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Tracking the sugar content of Lindt chocolate blocks

by Brad Neal (follow)
Author of Swimming Hole Heaven swimh.com), Waterfall Seasons waterfallseasons.com) water-themed images freshwater-images.com)
Nutrition (268)      Health Warnings (51)     
The rule of thumb when choosing Lindt chocolate blocks is that for every shade darker you choose, you halve the amount of sugar you are consuming. That is, the 85% cocoa block has roughly half the sugar of the 70% cocoa block and double the amount of sugar than the 90% cocoa block, as shown in the following sugar content chart.

Chart of sugar content in Lindt chocolate blocks
The sugar content per 20 gram serve in different varieties of Lindt excellence chocolate blocks

Consuming high amounts of sugar is linked to a range of poor health outcomes, including obesity, diabetes, dementia and tooth decay, so the less you can eat whilst still enjoying your chocolate, the better it will be for your long-term health.

A serving size of chocolate is assumed to be 20 grams, which is two of the ten pieces in a 100 gram block of chocolate. This serving size contains between 1-12% of a person’s recommended daily intake of sugar. If you eat more than two pieces in a day, then your sugar intake will increase accordingly. If you eat the whole 100g block, which is not that hard to do, you could be consuming up to two thirds of your recommended daily intake of sugar in one sitting.

Surprisingly, as soon as flavours such as orange intense, mint intense, coconut intense, etc. were added to dark chocolate, the sugar content became very similar to milk or white chocolate. There was very little variation across flavours, with all flavoured dark, milk and white chocolate varieties of Lindt excellence chocolate containing between 9-11 grams of sugar per 20 gram serving. In other words, roughly half of the content of these chocolate blocks was sugar. If you think you are reducing your sugar intake by choosing a flavoured dark chocolate over milk or white chocolate, the nutritional content indicates otherwise.

Chart of sugar content in Lindt chocolate blocks
100 gram Lindt chocolate blocks

As the cocoa content of chocolate increases, the flavour becomes less creamy. I found that at 85% cocoa content, the chocolate still tasted creamy, but at 90% it had a tendency to stick to the roof of my mouth and became harder to swallow. For many people, a cocoa content above 70% tastes too bitter. The temptation when eating a darker chocolate is to make it more palatable by drinking say a glass of milk or red wine, however this is likely to eliminate any reduction in sugar consumption that you may have gained by choosing the darker chocolate.

Cocoa is an anti-oxidant, so moderate amounts of chocolate with high cocoa and low sugar content could provide you with long-term health benefits. As everyone knows, chocolate tastes great too and can positively affect your mood, particularly if you can avoid the guilt of eating too much sugar by choosing a cocoa content and a serving size that is right for you.

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