Health experts state that dark chocolate with more cocoa content is better and healthier than milk chocolate. But Consumer Reports released in December 2022 states that dark chocolate could have higher levels of lead and/or cadmium and should be consumed in lesser amounts. The complete report below.
Chocolates at home pantry
Chocolates are a staple in the kitchen pantry. They are used in different sweet recipes or in baking. Moreover, they are eaten as such as a treat or a dessert.
Dark chocolate is the one that has no milk or butter in it. It contains only cocoa solids or cocoa butter. When it has no sweetener in it, it is bitter chocolate or unsweetened chocolate. While the white or milk chocolate has added milk and butter in it with or without sugar or such sweeteners.
Dark chocolate has antioxidants and minerals and is good for health. It has fiber, iron, magnesium, copper and manganese. Moreover, it abounds in zinc, selenium, phosphorus and potassium. The fats are of the healthy types and good for body and heart. The antioxidants in it include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins etc. These have the potential to lower the bad cholesterol.
Moreover, the flavonoids can lower blood pressure and increase blood flow to various vital organs of the body. They can improve good cholesterol in the blood. Due to these benefits, it is protective for the heart. Moreover, it improves brain health and can protect the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
Ideally, dark chocolate is better and healthier to eat compared to white chocolate that has lesser amount of cocoa and contains milk. The agency of Consumer Reports analyzed 28 brands of chocolate available in the market for lead and cadmium. They used maximum allowable dose level of California to asses which chocolate brands were safer, high in lead, high in cadmium or higher in both lead and cadmium. They revealed that five of the brands have higher levels of both the heavy metals compared to the permissible limit.
These metals if taken regularly can adversely affect the body. They cause development delay in growing kids. And in adults, they cause high blood pressure, problems in the immune system, renal damage and more. And heavy metals accumulation is more in cocoa solids. These are in larger amount in dark chocolate. Hence the risk is more with dark chocolate.
Lead enter the beans after harvest from the roads or with use of dirty equipments. And cadmium comes from the soil. Twenty three chocolate brands tested had safe limits of the heavy metals in them. One can safely consume them in amounts of one ounce per day. The safer brands were Ghirardelli dark chocolate and Taza Chocolate. While five of the brands had very high and unsafe levels of these metals. These included those from Theo, Trader Joe’s and Lily’s.
The Consumer Reports advises people to choose safer brands of chocolate. They request chocolate lovers to lessen the intake of dark chocolate. The consumption should be supervised in kids since the effect could be more severe in them. And choose chocolate with lower cocoa content.
It is also essential for chocolate manufacturers to wash, clean and dry the cocoa beans well before using them to make chocolate.