10 Ways Chocolate Is Hurting You—And Helping You

10 Ways Chocolate Is Hurting You—And Helping You

We may have different opinions on a lot of things, but the one thing that unites us all is chocolate. It’s delicious, we can get it just about anywhere…and it also comes with some surprising health benefits. Overconsumption comes with a laundry list of health concerns, but moderation is the key to all of chocolate’s benefits. 

1. Weight Gain

As much as we all love chocolate, it’s no secret that it’s out to get our waistline. Overconsumption of all those calories—plus the added sugar and fat—leads to a huge caloric imbalance and significant weight gain.

Towfiqu-Barbhuiya-J6G Szotmf4-UnsplashPhoto by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

2. Digestive Issues

Too much chocolate can cause GI upset thanks to its caffeine levels and theobromine. If you overindulge, both can bring symptoms like cramping, bloating, and diarrhea.

Egor-Lyfar-Dpnrbt1Wcms-UnsplashPhoto by Egor Lyfar on Unsplash

3. Acne

People with existing acne may see a flare-up after too much chocolate, or milk chocolate specifically. It isn’t necessarily the chocolate on its own that’s to blame, it’s all the sugar and dairy it’s packed with, which can exacerbate breakouts or lead to more oily skin.

Heather-Barnes-Gp1Yecpryd8-UnsplashPhoto by Heather Barnes on Unsplash

4. Dental Problems

Dentists have warned against too much sugar for years, and they’re right. Too much of it leads to cavities and plaque whereas a stickier chocolate can get caught between teeth and risk tooth decay.

Caroline-Lm-8Bkf0Stc6Uo-UnsplashPhoto by Caroline LM on Unsplash


5. Blood Sugar Irregularities

All that sugar only serves to harm our blood sugar levels, especially if you already have diabetes or insulin resistance. If you regularly overindulge in chocolate then the sugar can easily cause your levels to spike.

Michele-Blackwell-Evrb-X0Tjkm-UnsplashPhoto by Michele Blackwell on Unsplash

6. Too Much Caffeine

If you struggle with caffeine sensitivity, chocolate before bed is highly detrimental to your sleep cycle. Milk chocolate doesn’t contain as much caffeine as dark chocolate, and the odds of either’s caffeine content affecting the average person are relatively slim. But it’s not impossible.

Kristiana-Pinne-Ner3Qldgooe-UnsplashPhoto by Kristiana Pinne on Unsplash

7. Migraine Triggers

Though it doesn’t affect everyone, people who suffer from migraines might experience heightened symptoms after too much chocolate. It’s best to stick with a moderate amount to not trigger another one.

Hermes-Rivera-Kpsmtv7H3Z4-UnsplashPhoto by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash

8. Allergic Reactions

There are a lot of potential triggers in chocolate, from cocoa to milk to certain types of nuts. Of course, it’s critical to read the label before you snack on anything that might harm you, but chocolate is one of those foods you need to be extra careful with.

Jessica-Johnston-P86Sbt225Nu-UnsplashPhoto by Jessica Johnston on Unsplash

9. Cadmium Contamination

Unfortunately, studies have shown that chocolate can contain metals like cadmium or lead—and the amount found has often varied. Some kinds of chocolate only have trace amounts whereas others were said to contain more alarming numbers. Regardless, consumption of either metal is best kept to a minimum, and eating chocolate in moderation is perfectly fine!

Dovile-Ramoskaite--Jezaukvhyu-UnsplashPhoto by Dovile Ramoskaite on Unsplash

10. Severe Cravings

While chocolate isn’t an addiction, some people turn to it in unhealthy ways and unhealthy amounts. Overconsumption isn’t only detrimental to our health, but for some, it can trigger feelings of guilt or self-hatred.

Denny-Muller-Mgp8Gygb8Zy-UnsplashPhoto by Denny Müller on Unsplash

But chocolate isn’t all bad! In fact, there are several benefits it comes with.


1. Boosts Mood

Chocolate doles out plenty of serotonin. Eating it in moderation can enhance happiness and give a little boost to our day, so indulge in a square or two!

Ronise-Daluz-Hkzfxqgujta-UnsplashPhoto by Ronise daluz on Unsplash

2. Plenty of Good Stuff

Protein, vitamins, magnesium, fiber…these are just some of the benefits chocolate provides in moderation. Sadly, chocolate can’t replace essential food groups as part of a balanced diet, but it does have a place in our food intake.

Kaffee-Meister-Xhwntgj2N98-UnsplashPhoto by Kaffee Meister on Unsplash

3. Brain Power

Dark chocolate in particular may be the answer to finally improving memory and focus. It’s been theorized that flavonoids in chocolate can improve blood flow to the brain, which can boost cognitive function.

Rivage-4Ewszirta7U-UnsplashPhoto by Rivage on Unsplash

4. Prevents Inflammation

The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been linked to anti-inflammatory properties that aid with symptoms of arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Popping a square or two if it can do more good than you think!

Jessica-Loaiza-Dhyfjae Eeo-UnsplashPhoto by Jessica Loaiza on Unsplash

5. Lower Blood Pressure

Did you know that chocolate in moderation is good for the heart? Believe it because the flavonoids in dark chocolate do lower blood pressure and improve the function of your blood vessels. 

Amirali-Mirhashemian-Rcvilsxhyi0-UnsplashPhoto by amirali mirhashemian on Unsplash

6. Stress Reduction

For most of us, chocolate makes us happy, but it can also lower stress. Due to the endorphin and serotonin releases, our stress and anxiety levels can be depleted significantly after a bit of the good stuff.

Towfiqu-Barbhuiya-Uni4M3Shqoo-UnsplashPhoto by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash


7. Can Curb Hunger

The fat and fiber power duo found in dark chocolate can help regulate appetite by allowing you to feel fuller. You don’t need much to reach peak, temporary fullness either—and you can munch on some chocolate to get there. 

Jan-Zwarthoed-Sfywaidbolc-UnsplashPhoto by Jan Zwarthoed on Unsplash

8. It’s Good Pre-Workout 

If you need a good pre-workout snack, dark chocolate is your friend. With so many antioxidants, it gives an energized nudge to your muscles and blood flow so you can get in a good workout.

Jonathan-Borba-Lrqptqs7Nqq-UnsplashPhoto by Jonathan Borba on Unsplash

9. Helps You Sleep

A bit of dark chocolate before you hit the hay can promote healthier sleep. Because chocolate releases endorphins and serotonin, your body may feel more relaxed and calm just before bed.

Vladislav-Muslakov-Cwiu33Kgtoc-UnsplashPhoto by Vladislav Muslakov on Unsplash

10. Helps Immune System

The antioxidants and flavonoids in dark chocolate aid in a healthier immune system! Believe it or not, it’s also a good place to turn if you have an annoying cough. Slowly suck on a piece of dark chocolate to alleviate your throat.

Tamas-Pap-Ewjwfoj-Wa0-UnsplashPhoto by Tamas Pap on Unsplash