Dark chocolate vs. white chocolate: Which is more nutritious?

It's hard to resist a good piece of chocolate, and almost nothing makes a better flavor for dessert. But if you're an avid chocolate eater, you've probably wondered if there's any nutritional value at all in your favorite snack. Chocolate's nutrition varies depending on what type you're eating; dark chocolate and white chocolate have different ingredients in different amounts, so naturally, that affects the nutrients in each. According to Live Science, dark chocolate has higher percentages of both cocoa butter and cocoa powder solids (you'll usually see the percentage called out on the packaging). However, white chocolate doesn't have any cocoa powder, so it's not technically chocolate at all. Instead, it's usually just cocoa butter combined with sugar and milk.

Most of the health benefits in chocolate come from cocoa, according to Livestrong, so without any, you won't get many nutrients from white chocolate. Instead, it's filled with added sugar, doesn't have any fiber, and has 5 grams of saturated fat in a one-ounce square. Dark chocolate, on the other hand, is usually at least 50 percent cocoa, up to 85 percent, so while it still can't be considered a health food, it's at least a little more nutritious than white chocolate.

The supposed health benefits of dark chocolate

Compared to white chocolate, dark chocolate certainly seems like a much better choice (as long as you can get used to the more bitter taste). According to the Harvard School of Public Health, cocoa is filled with chemicals from plants called flavanols. Though more research is needed to completely understand the benefits of flavanols, some studies have shown that they may help lower blood pressure, protect the heart, and even lower the risk of diabetes. Dark chocolate has more cocoa than either white or milk chocolate, so it has more beneficial flavanols (however, The Washington Post sadly reports that the amount of flavanols in a dark chocolate bar is still too low to make much of a difference health-wise).

Most of the health claims surrounding dark chocolate relate back to flavanols, but the treat does have a few other benefits too. According to Livestrong, dark chocolate contains more antioxidants, fiber, and protein than white chocolate; but before you start stocking up on the cocoa rich treat, it's also good to keep in mind that it is still high in calories, and is slightly higher in saturated fat than white chocolate, so it's not exactly healthy. However, if you're going to reach for a chocolate bar, you'll get a few more benefits from snacking on dark chocolate rather than white.