By Nutritionist Melissa Fine.
If you’re like me and you love a bit of chocolate now and then, it’s worth choosing a brand with a conscience…One that cares about what you’re putting into your body, while also thinking about the part it plays in the bigger picture.
Here’s what to look for when choosing your chocolate:
1. Real ingredients: A good quality brand of chocolate contains a short list of wholesome, vegan ingredients you’re familiar with, such as organic raw cacao nibs and fibre-rich coconut. On the other hand, more commercial chocolates often have a lengthy ingredients list with things like vegetable fat and additives, such as food acid 330, and emulsifier 322 – not exactly ingredients you’d find in your fridge or pantry.
2. Minimally processed sugars: The sugar in your chocolate should be as natural and as good for you as possible. Look for brands at your local health food store that use organic evaporated coconut nectar, which being low GI, won’t unsteady your blood glucose levels.
Commercial brands at the supermarket however are laden with highly processed sweeteners, like refined cane sugar and wheat glucose syrup, which offer nothing but empty kilojoules. ‘Diet’ chocolate bars are no better, containing sugar alcohols like erythritol, which can be easy to overeat and difficult to digest, having a potential laxative effect.
3. As little added sugar as possible: Per 100 g, Loving Earth’s creamy Coconut Mylk chocolate contains just 21.4 g of sugar/100 g. This is a far superior option to a popular commercial milk chocolate, which has more than 57 g of sugar/100 g.
4. A rich cacao content: Did you know that the cacao used in Loving Earth’s handmade chocolate has a higher level of antioxidants than goji and acai berries? This is because cacao has a greater ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity’ (ORAC), a score that measures how much a food absorbs cell-damaging free radicals in the environment (like pollution and cigarette smoke).
So, a more nutritious chocolate bar will have a higher cacao content, like Loving Earth’s range, which contain 55%-72% cacao. Your typical milk chocolate brand is comprised of just 26% cocoa solids, along with milk solids and a heap of other highly processed ingredients that may counteract the health benefits of the cocoa.
5. Fair trade practices: Loving Earth source the raw ingredients for their Coconut Mylk Luvju chocolate from indigenous communities in Peru. The brains behind the brand, founding director Scott Fry, says, “When our friends in Peru manage to add as much value as possible at the point of origin, not only do we support agricultural industry, but also the development of that community. We get the five basic materials we need…and they earn more, allowing them to further develop infrastructure to process their cacao.”
6. An eco-friendly approach: Think food labels made from vegetable based inks, packaging made from recycled cardboard, compostable wrappers and absolutely no heavy metals. If you don’t want to contribute to landfill, choose a chocolate without plastic packaging.
Another upside of chocolate fitting these criteria?
Made from nourishing ingredients that leave a luxurious, full-bodied flavour and feel in your mouth, a little goes a long way. Choose a chocolate made from real food and you’ll be satisfied after a few bites…so you won’t end up eating the whole block.
Loving Earth have combined Coconut and Raw Cacao (55%) to create this decadent, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth ‘Mylk Chocolate.’ Supremely delicious, this healthy treat delivers a dose of these two wonderful superfoods.