Nutrition Bites - What's the real deal with chocolate?

Nutrition Bites - Ask the Nutritionist

By Krista Goncalves, BSc., CHN, RNC

Q: Krista, what's the real deal with CHOCOLATE? I've heard it's actually good for us and is even heart healthy, but is that really true and won't it just make me gain weight?!

A: Ok, here's the deal...YES, you've heard correctly that chocolate can be a healthy part of our diet, but not all chocolate is created equal - not by a long shot! Dark chocolate in particular contains many antioxidants as well as plenty of the heart-smart mineral - magnesium. Because of its properties, dark chocolate has been shown to have a blood-thinning effect, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, is good for the skin, and can actually be a stress-reliever!

Here's what to look for in a "good bar": the higher the cacao (or cacao mass) content, the more healthful it is. White chocolate has no cacao so it is not actually "chocolate" - just a type of confection. Chocolate should not have any added vegetable oils, hydrogenated oils or trans fats. Due to the demand of cacao butter in the cosmetics industry, the price of it has skyrocketed so cheaper fats are being added to chocolate for texture - that the smoothness, creaminess, or 'mouth feel'. Also, DO NOT settle for a bar that has sugar listed as its first ingredient!  

Did you know that the heart does the most physical work of any muscle during our lifetime? So treat it with kindness and go ahead and eat "heart healthy" dark chocolate in moderation - at least 70% cacao by volume and enjoy a serving of 1oz or 28g - not an entire 100g family-size bar!

You can also try a Monkey Milk Smoothie @ the Refresh Fuel Bar, made with bananas, peanut butter and raw, unprocessed chocolate~cacao powder (not to be confused with highly processed Dutch cocoa). 

For another way to eat Heart Smart, be sure to try out TWP Member Dawn's recipe for Zucchini Beet Brownies. 

Krista Goncalves, RNC is a Registered Nutritionist and also operates the new smoothie & health food bar located in TWP Fitness. For more details and special Members pricing for Nutritional Consultations, please email Krista @ ‘’ or text/leave a message @ 250.826.7293


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