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Can I Eat Dark Chocolate if I’m Trying to be Healthy?

Hi, I’m Katie, and I’m a chocolate addict.

I’m about to give it up for Lent since I give up all sweeteners, and it’s going to be rough. So I think I’ll talk about chocolate all week, including a chocolate frosting recipe and this great reader question:

I’ve started my journey with real food not long ago but I’m not doing too bad I guess 😉

 

My current problem lies with chocolate: how to choose it? Healthy/not healthy? When does it stop being real food and start being processed food? Also my kids are used to drinking chocolate powder with milk for breakfast, but it’s full of sugar and other things – what would be a healthy alternative? She’s in France, by the way, where this chocolate milk for breakfast is like a national tradition…

Is chocolate ok if I am trying to eat healthy health benefits and what to watch for

Such a good question! (says she who just munched a bar of chocolate at her desk) 😉

So can Chocolate be Healthy?

With chocolate, step one is that it’s always a sometimes food, a compromise, if it is sweetened at all (and when is it not, really?). So we start there –

don’t eat it often.

Sad news, I know.

To break down whether it’s a “processed food” or not, we can look at what other ingredients are in there. Are there any unhealthy fats? What kind of sweetener? For example, cocoa powder in a homemade recipe with a touch of raw honey (use the code Katie15 for 15% off at that site!) is a different thing than a Snickers bar or a chocolate ice cream cone or a Hershey bar even.

Of course all chocolate is processed; we’re not eating cacao beans straight. But in the perspective of a “processed food that is so unhealthy and over-processed with additives that we shouldn’t even bother eating it,” there are some lines to draw in the sand.

Chocolate can be healthy – the actual cocoa – but it’s the sugar that comes with it that is a problem.

There’s also the fair trade issue – whether the chocolate farmers are getting fair wages and not using child or slave labor – but that’s another question entirely.

As for chocolate milk in the morning, I would personally go for a non-sugary drink, like just milk or water. But we’re boring like that! If your kids would really balk at anything but chocolate milk, why not add cocoa powder and a bit of honey or maple syrup to regular milk?

Some Reasons to Eat Dark Chocolate

Most Amazing Dark Chocolate Ice Cream Ever

In case you needed an excuse:

  • Mark Sisson’s mini-eBook about foods to eat for a healthy gut includes dark chocolate as one of the six! (I had to read that after downloading it from the PaleoDork bundle, which is totally free – crazy! – through February 12th. Hurry!)
  • Dark chocolate is high in magnesium, a mineral that most Americans are deficient in.
  • Dark chocolate has flavanoids, which contain cancer-protective antioxidants and heart-healthy flavanols that may lower blood pressure and heart disease risk. (sources: 1, 2)

It’s important to get dark chocolate, and the more well-sourced, the better. I get the 85% dark from ALDI, and you can always peruse Amazon too.

 As you might expect from an addict, I’ve got some blog posts already to help explain some of these chocolate issues:
Help a friend out – pass on this excuse to your fellow chocolate addicts.

Charity Auction!

Zelie and Co Charity Auction

@ZelieandCo on Instagram, a group of Catholic Artisans including a friend of mine, have teamed up with some of their favorite bloggers for a charity auction to benefit 10 different Catholic charities! Starts tomorrow at 9am Central and bidding continues until midnight CST. There will be 11 different sets of handmade treasures, each set valued over $100!

You can hear all about it on Sirius XM Catholic Channel 129 @3:40pm EST on the Jennifer Fulwiler show! (Attend the auction just by gong to @ZelieandCo

Unless otherwise credited, photos are owned by the author or used with a license from Canva or Deposit Photos.

1 thought on “Can I Eat Dark Chocolate if I’m Trying to be Healthy?”

  1. You don’t have to give up chocolate just because you can’t have sugar! Fruit is a great sweetener for chocolate treats. Chocolate avocado pudding with raisins or dates, chocolate banana smoothie, etc. If you like 85% dark, you could probably use most real-food low-sweetener chocolate recipes, and simply leave out the sweetener.

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