Chocolate myths and facts

Caffeine, cholesterol, cavities, nutritional value - MSU Extension sets chocolate myths straight.

Do you enjoy receiving and eating chocolates? And, not just on Valentine‘s Day? Do you feel guilty indulging? Here are some facts and myths about chocolate to maybe help with that guilt:

Myth: Chocolate is high in caffeine.

Fact: A 1.4 ounce chocolate bar contains six milligrams of caffeine. That’s equivalent to the caffeine in a glass of chocolate milk or a cup of decaffeinated coffee.

Myth: Chocolate is fattening and raises your bad cholesterol.

Fact: The main fat in chocolate is called stearic acid, which is the main component of the cocoa butter that gives chocolate the “melt in your mouth” texture. Research shows that it does not raise your bad cholesterol (LDL). In fact, eating a moderate amount of chocolate raises your good cholesterol (HDL).

Myth: Chocolate has no nutritional value

Fact: Chocolate is rich in magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. Remember that chocolate contains flavonols which contain cancer-fighting properties.

Myth: Chocolate causes cavities

Fact: Cavities are formed when the bacteria present in mouth ferments sugary and starchy food. The product of this process is acid, which can cause cavities. Brushing teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste can prevent cavities.

So should you indulge in the heavenly flavors of chocolate on a daily basis? Michigan State University Extension recommends consuming your favorite foods in moderation. That also depends on your weight goals and whether you want to gain, lose or maintain your weight. Remember, moderation is key. An average candy bar has about 220 calories. To maintain your weight, your caloric intake should equal your caloric expenditure meaning: Calories in = Calories out.

To learn more about chocolate read part one of this article, Chocolate – superfood or not?

MSU Extension offers various educational programs that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating. For more health and nutrition tips visit

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