Equal Exchange Chocolate: The Real [Health] Deal

Jessica Jones-Hughes
October 2, 2012
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dark chocolate stackLooking for a late afternoon sweet craving? After dinner dessert? What if you could satisfy your sweet tooth guilt free, support small scale farmers AND actually be healthy. Is it possible? Equal Exchange has just the chocolate bar for you, in 9 alluring varieties.

The benefits of chocolate are touted far and wide, but what a lot of people do not realize is that the majority of the highlighted benefits are from cacao used to make chocolate. Unfortunately, most chocolate bars you find in the grocery do not actually contain much cacao. Equal Exchange is different. Read why Equal Exchange chocolate bars pack more than the average bar.

Equal Exchange chocolate bars are literally packed with cacao. Most generic chocolate bars contain as low as 10% cacao in the bar (the FDA's minimum requirement to call a food chocolate), and the rest is preservatives, sugar and fat. NEWS FLASH: Equal Exchange chocolate bars are filled with between 38% and 80% cacao.

Why is cacao important?

  • CACAO 101: Cacao is actually a fruit, which is why the beans (used to make chocolate ingredients) are so full of nutrients. Cacao is packed with fiber and antioxidants. Other ingredients use in chocolate are typically preservatives, milk, sugar and fat. This is why you want to look for a bar with a high quantity of cacao. The more cacao present, the more health benefits (80% cacao Panama bar anyone?).
  • Heart Health. A recent analysis of numerous studies found that people who ate dark chocolate had a reduction in blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
  • Stroke. A 2012 study in Sweden found that individuals who consumed chocolate had less incidence of stroke than those who did not.
  • Satisfaction. In addition to satisfying your craving, Equal Exchange chocolate bars have fiber and healthy fats. Fat and fiber make you feel more full and keep you full for longer. This means that eating a few pieces of Equal Exchange chocolate will keep you satisfied for longer than if you ate 2 or 3 sugar cookies.

The benefits of chocolate are most powerful if chocolate is eaten in moderation, at most 1-2 servings per day (1 serving = 8 squares of Equal Exchange chocolate); there are 2.5 servings per bar. Also, all of your nutrients can not come from chocolate, even if it is 100% cacao. Enjoy chocolate alongside a healthy, balanced diet.

Sources: "Chocolate consumption and risk of stroke: A prospective cohort of men and meta-analysis" Journal of Neurology (August 29, 2012) http://www.neurology.org/content/early/2012/08/29/WNL.0b013e31826aacfa.abstract?sid=d3c6c901-72c0-4f36-83cf-3253c3097bff

"Effect of cocoa on Blood Pressure" Ried K, Sullivan TR, Fakler P, Frank OR, Stocks NP. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2012, Issue 8. http://summaries.cochrane.org/CD008893/effect-of-cocoa-on-blood-pressure