Healthy Foods – About Chocolates

(Specially written on 3 requests from the world – for chocolate lovers / users)

 

Today, many people value chocolate simply for its taste, flavor and creamy texture. There are many different flavors and varieties of chocolates are available in the market. Each chocolate resembles different taste, flavor, nutrition and chemical make-up. Several kinds of chocolate I have mentioned for your read-through:

 

   Unsweetened or Baking chocolate (contains hardened chocolate liquor) it is used primarily as an ingredient in recipes, or as a garnish.

 

   Semi-sweet chocolate (contains extra cocoa butter and little sugar) also used primarily in recipes.

 

   Sweet cooking chocolate is basically the same as above, with more sugar for taste.

 

   Milk chocolate (contains chocolate liquor with extra cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla) this is what we eat and the most popular form of chocolate. 

 

   Cocoa (fine powder from chocolate liquor with much cocoa butter removed) is used for baking, cooking and in drinks, consumers add sugar in their drinks / baked goods. There are several kinds of cocoa:

 

·         Low-fat cocoa has the most fat removed. It typically has < 10% cocoa butter remaining.

 

·         Medium-fat cocoa has anywhere from 10-20% cocoa butter in it.

 

·         Drinking or Breakfast cocoa / chocolate has over 22% left in it. This is the cocoa used in chocolate milk powders.

 

·         Dutch process cocoa is cocoa which has been specially processed to neutralize the natural acids in the chocolate. It is slightly darker and has a much different taste than regular cocoa. Available as alkalized cocoa powder and dark alkalized cocoa powder from light brown to dark brown or red-brown in color.

 

   Dark chocolate (contains cocoa butter, cocoa liquor and little sugar, but no milk) available in sweet, semi-sweet and bitter-sweet, mostly used in baking applications.

 

   White chocolate (Is made of cocoa butter, sugar, milk and vanilla). It doesn’t contain cocoa liquor, so that is why it is white smooth and ivory or beige in color.

 

   Decorator’s chocolate / confectioner’s chocolate (isn’t really chocolate, but a sort of chocolate flavored candy) used for covering, dipping e.g., strawberries. It was created to melt easily and harden quickly.

 

   Couverture (French word meaning ‘covering’) a special kind of chocolate with more cocoa butter. It is used for enrobing / coating for things like truffles, candies, ice-cream, ways are either by hand dipping or enrobing gently by pouring over the product.

 

As Healthy Food – Milk Chocolate which contains fat and sugar that can be fattening.  Although it is fattening, chocolate is not all bad. Certain contents actually have some positive effects on health!

Fat in chocolate – Rich in saturated fatty acids (palmitic & stearic) and mono-unsaturated fatty acids and very low in poly-unsaturated fatty acids.

Stearic acids shown in numerous studies to have a neutral impact on blood cholesterol, the main reason may be that stearic acid converts from a saturated fat to an unsaturated fat when metabolized in the body. Studies have been conducted where participants fed chocolate daily for two weeks showed no change in blood cholesterol when total calories in the diet were kept the same. However, when consuming milk chocolate or lower grade chocolate where a part of the total fat content comes from milk fat or various other types of fat, the cholesterol level might be adversely affected.

In this chart, you can see that more than half of the saturated fat in cocoa butter is stearic acid, which is cholesterol neutral, and another one-third is mono- or polyunsaturated fat, which can reduce cholesterol levels.

Image source: allchocolate.com

Sugar in Chocolate – Cocoa beans contain a lot of carbohydrates, but most are starch; soluble and insoluble dietary fibers. Only a small portion of the carbohydrates are from simple sugar. Sugar is usually added during manufacturing.

 

 Antioxidants in Chocolate – Cocoa beans contain polyphenols found in the nonfat portions. These compounds help reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

 

Theobromine in Chocolate – A very mild stimulant, called theobromine is found in chocolate. Theobromine is toxic to dogs, cats, parrots, and horses. In humans, it may act as a mild diuretic and increase urine production, but it is not toxic.

 

 Caffeine in Chocolate – Cocoa beans contain a low amount of caffeine. You ingest more caffeine by drinking coffee or tea than eating chocolate. White chocolate doesn’t contain any caffeine.

 

 Phenyl ethylamine – Cocoa beans contain a stimulant called phenyl ethylamine, which acts as a slight antidepressant and gives a person some of the same feelings that falling in love does.

 

 Serotonin – Both cocoa and chocolate increases the level of serotonin in the brain.

 

 Essential Vitamins- Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, C, E, Panthothenic acid, etc.

 

Essential Minerals – Magnesium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Copper, Potassium, Manganese, etc.

 

“More recently, a study of 8000 male Harvard graduates showed that chocaholics lived longer than abstainers. Their longevity may be explained by the high polyphenol levels in chocolate. Polyphenols reduce the oxidation of low-density lipoproteins and thereby protect against heart disease. Such theories are still speculative.”

 

There is lot of information and practices available with author, if required any sort of info related to chocolate manufacturing in lab or pilot plant scale do let me know, also helps during processing, storage, analysis and methods, tasting and sensory evaluation, applications, etc.

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