Is organic chocolate better for you than traditional chocolate?
There is plenty of debate on whether organic chocolate is healthier for consumers than nonorganic chocolate. Some say there is barely any difference between the nutritional values of organic and nonorganic chocolate. Others disagree.
Today, we are finally going to get to the bottom of this debate and figure out once and for all whether organic chocolate is better for you than traditional chocolate.
What makes chocolate organic?
Before we jump into our main question, it'll be easier to understand the difference between organic chocolate and traditional chocolate by first explaining what makes chocolate organic.
When consumers see products labeled as organic, plenty of expectations come to mind. There's a reason why the organic label is such a big deal and why companies go to great lengths to get USDA organic certification.
The USDA Organic Seal is not given freely. It is a protected term or label given to brands that meet the USDA's strict standards and legal regulations. Part of the USDA's standards addresses soil and crop health, weed and pest control, and water systems management.
For chocolate—or any product for that matter—to be considered organic, they must not be grown on soil that uses synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and other prohibited substances by the USDA. They should be using natural fertilizers and organic pest control instead. Genetic engineering, sewage sludge, and ionizing radiation must also not be used.
Organic farming aims to avoid harming the environment and especially the people that work in it. By avoiding synthetic fertilizers and other chemical substances, the environment, the farmers, and the consumers are safe from any possible harmful effects.
Only chocolate bars that pass the USDA's rigorous organic certification process can be labeled as organic chocolate. This lets consumers know that the food they're consuming is not only made out of organic ingredients but is environmentally friendly and ethically made.
What are the health benefits of organic chocolate?
Now that you know the difference between organic chocolate and traditional chocolate. It's time you find out just what makes organic chocolates better for you by knowing their various health benefits.
No exposure to chemicals
What sets organic chocolate apart from conventional chocolate is the fact that it has zero exposure to chemicals. Traditionally grown cocoa beans are one of the crops with the highest pesticide use. The USDA's regulations ensure that organic foods are not grown using chemical substances such as synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
This is to avoid having consumers ingest any chemical residue that might not have been removed during its production process.
Aside from having zero exposure to chemicals, products must be made of at least 95% organically produced ingredients to be labeled as "organic". The USDA has a list of non-organic ingredients that may be included in organic products but these ingredients must not exceed more than 5%.
Take note that products labeled as "made with organic ingredients" or "specific organic ingredients" are not considered organic. Organic products can only be labeled as "100% organic", for products made with 100% organic ingredients, or simply "organic" for products with at least 95% organic ingredients.
Improved brain function
Some studies have found that consuming organic chocolate may help improve one's brain function. This is due to the high levels of flavanol found in organic chocolate.
Flavanol is a plant-based substance found in organic dark chocolate and organic cacao. In 2011, a study conducted on young adults found that those who consumed organic dark chocolate had better memory and reaction time than those that consumed milk chocolate or white chocolate.
A similar study conducted in 2014 on adults ages 50 to 69 also showed the same results. Those who consumed organic dark chocolate had better memory compared to those that didn't.
The difference between organic dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate all boils down to the amount of chocolate, sugar, fats, and milk used. Organic dark chocolate has higher amounts of cocoa and fewer amounts of sugar and fats. Due to its higher levels of cocoa, the levels of flavanol are higher as well.
Milk chocolate and white chocolate both have higher amounts of sugar, fats, and milk. This dilutes the amount of chocolate in the bar, including the levels of flavanol. Organic chocolate bars have even higher flavanol levels because it has no artificial flavoring included as well.
Antiinflammatory and antioxidant effects
Flavanol is also responsible for the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of organic chocolate and organic cacao.
Studies show that eating organic chocolate high in flavanol can improve your blood flow and oxygen levels. It can also help lower the risks of heart disease and mortality.
Less sugar crash
When your body takes in sugar your pancreas starts to produce more insulin to lower the levels of glucose in your body. Consuming too much sugar will push your body to produce more insulin. Sooner or later your glucose levels will drop due to the high amounts of insulin, ultimately resulting in a sugar crash.
Sugar crashes are never fun. They can leave you feeling dizzy, anxious, and irritated. Other times it just completely knocks you out. Although chocolate can be a major cause of sugar crashes, not all chocolates are made the same.
Traditionally made chocolate is often the cause of sugar crashes. Non organic chocolate often has large amounts of high fructose corn syrup. This is the leading cause of obesity and is considered a health concern by the World Health Organization.
Organic chocolate, on the other hand, rarely use high fructose corn syrup. Most organic brands use fewer amounts of sugar in general. So you can still enjoy your favorite dessert without worrying about your health and experiencing a sugar crash.
If you're worried about weight gain, don't be. All you need is something that'll help you satisfy your cravings and control your urge to eat more.
That's another great thing about chocolate. It can induce satiety. It's much easier to control how much you're eating when you feel that your cravings have been satisfied. So if you're looking for the perfect diet snack, organic dark chocolate should be your go-to.
Is there a difference in how traditional and organic chocolate tastes?
Another question that most people tend to ask is whether or not organic and traditional chocolate tastes the same.
A true chocolate lover will know the difference between organic and traditional chocolate. Organic chocolate tends to have a richer chocolate taste that lingers on your taste buds. It also has a different texture due to the cocoa butter typically used in organic bars.
Cocoa butter is what gives chocolate that satisfying silky texture. Traditional chocolates usually opt to use vegetable oil instead.
If you were to ask which of the two tastes better, now that would be another debate. Yes, the two taste different. Whether or not one tastes better than the other is subjective.
The final verdict - yes, organic chocolate is better for you!
When it comes to taste, both can be satisfying, depending on one's personal preferences.
But, here's what we know for sure: Organic is not only better for the consumer's health. It is also better for the environment and for the people who make it.
Next time you think about buying your chocolate, go for organic!
MidDay Squares provide a variety of organic chocolates that are sure to satisfy your cravings and tickle your taste buds. They are USDA-certified organic, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free, and vegan chocolates.
These are everything a chocolate bar wishes it could be in terms of the ingredient label, and everything a protein bar wishes it was in terms of taste. You get the best of both worlds with MidDay Squares - it seems almost too good to be true, but we promise it's not!
You won't have to worry about ingesting nasty chemicals or having sugar crashes with 100% organic MidDay Squares!