skinny Chocolates, which contain no artificial sweeteners or extra sugar. We focus on offering the maximum amount of cocoa allowed in a bar of milk chocolate while using light levels of milk powder and cocoa butter to temper the flavor.
The best part is that our chocolate only has 24.5 calories per piece, making it easy to add to your diet. We encourage you to visit our website and take the first sweet step into a chocolate weight management routine. Regardless of your choice, remember always to keep it All Natural!