Pairing Sugars and Chocolate

A love for chocolate can be traced through the centuries. Known as a food of the gods, chocolate was highly prized in the Americas in pre-Columbian times. Native Americans from what is now Mexico served chocolate to European explorers as early as the 1500s.

By itself, chocolate has a bitter taste. But sugar, transported from plantations in the American and Caribbean colonies, made chocolate tasty to the European palate. By the mid-1600s, the popularity of chocolate, sweetened with sugar, had spread throughout Europe. In 1847, milk chocolate was created, and it quickly became popular around the world.

As an ingredient with a distinctive flavor, chocolate can fit within a healthful eating plan. It may add a flavor spark that makes nutritious foods, such as milk, more appealing. Chocolate, a plant-based ingredient, also contains a category of phytonutrients called polyphenols, which may offer some health benefits. Refer to chapter 4 on phytonutrients. Research is exploring links to heart health; chocolate appears to have significant antioxidant potential.

The chocolate challenge? Sugary, chocolate-flavored foods are typically high calorie, often low in nutrients. And they may crowd out more nutritious foods—for example, if a chocolate bar replaces fruit in your lunch bag—or when you can't control a chocolate urge. Much of the chocolate we consume is found in confectionery and baked products that are fat laden, too.

Now let's melt away a few chocolate myths:

  • Myth: Chocolate causes acne. That misconception has captured the attention of teens for years. However, hormonal changes during adolescence are the usual cause of acne, not chocolate.
  • Myth: Carob bars are more healthful than chocolate bars. Actually a carob bar has the same amount of calories and fat as a similar-size chocolate bar. Carob, a common substitute for chocolate, comes from the seeds of the carob tree, which are different from cocoa beans.
  • Myth: Chocolate has a lot of caffeine. Chocolate supplies caffeine, but the amount is quite small. Eight ounces of chocolate milk have about 5 milligrams of caffeine, compared with 3 milligrams in 5 ounces of decaffeinated coffee. In contrast, 5 ounces of regular-brew coffee contains 115 milligrams of caffeine.
  • Myth: Some people are "chocoholics." Not true— although some people do have a stronger preference for chocolate than others, perhaps because of its taste, aroma, and texture. While popping chocolate candies may become a high-calorie habit with a pleasurable sensation, eating chocolate itself can't become truly addictive. Research is exploring any potential role of chocolate to brain neurotransmitters that regulate serotonin and dopamine, often referred to as "feel good" body substances.
600 Chocolate Recipes

600 Chocolate Recipes

Within this in cookbook full of chocolate recipes you will find over 600 Chocolate Recipes For Chocolate Lovers.

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