“I love nothing more than a good, rich dark chocolate. It exhilarates. It satisfies.” (Abigail Spencer, American actress)
Chocolate lovers know that its relatively healthier cousin is dark chocolate. While it has all the delicious chocolatey goodness, this treat has less sugar. Additionally, its darker variant generously contains minerals like zinc, iron, and magnesium. It also offers many health benefits.
Indulging in dark chocolate is a win-win because, with every sumptuous and satisfying bite, you know that you’re decreasing your possibility of heart disease while minimizing inflammation in the body. But have you noticed that eating dark chocolate gives you a sudden jolt of energy jolt while all the stress seems to ebb out of your body? The reaction is similar to drinking a good cup of coffee, so does dark chocolate have caffeine?
Does Dark Chocolate Have Caffeine?
Image source: Pinterest
Chocolate is made from cacao, a plant variety with high amounts of antioxidants and minerals. Of all chocolate types, dark chocolate has the highest amount of cacao solids, and these cacao ingredients are where the caffeine is found.
So, yes, dark chocolate has caffeine. But even if you’re sensitive to this stimulant, you don’t need to stay away from this heavenly treat because the amount that can be found in dark chocolate is minimal. Compared to a standard cup of coffee, dark chocolate has four times less caffeine.
It pays to understand what caffeine does to your body. This natural stimulant, once consumed, goes straight to your brain. Your body quickly absorbs it through your bloodstream, instantly impacting your brain. As a result, it can help you become more alert while averting the beginnings of fatigue and boosting your mood.
Caffeine is commonly found in cacao-made products like chocolate, coffee, and tea.
But haven’t you wondered why, after eating dark chocolate, you only experience the positive boosts and not the adverse effects like insomnia or waves of dizziness? This is because chocolates also have a component called theobromine to counteract these side effects.
Is It Safe To Eat Dark Chocolate Everyday?
Despite all of dark chocolate’s benefits, you can’t just eat as much as you want at any time. Just like other food items, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation. According to health experts, you can eat around 30 to 60 grams of it daily. To give you an idea of how much that is, it’s around two to four modest-sized squares of your favorite dark chocolate.
With that in mind, if caffeine has negative effects on you, then it’s best to indulge in a block or two of your favorite dark chocolate during the day and not when you are about to sleep.
Aside from consuming it in moderation, you can avoid indulging in other drinks and foods that have caffeine.
How Much Caffeine Is in Dark Chocolate?
Image source: Pinterest
As mentioned, the caffeine content in dark chocolates isn’t something you should worry about. There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the caffeine levels of dark chocolate. Realistically speaking, you need to eat an entire dark chocolate bar to experience the same effects as a cup of coffee. This rarely happens as chocolates are typically enjoyed in small bites or a few pieces at a time.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture or USDA, one ounce of dark chocolate has the following caffeine levels on average:
• Dark chocolate with 45% to 60% cacao contains 12.2 mg of caffeine.
• Dark chocolate with 70% to 85% of cacao contains 22.7 mg of caffeine.
One factor that affects the caffeine content is where the cacao beans come from. This is because each geographic location has different weather, altitude, and soil. These factors alter the overall growth of the cacao plant and, eventually, the composition of the cacao beans.
For example, cacao grown in South America and the Caribbean islands has more caffeine content than beans nurtured in Africa. Additionally, cacao grown in Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela also has the highest caffeine levels. So, when these beans are used to make dark chocolate, expect the caffeine content to be higher.
Meanwhile, cacao beans from Mexico, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast appear to have the lowest caffeine content among all the beans globally. For an overview, here’s how much caffeine dark chocolates would have if they use cacao beans grown in these countries:
• Dark chocolate with 75% cacao from Ecuador has 42 mg of caffeine per ounce.
• Dark chocolate with 75% cacao from Mexico has 18 mg of caffeine per ounce.
• Dark chocolate with 75% cacao from Peru has 41mg of caffeine per ounce.
Which Is Better? Dark Chocolate or Coffee?
Image source: Pinterest
For your daily pick-me-up, coffee can do the job. However, if you want a healthier option with fewer adverse side effects, it’s highly recommended you opt for dark chocolate.
A cup of coffee can be overwhelming unless you’re used to it. If you want a more subtle lift, then a bar of dark chocolate (which can last you the entire week) is enough for a boost in energy.
Unlike the caffeine you get from coffee, where the alertness happens immediately and lasts for hours, the theobromine component of dark chocolate has a smoother and subtler influence. You’ll notice that the rise in energy levels is more gradual and steady without the sudden spike and annoying crash you get from coffee.
The same goes for dark chocolate’s effect on your mood. Indulging in dark chocolate can automatically make you happy. Though some may consider caffeine a happy pill, it can become more of an obligation to drink it daily. Compared to chocolate, it provides a different level of contentment and relaxation.
If you want a similar pick-me-up in the morning, try a cup of hot dark chocolate for breakfast. It may sound a little weird, but it will affect you the same way as coffee though more subtly. You can also nibble on dark chocolate during that long afternoon stretch when your energy levels may be running low.