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Chocolate is a universal treat, with a rich history and admiration from across the globe. It’s another one of those versatile foods; it’s appreciated in almost any occasion, and it can be a nice compliment to other dishes. Of all the types, milk chocolate stands out as a particular favorite, but how much do we really know this favorited treat.

When Chocolate Met Milk

Chocolate itself can be traced back to the time of ancient Mayans. Cacao, the plant where chocolate comes from is native to Central and South America. Originally, chocolate was used as a ritualistic drink, sometime in the 1500s B.C, approximately 3,500 years ago. Over time, chocolate made its way to Europe through Spain. It spread throughout the European continent, and ironically made its way back to North America, when Spanish pilgrims sail to Florida.

The invention of cacao powder made chocolate much more readily available to the masses. In 1876 Daniel Peter, a Swish chocolatier working for Nestle, first had the idea to mix milk with the cacao powder. His invention would lead to the creation of solid milk chocolate we eat today.

Milk Vs. Dark

When it comes to chocolate, milk is undeniably sweeter than dark. That’s because milk chocolate is much higher in sugar. Both types of chocolate contain sugar, but dark chocolate contains more natural cocoa than milk. Chocolate itself contains a lot of minerals and antioxidants which can have a positive effect on heart health.

Most notably are the health effects of cocoa, which used in moderation has proven to be heart healthy and a good way to reduce blood pressure. There is a significant difference in cocoa levels between milk and dark chocolate. A cup of milk chocolate chips equates to 86 grams of sugar, more than double the daily recommendation.

The Sweet Choice

We know sugar has an addictive quality. The easy alternative to satisfy a craving would be to switch to a healthy moderation of dark chocolate. Moderation, as always, is key to a healthy diet. But life without chocolate, especially retirement without chocolate, doesn’t have to be the end result. The Council for Retirement Security’s goal is to help people make informed decisions when it comes to how much sugar they consume. Small changes can help you live your best retirement, and when it comes to chocolate, the best choice is dark chocolate.