Chocolate has been around for more than 2,000 years. It was first enjoyed by the Aztecs as a beverage and favored by royalty. Today, the average American consumes 11.7 lb. of chocolate each year.



History

Cacao seeds were first grown, harvested, fermented and ground into a paste in ancient Mesoamerica between 250 and 900 A.D. The Mayans savored it as a beverage and also used chocolate in trade and as a form of currency.

Identification

Chocolate comes in milk, dark and white varieties. The nutritional contents and ingredients vary slightly by type.

Ingredients

Milk, dark and white chocolate all contain sugar, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, cocoa liquor, lecithin, vanilla and cocoa. Dark chocolate contains the least amount of added ingredients, milk chocolate has the least amount of cocoa liquor, and white chocolate contains the most flavorings.

Considerations

Calories, fat content and additives will vary depending on the type and brand of chocolate consumed. One calories counter lists milk chocolate, white and dark as containing 535, 539 and 540 calories respectively in each 3.53-oz. serving.

Nutritional Benefits

All three types of chocolate contain sodium, riboflavin, vitamin E, sugars, calcium and potassium. They also contain protein. Dark chocolate wins in the fiber category, with 3.14 g per ounce; milk chocolate has 0.57 g, and white chocolate contains no fiber.