Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate is a form of chocolate containing cocoa solids and cocoa butter without the milk or butter found in milk chocolate.[1] Dark chocolate without added sweetener is known as bitter chocolate[2] or unsweetened chocolate.[3]

Dark chocolate, 70% cocoa

Government and industry standards of what products may be labeled "dark chocolate" vary by country and market.

There is no high-quality evidence for any health effects of dark chocolate, such as on blood pressure.[4]


Image from a Maya ceramic depicting a container of frothed chocolate

Chocolate is made from the tropical Theobroma cacao tree seeds. Chocolate has been around for over 3,000 years.[1] It was developed around 1900 B.C[5] in Central and South America as a drink.[6] Later, it was also made into a drink for the Mayan peoples for ceremonial purposes.[7]

The Spanish encountered chocolate in the early 1500s and brought it back to Europe. They would add honey and cane sugar to make it sweeter, and other additional flavourings. They would also use boiling water instead of cold water to make the first hot chocolate drinks.[8] Soon after, in the late 1600s, milk was also added to the dark chocolate beverage by Hans Sloane, who resided in Jamaica at the time.[1] Chocolate was finally made into a solid form in the 18th century and started to be mass-produced in the 19th century, thanks to several innovations, in particular by Van Houten[9] and Lindt.[10]

In the late 19th century, thanks to innovations by Daniel Peter and Henri Nestlé, milk chocolate became a new type of chocolate, which would quickly become popular. As a consequence, the term dark chocolate was coined to distinguish the traditional chocolate from its new rival. In the late 20th century, dark chocolate regained popularity due to its superior supposed health benefits over milk chocolate.[1]


As of 2018, high-quality clinical research has not been conducted to evaluate the effects of compounds found in cocoa on physiological outcomes, such as blood pressure, for which only small (1–2 mmHg) changes resulted from short-term consumption of chocolate up to 105 grams and 670 milligrams of flavonols per day.[4] Flavanols found in dark chocolate include the monomers catechin and epicatechin, and (to a lesser extent) the polymeric procyanidins, which remain under laboratory research.[4]

Nutritional contentEdit

USDA "Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids"
Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy2,500 kJ (600 kcal)
45.9 g
Sugars24 g
Dietary fiber10.9 g
42.6 g
Saturated24.5 g
Trans0.03 g
Monounsaturated12.8 g
Polyunsaturated1.26 g
7.79 g
Vitamin A equiv.
2 μg
Vitamin A39 IU
Thiamine (B1)
0.034 mg
Riboflavin (B2)
0.078 mg
Niacin (B3)
1.05 mg
Pantothenic acid (B5)
0.418 mg
Vitamin B6
0.038 mg
Vitamin B12
0.28 μg
Vitamin E
0.59 mg
Vitamin K
7.3 μg
73 mg
1.77 mg
11.90 mg
228 mg
1.95 mg
308 mg
715 mg
6.8 μg
20 mg
3.31 mg
Other constituentsQuantity
Water1.37 g
Caffeine80 mg
Cholesterol3 mg
Theobromine802 mg

Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central

Nutrients in dark chocolate include 46% carbohydrates, 43% fats, 8% protein, and 1% water (table). In a 100-gram (3+12-ounce) reference serving, dark chocolate provides 2,500 kilojoules (600 kilocalories) of food energy and is a rich source (defined as more than 20% of the Daily Value, DV) of several dietary minerals, such as iron, copper, manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It also contains a moderate amount of vitamin B12 (see table for further statistics).

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d Tara Mchugh (16 April 2016). "How dark chocolate is processed". PhysOrg. Retrieved 19 November 2019.
  2. ^ Mushet, C.; Sur La Table; Caruso, M. (2008). The Art and Soul of Baking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. pp. 39–40. ISBN 978-0-7407-7334-1.
  3. ^ Patrick-Goudreau, C. (2007). The Joy of Vegan Baking: The Compassionate Cooks' Traditional Treats and Sinful Sweets. Fair Winds Press. p. 241. ISBN 978-1-61673-850-1.
  4. ^ a b c Ried, K.; Sullivan, T. R.; Fakler, P.; Frank, O. R.; Stocks, N. P. (25 April 2017). "Effect of cocoa on blood pressure". The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 4 (4): CD008893. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD008893.pub3. PMC 6478304. PMID 28439881.
  5. ^ Watson, Traci (22 January 2013). "Earliest Evidence of Chocolate in North America". Science. Archived from the original on 6 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  6. ^ "History of Chocolate". history.com. History (American TV network). 14 December 2017. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  7. ^ "Chocolate: A Mesoamerican Luxury 250–900 C.E. (A.D.) – Making Chocolate". Field Museum. Retrieved 2 June 2008.
  8. ^ Notter, Ewald (18 January 2011). The Art of the Chocolatier: From Classic Confections to Sensational Showpieces. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 978-0-470-39884-5.
  9. ^ "History of Chocolate". Field Museum. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
  10. ^ Klein, Christopher (14 February 2014). "The Sweet History of Chocolate". History (U.S. TV channel). Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 3 March 2014.