Dark chocolate vs milk chocolate: Which one is better?

Can’t live without chocolates but not sure which is better for your health: dark chocolate vs milk chocolate? Here’s what you need to know about these chocolates to help you make a decision.

Chocolate is not only celebrated for its luxurious taste but the many health benefits it offers. But are all types of chocolate healthy? When comparing dark chocolate vs milk chocolate, both of them are made of different ingredients and come with their own set of pros and cons. Dark chocolate, with its higher cocoa content, boasts antioxidants and potential cardiovascular benefits. On the other hand, milk chocolate, while still delicious, contains more sugar and fat. Let’s find out which one is healthier than the other.

What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate consists mainly of high cocoa content (70 percent or higher) and is renowned for its potential health benefits. Dietitian and Nutritionist Divya Gopal, says, “Unlike its sweeter counterparts, dark chocolate contains cocoa that gives it a slightly bitter taste. It helps combats oxidative stress in the body, reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and certain cancers.”

Here are 5 health benefits of consuming dark chocolate in moderation:

1. Promotes heart health

Most dark chocolates are high in flavonoids, which are associated with a lower risk of heart disease. A 2017 study published by the American Heart Association found that eating dark chocolate and cocoa helped lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, especially in people who are overweight or obese.

2. Enhances cognitive function

The flavonoids in dark chocolate may have neuroprotective effects, improving cognitive function and reducing the risk of age-related cognitive decline.

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3. Improves mood

Dark chocolate contains compounds that can stimulate the production of endorphins and serotonin, promoting feelings of happiness and well-being. It can even relieve anxiety and irritability.

dark chocolate
Dark chocolate can be good for improving your mood. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Contains antioxidants

The antioxidants in dark chocolate help neutralise free radicals in the body, protecting cells from damage and reducing the risk of oxidative stress-related diseases.

5. Keeps weight in check

“Dark chocolate has a lower sugar content and a potentially satiating effect that could be an advantage in the weight loss and management journey,” explains Gopal.

You can reap these benefits of dark chocolate only when you consume it in moderation. Overconsumption of dark chocolate can cause several side effects, including increased urination, sleeplessness, skin allergies, indigestion, and headaches.

Is milk chocolate healthy?

Milk chocolate is a delectable combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, sugar, and milk solids. People love it for its rich, creamy, and sweet flavour. Like all chocolates, milk chocolate contains compounds that can stimulate the release of endorphins and serotonin, potentially improving mood and reducing stress levels. Milk chocolate contains calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium in small amounts.

Since milk chocolate is packed with a higher sugar and fat content, it can not offer the same level of benefits as dark chocolates. However, you can still enjoy it in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Dark chocolate vs milk chocolate: Which one is better?

Both of these chocolates offer different tastes and flavours and contain different ingredients and amounts. Here’s the difference between both chocolates:

1. Cocoa

Found in both, cocoa boasts flavonoids and antioxidants with potential health benefits. Dark chocolate typically contains a higher cocoa content and less sugar than milk chocolate.

Chocolate
Prefer dark chocolate over milk chocolate! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

2. Milk

This creamy addition to milk chocolate contributes to its sweetness and smooth texture. However, it dilutes the cocoa content, lowering its nutritional value.

3. Sugar

In terms of nutritional differences, dark chocolate typically contains more antioxidants and less sugar and fat compared to milk chocolate.

4. Lactose Intolerance

Individuals with lactose intolerance may experience discomfort or digestive issues after consuming milk chocolate due to the presence of milk solids. Whereas dark chocolate typically does not contain dairy ingredients.

5. Calorie dense

Due to its high-fat content from cocoa butter and milk solids, milk chocolate is calorie-dense and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. On the other hand, dark chocolate generally contains fewer calories.

So, which chocolate is healthier: dark or milk?

According to Gopal, “Dark chocolate is often considered healthier than milk chocolate due to its higher cocoa content, which contains antioxidants and offer potential health benefits like improving heart health.” It contains less sugar and may have fewer calories compared to milk chocolate.

However, you have to eat these chocolates in moderation to reap the health benefits without consuming excess sugar or calories.