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Judy Davie
Health & Body

Is hot chocolate good for you?

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"Your article about whether chocolate is good for you was great! Now I wonder about hot chocolate or powdered cocoa drinks. Do they contain any significant quantities of antioxidants? Should they only be consumed three times a month?"
— Trish
It's a bit like red wine — we know it contains some antioxidants which give us the excuse we need to drink it, but the bottom line is there are many other foods which provide significantly more antioxidants. That said, even though we know we could buy a pack of blueberries and get three times more antioxidants, sometimes we just want chocolate! I understand you. I'm one of those people. There are varying schools of thought on the best hot chocolate or powdered cocoa drinks on the market. Some dieticians base their best choice on the energy, fat and carbohydrate content found on the nutritional panel, but in my opinion that's just part of the picture. Turn to the ingredient list. Artificial sugars, non-fat milk solids and a host of other additives may help reduce the energy and fat content but the additives negate the antioxidant effects of the cocoa. A top quality cocoa has more antioxidants from flavonoids than any cheaper hot chocolate or cocoa drink. It's also more bitter, which is a good thing as, like with dark chocolate, you're less likely to over consume! Here's my tip

Buy a natural cocoa with no additives. Make it in a pan with skimmed or reduced fat milk. Sweeten it yourself with no more than one teaspoon of sugar or honey. Consider it a treat and not an everyday food.

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