Is there any flavor capable of brightening our day? It’s hard to read this question and not automatically think of the chocolate And for many, this food is the magical flavor with which to give color to a gray day.
White, black, with milk, in a cup or in an ounce…there are a thousand ways to enjoy chocolate and its consumption is so widespread that it is no wonder the thousand and one theories that exist around it. Even the OCU has made a analysis between 18 tablets with a high percentage of cocoa, between 70 and 74%, to know which is the best.
What is dark chocolate?
The truth is that it is in dark chocolate where we find the purest characteristics of cocoa, so we start by defining what is considered dark chocolate. Legally any chocolate that is not white or milk and has more than 35% cocoa is. But to know how black that tablet we have in our hand is, we have to look at the list of ingredients in this specific concept: “minimum cocoa:…%”.
Of the 18 tablets analyzed by the OCU, some indicate a minimum content of 70%, others 72% and a few more than 74%. The study leaves us calm by indicating that in all of them vegetable fats used are the cocoa butter which is the one to be used, so all the tablets studied are of quality as far as that aspect is concerned.
The OCU also indicates that to taste a good dark chocolate it is not necessary to spend too much and highlights 3 chocolates with very good global ratings for less than 1 euro the 100 gram tablet:
- Alipende 72% (sold at Ahorramás). It costs 0.90 euros/100 g. Overall rating: 81 points out of 100
- El Corte Inglés 72%. It costs 0.89 euros/100 g. Overall rating: 81 points out of 100
- Consume 72%. It costs 0.90 euros/100 g. Overall rating: 80 points out of 100
But a question that may be on many minds now is…if dark chocolate is so good, maybe it won’t make you fat? Unfortunately this pleasure is noticeable on the scale since all chocolate is quite fattening.
A serving, says the OCU, of 20 grams or 2 ounces of chocolate with 70% cocoa provides about 120 calories. More than half of these calories come from fat. In the case of chocolates with a higher proportion of cocoa, the caloric contribution of sugar is lower, although it is still high.
And in addition to cocoa, dark chocolate bars have these ingredients:
- Cocoa paste: these are the solids from the grinding of the cocoa bean, from which cocoa powder is obtained (the lean part that gives flavor and color to dark chocolate) and cocoa butter (the fat part, which provides the soft texture and melting properties).
- Dairy fat optionally
- Emulsifier or E322 (such as soy lecithin or sunflower lecithin): This is an additive that helps keep ingredients mixed evenly.
The dark side of dark chocolate
And after these ingredients it must also be noted that there are some chocolates that can contain heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, since it is the cocoa bean that can be contaminated through the air, water or soil.
Of the 18 tablets analyzed, the OCU found cadmium in 2 of them, but at levels that did not reach 0.3 mg/kg. In another 3, lead was found with levels that did not exceed 0.08 mg/kg.
The study also indicates that MOSH was found in all samples, up to 16 mg/kg (average 5.6 mg/kg). MOSH and MOAH are mineral oil hydrocarbons, a diverse group of petroleum-derived chemical compounds that find their way into foods in many ways: through environmental contamination, use of machinery lubricants, release agents, processing aids, food additives. or feed or by the migration of materials in contact with food.
Of the 18 chocolates analyzed, MOAH was found in 5 of the samples. These mineral oils should not be present in foods. For this type of contaminants there is no safe limit and exposure should be as low as possible.