Why You Should Rethink Eating Too Much Of This Chocolate

Chocolate is like if food got dunked in deliciousness, then made into a bar of happiness, and decided to always be there for you on a bad day. And some chocolate even has added health benefits. Just ask holistic health and nutrition expert Piper Gibson. "Dark chocolate is high in flavonols, polyphenols; as well as nutrients magnesium and zinc," Gibson explains to Mashed. Continuing to describe the benefits of dark chocolate, Gibson continues, "The polyphenols in dark chocolate may also help to reduce cholesterol. Dark chocolate is considered beneficial if it has over 70% cocoa content or more. This higher cocoa content will make the chocolate bitter as it has far less milk and sugar than its milky counterpart."

And while eating this yummy food may have benefits, even good things should be consumed in moderation. Gibson suggests, "One to two ounces of dark chocolate a day would be regarded as an optimal serving size."

The health expert reminds us, "Theobromine is the bitter alkaloid in the cocoa plant that is poisonous to dogs; however, have you ever wondered is it toxic to humans too?" Gibson quotes the National Hazardous Substances Database when suggesting that "a daily intake of 50-100 grams of cocoa has been associated with sweating, trembling, and severe headache." Though, Gibson adds, "The dose doesn't always make the poison, and some sensitive individuals may feel the effects of theobromine at much lower doses."

And don't forget, there's more than one kind of chocolate.

Not all chocolate is created equal

Many people prefer the sweeter, milkier sibling of dark chocolate — milk chocolate. Gibson says, "On the other hand, milk chocolate is full of dairy and sugar and has far less of the benefits of dark chocolate." The nutrition expert explains, "The sugar content in an average milk chocolate bar like Hershey's contains 17 grams of sugar. The American Heart Association recommends women limit sugar consumption to 6 teaspoons (25 grams) per day and men limit to 9 teaspoons (36 grams) per day. You are going to reach your sugar limit with a bar like this quickly."

And just why is monitoring our sugar consumption so important? Gibson says, "Increased sugar consumption can lead to weight gain, type 2 diabetes, and increased specific cancers. Not to mention that consuming sugar can lead to a blood sugar spike and insulin resistance, which leaves you feeling exhausted. The added dairy in milk chocolate can lead to digestive issues such as gas, bloating, and irritable bowel."

So enjoy your chocolate, but remember there really can be "too much of a good thing." "One particular study considers dark chocolate to be a superfood," Piper Gibson says. "But you also have to consider the amount you are eating per day."