FTFs Friday: the rise of ‘healthy’ chocolate

In collaboration with Jen Robinson- fellow foodie, medic and blogger

2017 seems to be the year of “healthy” chocolate with brands like cocoplus delivering ‘high protein’ chocolate and Ohso releasing a ‘pro biotic range’ Are these any better for you than a standard bar of dairy milk or just a pricey fad?

The main problem with products that are branded as ‘healthy’ is that it may encourage over consumption. Chocolate bars are high in saturated fat and free-sugars and should therefore be eaten in moderation.

Labelling a chocolate bar as ‘healthy’ could mean that a person choosing the chocolate bar as a snack is less mindful of the high sugar and fat content. They may use the fact that they chose a ‘healthy’ snack earlier to justify being ‘naughty’ later. This may lead to overeating of that specific product or other foods throughout the day as a compensatory mechanism.

These ‘fashionable’ products are also a lot more expensive than equally good and cheaper probiotic alternatives such yogurt, some cheeses and sauerkraut.

High Protein Chocolate:

Protein requirements vary depending on your age, activity level and gender, but the general advice is to aim for 1g or protein for every kg of body weight. Coco plus chocolate contains 10g of protein per bar. Roughly the same amount of protein is provided by:

(1)  half a salmon fillet (50g)

(2)  a medium boiled egg

(3)  1/3 of an average sized chicken breast (4oz)

These protein-providing foods such as oily fish, eggs, meat and poultry contain an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that chocolate itself will not offer in the same quantities. Choosing to get your protein from these nutritious foods will provide a greater nutritional punch than a fortified chocolate bar!

Probiotic Chocolate:

Probiotics are live microbial bacteria that you can either eat or drink. They add new beneficial bacteria to your gut which promotes gut health.

The most recent evidence on probiotics shows that some probiotics only work for specific diseases, and some probiotics don’t work in the same way for everyone.

Evidence shows that a probiotic will only increase its own bacterial populations in your gut and won’t necessarily increase other types of bacteria. Other evidence has shown that these beneficial bacteria are only present whilst you continue to take the probiotic. The population will decline once you stop taking them.

It’s unclear whether the probiotics provided by the Ohso range can benefit your gut microbiome as they have not been tested in clinical trials.

If you are interested in trying a probiotic this link will take you to a guide on how to choose a probiotic, and includes an assessment on the strength of evidence.

A link to the original article on Jen’s blog is here

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