Sometimes eating that extra block of chocolate or a couple more is all you need for a mood buster. But what if you can’t stop? Is too much chocolate bad?
Chocolate is probably the most loved sweet delicacy in the world. From dark to milk to white, people love all kinds of chocolates. It’s probably because it’s an all-day, everyday kind of treat, isn’t it? Feeling stressed? Craving for sweets? Want to celebrate? Feel like rewarding yourself? There is one solution to all - you guessed it - chocolate.
Eating chocolate in moderation is acceptable. However, overeating chocolate has several side effects: weight gain, anxiety and stress, insomnia, gastrointestinal issues, and kidney troubles. The amount of chocolate you can have at a particular time also depends on the type of chocolate.
Different types of chocolates have different effects. The general rule of thumb is that the whiter the chocolate, the more harmful it is. As more milk, butter, and sweeteners are added to the chocolate, the lighter it gets, causing more harm. Once you lose control over your chocolate intake, you will probably suffer from its effects, whether white or dark.
Different researches tell us other things about the effects of too much chocolate. That is why we consulted the best nutritionists and doctors to form a collective point of view and sort out the topic for eternity.
Is Too Much Chocolate Bad?
It is hard not to eat chocolate, especially if it is right before you. The good part is that you can have chocolate every day. Having 1-2 ounces of chocolate daily, especially dark chocolate (the healthy one), can be good for your health in several ways if you have it in moderation. More on that later.
However, the problem begins when you open one bar after another as the chocolate addiction has taken over you. Anything that becomes too much is usually a problem for humankind - chocolate is no different.
Below, we discuss the various side effects of having too much chocolate.
Major Side Effects of Chocolate
Unless you are having vegan chocolate sweetened with stevia, the odds are that you are intaking high amounts of calories along with sugar and fat. According to Calorie King, a 40 grams milk chocolate bar contains 200 calories, 11g of fat, 22g of sugar, 10 mg of cholesterol, and 40 mg of sodium. These numbers can rise or dip depending on the cocoa, sugar, milk, and other contents in the chocolate. To burn these calories, you will need to do either of these:
- Swimming for 17 minutes
- Jogging for 23 minutes
- Cycling for 31 minutes
- Walking for 56 minutes
Unless you are doing any of the above exercises, the chocolate will sit in your body and increase your blood sugar levels, insulin, and weight. However, it is not the one time you had a chocolate bar that will increase your weight.
Chocolate is a type of carbohydrate that digests quickly. Since it contains high sugar and fat levels, it spikes your sugar level and releases dopamine in your brain that makes you feel pleasure. When the effects wear off, your blood sugar level drops instantly, and your brain tells you to have more chocolate. It is easy to get stuck in this cycle, which leads to weight gain. Weight gain can cause further problems such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
Headaches and Insomnia
Cocoa, the primary content of chocolate, contains caffeine. That is why medical experts suggest not giving chocolate before sleeping, as caffeine is known for heightening the senses and raising the heartbeat. Although dark chocolate is the healthiest, it has the highest caffeine consumption since it has the most cocoa content. One ounce of dark chocolate has 23 mg of caffeine. On the other hand, one ounce of milk chocolate has 6 ounces of caffeine.
You should not have more than 1-2 ounces of dark chocolate, especially before eating. Having too much chocolate will keep you up for hours. It can also become habitual if you have too much chocolate daily, causing loss of sleep and eventually causing headaches and insomnia.
Anxiety and Irregular Heartbeats
Besides sleep loss, caffeine also causes anxiety and irregular heartbeats. While caffeine boosts energy by blocking a brain chemical known as adenosine that makes you feel tired, it also triggers your adrenaline, making you feel energized. When you eat too much chocolate, the caffeine intake increases, and so do these side effects, resulting in coffee-induced anxiety.
Other Reasons Why You Should Avoid Too Much Chocolate
Cocoa is an acidic carbohydrate. Acidic chocolate can induce acid reflux, heartburn, stomach inflammation, and other stomach diseases when you overeat chocolate. Moreover, chocolate can irritate your stomach easily if you have a weaker gut or suffer from diarrhea. Lactose intolerant people should avoid chocolate at all costs. Since all chocolate contains at least some milk, it can affect the bowel badly and induce severe symptoms.
Cadmium is a toxic metal found in chocolate. The World Health Organization recommends there should not be more than 0.3 mcg consumption of cadmium per gram. However, most chocolate brands have higher cadmium content than that, which can be hard on the kidneys. Consuming too much chocolate might affect the kidneys due to more cadmium, especially if they are already in poor condition.
While sweet-tooth cravings are common for chocolate lovers, ironically, too much chocolate can cause tooth decay. The sugary elements from chocolate combine with the bacteria that live in your mouth to form an acid that harms your teeth. It wears off the enamel (a protective layer of the teeth) and makes cavities. As a result, your teeth will get weaker, and you will feel immense shooting pain, tingling sensitivity, etc. Whether you have a consistent oral hygiene routine or not, eating too much chocolate puts you at high risk for tooth decay.
Can Chocolate Be Good For Health?
Chocolate can be good for your health, depending on the type of chocolate you have. There are three types of chocolates:
- White Chocolate
- Milk Chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
White chocolate is not basically chocolate since it contains zero amount of cacao. It’s made from milk, sugar, and other ingredients. Milk chocolate is sweet and smooth since it contains milk and sugar added to the cacao. Dark chocolate can be bitter-sweet to just bitter and is the healthiest type of chocolate. The sweetness and bitterness vary depending on the amount of cacao in the chocolate. Not only is dark chocolate healthy, but doctors also recommend having it daily. It has multiple health benefits, including improved blood flow and heart health, raised HDL and protection LDL from oxidation, full of antioxidants, and improved brain function.
About THE AUTHOR
Lori has been a Culinary Arts instructor for twenty years. She has taught in the public school setting, at the collegiate level and through adult continuing education as well as running several cooking and baking camps for children. She has participated in several cooking, cake & chocolate contests and has been well recognized. She has raised thousands of dollars for charities using the byline “Saving the World one Cupcake at a Time”. Additionally, she has had several articles regarding food published in various magazines.Read More About Lori Gilmore