Dr. Andrea Middleton - Is It Bad For You? Approved by Dr. Andrea Middleton

Is Chocolate Bad For You?



Short answer

If consumed in large quantities, chocolate can lead to problems such as obesity and an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. However, dark chocolate in particular, when eaten in moderation, has a host of benefits including preventing cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.



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Long answer

Chocolate often gets a bad (w)rap. There is one particular type of chocolate - dark chocolate - that is actually very good when enjoyed in moderation.  Dark chocolate, especially that containing over 70% cocoa, is rich in an assortment of essential vitamins and minerals.  These help to prevent heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke.  Antioxidants are also abundant in dark chocolate and provided you do not drink milk while eating (milk binds with antioxidants, causing disruption in function), they help prevent free radical damage that can lead to, among other problems, cancer.

Flavonols found in dark chocolate have anti-inflammatory properties and also help prevent cancer and heart disease.  Additionally, dark chocolate reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad kind) and helps lower blood pressure.  If you've ever noticed yourself feeling happier after eating dark chocolate, it isn't only due to its deliciousness.  Dark chocolate contains phenylethylamine (PEA), a chemical that has been associated with the release of endorphins and serotonin.

One bar of dark chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa provides nearly the entire recommended daily allowance for a variety of nutrients, including iron (67%), magnesium (58%), copper (89%), and manganese (98%).  This last one, manganese, is crucial for proper bone growth, fighting against free-radicals, and collagen production (as a co-factor for the enzyme prolidase).

Despite these benefits, there are some downsides to dark chocolate. It is high in caffeine, which can cause you to become jittery. Also, migraines may be caused or worsened by the tyramine held therein.  Yet a further problem is that dark chocolate, like all chocolate, is high in sugar and calories, so while it is good for you to eat, it is important to eat only in moderation.

Possible short-term side effects

  • headache / migraine
  • jittery sensation
  • blood sugar spike

Possible long-term side effects

  • milk chocolate:
  • weight gain
  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • stroke

Ingredients to be aware of


  • dark chocolate:
  • lowers ldl levels
  • lowers blood pressure
  • reduces risk of heart disease
  • reduces risk of cancer
  • may help protect the skin against the sun
  • provides feeling of euphoria

Healthier alternatives

  • cocoa nibs
  • carob

Our Wellness Pick (what is this?)

Lily's Dark Chocolate Sampler

  • Stevia sweetened
  • No added sugar
  • Low-carb, Keto-friendly
  • Fair Trade certified
  • Gluten-free & Non-GMO
Learn More!

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-01-2016
Last updated: 12-01-2023

Thank you for your feedback!

Written by Jeff Volling
Published on: 01-01-2016
Last updated: 12-01-2023

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