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Is Dark Chocolate Really That Healthy?

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
December 6, 2023
December 8, 2023

Dark chocolate is often touted as a healthy treat, but is it really as good for you as some claim? While it’s true that dark chocolate does have some health benefits, it’s important to understand the full picture and not rely on chocolate as a magic solution for all your health woes. Click play to watch the video!

Why Is Chocolate Thought Of As Healthy?

One of the primary health benefits of dark chocolate is its high flavonoid content. Flavonoids are antioxidants that help protect your cells from damage caused by free radicals. Research has suggested that consuming flavonoids (chocolate is rich in it!) can help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and improve heart health.

Looking to boost flavonoid intake? Try a moderate amount of dark chocolate for its high cocoa content.

Additionally, some studies have suggested that consuming dark chocolate may have a positive effect on cholesterol levels. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming dark chocolate containing plant sterols and cocoa flavonols can help lower LDL cholesterol levels.

What Makes Chocolate Unhealthy?

But while the darkest dark chocolates have antioxidants, fiber, and plant sterols and flavonols, it is actually hard, very bitter, and sugarless when it comes from the plant. We actually dd a lot of goodies to chocolate to make it palatable.

By the end of processing, when it gets to candy bar form, dark chocolate is still usually high in calories and fat. Overindulging in chocolate can lead to weight gain and other health problems. Additionally, not all dark chocolate is created equal. Many commercial brands of dark chocolate are high in added sugars and other unhealthy ingredients.

What Kind Of Chocolate Should I Get?

To maximize the health benefits of dark chocolate, choose a high-quality brand that is minimally processed and has a high cocoa content.

Look for chocolate with at least 70% cocoa, and avoid those that list sugar, fructose, glucose or other sweeteners as the first ingredient.

Personally, I go for a high quality, 85% dark chocolate, purchase a little gift box of a bunch of individually wrapped bite-sized pieces, and once a week, (or more if I feel like pampering myself) I’ll put one in my mouth and just savor it. Let it melt until its gone. And I want to keep that flavor on my tongue. I won’t eat anything else for hours afterward…Just to savor the memory.


Dark chocolate can be a healthy treat when consumed in moderation and as part of an overall healthy diet.

Its high flavonoid content may provide some health benefits, but it’s important to choose a high-quality brand and not rely on chocolate as a magic solution for all your health needs.

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