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How much sugar is in your chocolate?

Chocolate and low sugar

Sugar is a sticky topic.  There’s a large swathe of people who lump all chocolate into the catch-all “if it has sugar, it has to be bad”.  We beg to differ.

Let’s start with a couple of questions.  Which has less sugar? A typical breakfast cereal or a dark craft chocolate bar? A low fat yogurt or a dark craft chocolate bar? Most people will be aware that breakfast cereals contain more sugar than dark craft chocolate bars (and this is true even of most “no sugar-added granolas”). But what not everyone realises is that a single serving size of low fat vanilla yogurt can have over 5 teaspoons of sugar (the sugar is used to replace the “fat” and so stabilise, preserve and give mouthfeel).  By contrast an average craft dark chocolate bar (65g at 70%) has less than 4 teaspoons of sugar. 

 Let’s add a bit more context.  A 330ml can of Coca Cola has just over 8 teaspoons of sugar in it. A bottle of red wine (750CL) has around 6 teaspoons. A craft chocolate bar (65g 70% bar) contains about 3-4 teaspoons of sugar.  Most people drink the full can of coke in one sitting. Most people share the bottle of red wine.  And most craft chocolate consumers share and savour the bar of chocolate over a few evenings.

So the more useful question is “how many teaspoons per serving”?

And not all chocolate is created equal. If you examine the ingredients of a mass produced milk (or dark) chocolate bar you’ll notice it will have a far higher sugar content (over 60% in many cases).  Even the lead ingredient on the new “Cadbury Dark Dairy Milk” is sugar. This is partly because sugar is a much cheaper ingredient than mass-produced cacao. And it’s also because sugar is addictive and, when combined with fat, flavourings and salt, becomes irresistible (the so called “Bliss Point”). Even a 45g supermarket checkout bar can contain 6 teaspoons of sugar.  And you are very likely to eat this whole snack bar in one go (hence why the packaging of mass-produced bars isn’t resealable). 

By contrast, if you savour a craft chocolate bar with just 3-5 squares per session, you’ll be consuming less than a teaspoon of sugar per serving. Your tastebuds will be stimulated.  You’ll feel delighted. No games with the “Bliss Point”. Just the magic of the cocoa bean. Brilliant.

So firstly, savour. Indulge. No need to scoff.

And secondly, don’t worry too much about the percentages on a craft chocolate bar.  Bean type and mouthfeel make a massive difference to how “sweet” a craft bar tastes.  Below we’ve assembled a bunch of “high percentage” bars that will leave you guessing (and delighted).  Try a couple blind and see if you can work out which has the higher percentage (including the 100% from Fossa).

Wishing you all a safe, and dare we say sweet, Bank Holiday weekend. And to all American mothers out there, happy Mothers’ Day too!

And as ever, thanks for your support and enthusiasm

Spencer, Simon, Lizzie and Harmony

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