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How much sugar is in your chocolate?

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? Low-fat yoghurt 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 yoghurt can have over five 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 fewer than four teaspoons of sugar.

Now, let’s add a bit more context: A 330ml can of Coca-Cola has just over eight teaspoons of sugar in it. A bottle of red wine (750CL) has around six. However, A craft chocolate bar (65g, 70% bar) contains about three/four teaspoons of sugar. Usually, 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?”.

Additionally, 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 in the new Cadbury’s Dark Dairy Milk is sugar. This is partly because sugar is a much cheaper ingredient than mass-produced cacao. 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 six 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 three to five squares per session, you’ll be consuming less than a teaspoon of sugar per serving. Your taste buds 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.

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).

1 thought on “How much sugar is in your chocolate?

  1. It’s not true that a normal bottle of red wine contains anywhere near six teaspoons of sugar. 6 tsp would be around 24g sugar, which would mean a residual sugar level of 32g/litre. The vast majority of red wine has under 10g/litre residual sugar, meaning you’re unlikely to have a bottle with more than 7.5g in it (and high-quality wine would usually be lower).

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