A Box Of Chocolates

In the US chocolate candy outsells all other types of candy combined, by 2 to 1.  Around seven billion pounds of chocolate candy are manufactured each year in the US and during the week before Valentine’s Day about 1.1 billion boxed chocolates,  about 58 million pounds, will be sold.

There are 2300 calories, 140 grams of fat, 270 grams of carbs, and 31 grams of protein in a pound of milk chocolate. A lot has been said about the heart healthy benefits of chocolate, especially dark chocolate, but it’s important to remember that chocolate is still a high calorie, high fat treat.

But Isn’t Chocolate Good For Me?

In moderation—and, depending on the type—the answer is yes. Chocolate’s health benefits come from cocoa and dark chocolate has more cocoa than milk chocolate.  White chocolate, without any cocoa in it, isn’t really chocolate. German scientists studied 19,357 people for a decade and found that those who ate the most chocolate (average 7.5 grams a day) had lower blood pressure and a 39% lower risk of having a heart attack or stroke than people who ate the smallest amount (1.7 grams a day).

Chocolate, especially dark chocolate, contains flavonols which have antioxidant properties. Those Valentine’s chocolates can be caloric and moderately high in fat, one-third of it the type of saturated fat that is not heart healthy. Extra ingredients like crème and caramel fillings can add lots of extra fat and calories.

If you see “Chocolate Liquor” in the ingredients list of chocolate candy, it is not alcoholic but a thick paste of ground cocoa beans, or nibs.  The higher the amount of chocolate liquor, the greater the amount of beneficial flavonoids and in chocolate vocabulary, “cocoa” and “cacao” are synonymous as are “beans” and “nibs.”

Just So You Know

A treat is something that’s usually associated with pleasure and on Valentine’s Day, with love.  To celebrate the occasion it’s just fine to enjoy a piece or two.

  • Hershey’s Kisses, 9 pieces:  230 calories, 12g fat
  • Hershey’s Special Dark Hearts, 5 pieces:  220 calories, 7g fat
  • Reese’s Peanut Butter Hearts, snack size:  170 calories, 10g fat
  • Russell Stover boxed chocolates, 2 pieces:  150 calories, 4g fat
  • Dove Dark Chocolate Hearts, 5 pieces:  210 calories, 13g fat
  • Godiva boxed chocolates, 4 pieces:  210 calories, 12g fat

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