Chocolate originates from the Central and South American regions where the Mayan population viewed it as the “food of the gods”. This divine sweet was first produced using cocoa butter, cocoa powder and sugar. Now we have companies such as Hershey to thank for our decadent dose of chocolate.
Cocoa beans are the base of chocolate, although sugar is among one of the first ingredients. Cocoa beans are rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids and flavanols, which destroy cancer causing free radicals in the body. Cocoa beans also contain more than 300 other compounds that are beneficial to health, and when it comes to chocolate, dark chocolate exceeds other varieties due to the greater amounts of these health-promoting compounds.
Although chocolate has ingredients that are rich in nutrients it should be known that there are health risks and other issues that can emerge from excess chocolate consumption: gum disease, cavities, and weight gain are a few. Chocolate is rich in sugar. Consuming just one full size bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate will provide 24 grams of sugar, which is a vast majority of the recommended daily sugar intake of 25 grams for woman, and 37.5 grams for men. Dietitian Alison Hornby reinforces the bittersweet reality of chocolate by saying that, “As an occasional treat, chocolate can be part of a healthy diet. Eaten too frequently, it is an unhealthy choice.” What it comes down to, is consuming cherished foods with self-discipline and a level head.
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