Chocolate & Health

posted on 18 Oct 2010 19:43 by joyjoejune
Chocolate is the world most well-known and favourite sweet for many people. It is made into different shapes to represent people’s feelings and give as a gift in many occasions for instance, chocolate in heart-shaped and flowers are given on Valentine’s Day, chocolate eggs are used as a traditional gift for Easter, and other occasions like Thanksgiving, Christmas or birthday. Chocolate is also in form of cocoa powder to make chocolate milk or hot chocolate added with marshmallows.

Process of making chocolate

The process of making chocolate passes through many steps. The following steps are suggested to be done at home for fun.

1. Roast the cocoa beans between 250-325 degrees Fahrenheit, and wait until the beans start to crack.


2. Crack and winnow the beans into nibs. This can be done at home easily by using the hammer to remove the husk and stir the nibs until the husk blown away.


3. Grind the nibs into a cocoa liqueur. A strong equipment like blender or grinder is needed to liquefy the nibs and separate the remaining the husks.
4. Conch and refine the chocolate. Conching affects the characteristic taste, smell and texture of the chocolate, while refining reduces the size of the cocoa solids and sugar crystals. Melt the chocolate and the cocoa butter in the oven to about 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Mix non-fat dry milk powder, sugar, lecithin and a vanilla pod for 1 hour. Then, pour the chocolate mixture in the grinder, periodically pointing a hair dryer at it for 2-3 minutes to keep the chocolate melted during the first hour and keep on to ten hours but not more than 36 hours until the chocolate tastes smooth and balanced.


5. Temper the chocolate. Melt chocolate carefully and do not let it burn. The chocolate is melted to a temperature of around 110 or 120 degrees Fahrenheit, transfer it to a dry, cool bowl and stir until the chocolate temperature drops to about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour chocolate on the counter and spread it out with the spatula, and then bring it all back together. When the chocolate cools down, it should be a thick, gooey mass. Pour the chocolate back into the bowl with the 100 degree chocolate. Stir it gently, and try not to create bubbles.


6. Mold the chocolate while it is still at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Pour the chocolate into the molds. It may be either frozen, refrigerated, or let them harden at room temperature.


7. Remove the chocolate from the molds when the chocolate is hardened. The chocolate should have glossy look. If the shape of chocolate is not satisfied, it can be re-tempered and poured in the mold again as long as it is not burnt.   



Types of chocolate

Chocolate can be divided into many kinds depend on the additive ingredients in chocolate and on the temperature and the length of roasting. The following types of chocolate mentioned below are the most favorable which produced around the world.  

Dark chocolate can be called plain chocolate
or black chocolate. However, the U.S. government
does not give a definition for dark chocolate, so it is
called “sweet chocolate” which requires 15%
concentration of chocolate liquor. But in Europe the
requirements are different with 35% minimum of
chocolate liquor. Dark chocolate contains no milk
or less milk as possible, but it adds fat and sugar to
cocoa. Dark chocolate which are sold contain 99%
of cocoa for the most and the more percentage of
cocoa in chocolate bar, the more expensive it is.


Milk chocolate can be kept for a year if stored in a cool and dry place. It contains chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, milk solids, and lecithin. Milk chocolate must contain at least 10% of chocolate liquor, 3.7% milk fats, and 12% milk solids. The brand of milk chocolate is varying. Mostly, milk chocolate that comes from European has much higher quality because it contains more cocoa liquor while British and American milk chocolate add more milk and sugar.

White chocolate contains cocoa butter, sugar, milk solids, vanilla, and lecithin. It can be kept for six to ten months if stored in a cool and dry place. Actually, white chocolate cannot be called “chocolate” because it contains no chocolate liquor and made with vegetable fat which has white colour, so white chocolate has ivory colour. The US FDA states it must contain a minimum of 20% cocoa butter, a minimum of 14% of total milk solids, a minimum of 3.5% milk fat, and a maximum of 55% nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners.




Health effects and benefits of chocolate

Speaking of chocolate, it is a confectionery and might not consider a healthy food so, most people will think about sweet, sugar and fat. It is true that chocolate does give some negatives effects to health because some types of chocolate does not contain healthy elements, like milk chocolate and white chocolate. However, all the effects need to be furthered study for a strong support. The lists below are the possible negative effects provoked by chocolate:  


People most believe that chocolate consumption does have an effect in causing acne on the face or other places, but this believe is not yet well-proved by scientist. However, most study does not mentioned directly to chocolate but there is glycemic in chocolate which comes from sugar, corn syrup and carbohydrates which can cause acne.



Diabetes might occur when consuming chocolate. It happens when a body does not regulate blood sugars. Exceed consuming of chocolate might cause an overweight and raise in blood glucose and the high fat content can slow release of the glucose into the bloodstream.

Tooth decay

This happens most in children who prefer to consume confectionary more than other health food. Chocolate is mostly contains with sugars. Carbohydrates and bacteria in a mouth acts as acid on teeth and it breaks down what is coated the teeth and finally causing tooth decay. Drinking plenty of water and brush the teeth after each meal might the cavities filled.  


Even though chocolate might have negative effects on health, today, scientist and other experts also found that chocolate have advantages for health, but they mostly mentioned about dark chocolate which likely to have a good affect on health. More research needs to be done, but recent studies suggest some health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa.

Blood Pressure

From the studies, dark chocolate can lower blood pressure, so it is considered health chocolate. Researchers in Italy recently fed 15 healthy people either 3 ounces of dark chocolate or the same amount of white chocolate for 15 days. The insulin resistance was found and it can lower blood pressure in the group that eats dark chocolate. However, we need to consume in a proper amount to balance not to have too much dark chocolate

Heart Disease

Dark chocolate have a great amount of antioxidant because it has flavanoids which can protect against heart disease. Chocolate also contains of stearic acid or saturate fat but it does not provoke the increase in cholesterol.

Chronic fatigue syndrome 

Most people might encounter the chronic fatigue syndrome which is caused by stress, long working hours, sleep problem or personal problems. Since dark chocolate is somehow considered a healthy food, scientist studies the useful elements for health remedy in dark chocolate. The feeling of eating some dark chocolate might bring a sense of well being that can cure more or less the fatigue syndrome.

            All in all, chocolate is another choice when consuming snacks for pleasure. Too much chocolate can cause from normal to severe disease, while having proper amount of chocolate might bring some positive health effects.

edit @ 18 Oct 2010 20:13:43 by JJJ




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