Chocolate Nutrition 101

chocolate comparison

( Chocolate has come a long way over the years to become the universally-adored, versatile food ingredient it is today, not to mention one of the most popular gift choices for many occasions. But dark chocolate or milk chocolate, cocoa powder or chocolate syrup – how do some of these chocolate products compare nutritionally?

Here is the breakdown:

chocolate comparison - white, milk and dark

Chocolate: A Quick Comparison of Nutrition

Chocolate Product 
(1 oz serving size, unless otherwise indicated)
Total Fat
Baking Chocolate, M&Ms Milk Chocolate baking bits 143 6.7 19.5 17.8 33
Baking Chocolate, M&Ms Semisweet Chocolate baking bits 147 7.5 18.8 15.1 10
Baking Chocolate, Unsweetened, squares 143 14.9 8.5 0.3 29
Candies, Milk Chocolate 152 8.5 16.9 14.7 54
Candies, Semisweet Chocolate 137 8.6 18.2 15.5 9
Candies, Special Dark Chocolate Bar 158 9.2 17.2 13.6 9
Candies, White Chocolate 154 9.1 16.9 16.8 57
White Chocolate 153 9.1 16.8 16.8 56.4
Carob, Plain 153 8.9 16 14.7 86
Chocolate Syrup, 2 Tbsp 109 0.4 25.4 19.4 5
Chocolate, Dark, 45-59% Cacao Solids 156 8.9 17.4 13.7 5
Chocolate, Dark, 60-69% Cacao Solids 165 10.9 17.4 13.7 6
Chocolate, Dark, 70-85% Cacao Solids 170 12.2 13.1 6.8 21
Cocoa, Dry Powder, Unsweetened 65 3.9 15.4 0.5 36.3
Starbucks Hot Chocolate, 2% milk, no whipped cream (8 oz) 160 4.5 26 22 20
Starbucks Hot Chocolate, nonfat milk, no whipped cream (8 oz) 140 1 27 22 20
Starbucks White Hot Chocolate, 2% milk, no whipped cream (8 oz) 210 6 31 30 25
Starbucks White Hot Chocolate, nonfat milk, no whipped cream (8 oz) 180 3 31 30 30


Chocolate: The Truth Behind the Wrapper

Chocolate is undeniably one of life's small pleasures, and we have all heard about the possible health benefits of chocolate in the form of antioxidant flavonoids, but does this mean we should consume this delectable treat to our hearts' content? Before you dig in, consider these important points:

  • Flavonoids: Healthy flavonoids may not be present in all chocolate types. Dark chocolate does contain the healthful flavonoids similar to those found in tea, red wine, fruits, and vegetables, while milk chocolate may not. White chocolate actually isn't even considered chocolate because of its lack of nonfat cacao solids, and therefore flavonoids. In 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) established a standard of identity for white chocolate which provided the use of the term 'white chocolate' as the common name of products made from cacao fat (i.e., cocoa butter), milk solids, nutritive carbohydrate sweeteners, but containing no nonfat cacao solids.
  • Calories: Dark chocolate, although it contains healthy antioxidants, does not appear to be lower in calories than its milk chocolate counterpart. In fact, most chocolate chip types, chocolate bars, and chocolate candies we compared in the table above are between 140 to 155 kcals per ounce. Because most chocolate candy has high levels of saturated fat and sugar, it is best to enjoy these treats in moderation.
  • Liquors and powders: Cocoa liquor, while it sounds like an alcoholic beverage, is actually pure liquid chocolate, which is made up of a combination of cocoa butter and cacao solids. Cacao solids, commonly known as cocoa powder, are the low-fat components of chocolate, while cocoa butter is the fatty component. This explains why cocoa powder has significantly lower calories than cocoa butter or chocolate liquor.

So, whether you are entertaining guests with a milk chocolate fondue, finishing a novel while sipping your white hot chocolate beverage, or simply savouring a mouthful of your favorite dark chocolate square, it is important to enjoy this delectable ingredient as part of a healthy diet and in moderation.

The Bottom Line

We all deserve a little indulgence now and again, but beware, chocolate candy has plenty of saturated fat and sugar, so it is important to enjoy chocolate in moderate amounts.

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HealthCastle, founded in 1997, is the largest online nutrition community run by Registered Dietitians. Information on this site is provided for informational purposes and is not meant to substitute for the advice provided by your own physician or dietitian. Information and statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.