Phillip Minton M.D.

Health Effects of White versus Dark Chocolate

In Uncategorized on July 18, 2012 at 9:59 pm

The cacao pod contains beans, that can be called cocoa or cacao beans. These beans are the basic raw material for the production of chocolate. When crushed, the beans can be made to yield their oil, often called cocoa butter and a second drier dark portion that we call cocoa powder. Cocoa butter contains nearly 100% oils, while the cocoa powder contains everything else (natural energizing chemicals, psychoactive and vasoactive compounds, the chocolate flavor, and a small amount of carbohydrate), White chocolate is made from only cocoa butter (the oils of the cocoa bean), plus sugar and perhaps other additives. Dark chocolate is often manufactured by heating and blending the cocoa powder, adding back some cocoa butter, and other ingredients as desired. For example, milk chocolate will be moderately dark brown and have added sugar and milk. Classic dark chocolate adds less sugar and no milk.

White chocolate is therefore chemically far different than dark chocolate. It is essentially all fats and sugars. Since it is different in composition from dark chocolate, it is not surprising that medical testing of it against dark chocolate yield different results. Dark chocolate has been found to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow through the blood vessels, whereas white chocolate does not alter blood pressure and seems to inhibit blood flow through the vessels.

In this recent WebMD article, researcher Dr Hong compared white chocolate to a standard form of dark chocolate that contained 70% cocoa. The study results revealed that study subjects who ate dark chocolate exhibited healthier responses compared to those who ate the white chocolate, in that they had lower LDL ”bad” cholesterol, lowered blood sugar levels, and higher HDL “good” cholesterol, and lower blood sugar levels. The test subjects eating dark chocolate lowered their LDL cholesterol approximately 20%, and raised their HDL cholesterol also by about 20%, as compared to the study groups’ white chocolate consumers.

As also published on chocolateliving.info

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