The real deal on dark chocolate

It’s no surprise that many of us believe a bar of dark chocolate is essentially a health food.

Headlines have touted its nutritional benefits for years. But much of the scientific evidence to date has been contradictory.

It’s true that potent antioxidants called flavonols are plentiful in the cacao beans used to make chocolate.

"Giving people chocolate or cocoa flavonols will influence blood vessel function and can improve blood flow."

Research indicates that you may need high doses of cocoa flavonols to see an effect, which would probably require taking flavonols in pill or powder form, not as chocolate candy.

If you’re going to eat chocolate, however, a bar with a higher cacao percentage is a better treat than a milk- or white-chocolate one. 

Milk chocolate not only has less cacao and fewer flavonols but also contains about twice as much sugar as dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate also contains a surprising amount of nutrients, making it a healthier dessert option than cookies or cake, which are typically higher in sugar and made with refined flour.

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