Crisps versus Chocolate

Last week Kathy (my wife), and I were back in Ireland. As other fathers/dads to be can testify pregnant women love snacks. So upon being picked up at the airport and starting the journey back to her parents house we had to stop at a petrol station to get some snacks for the journey. I don’t really eat crisps but my wife had bought me a pack that she said I must try. They were like the Irish version of ‘monster munch’. I have been writing lots of posts about dietary intake and as such was intrigued by the macros of said packet of crisps. what I found was quite surprising and may influence your future snacking decisions…

crispschoc

Standard packer of Crisps

45g bar of Milk Chocolate

Calories

170 240

Fats

10.4g 13.5g
8.2g monounsaturated, 1.3g polyunsaturated, 0.8g saturated

Carbohydrates

16.7g, ONLY 0.1g is sugar 25g, all of which are sugar

Protein

2g 3.8g

Looking at the table, it is clear to see that milk chocolate is much much higher in sugar and if you don’t know why this is less healthy then read this post. Milk chocolate is also higher in calories, which is not beneficial to those trying to restrict calories. Lastly, milk chocolate is higher in saturated fats and contains less of the fats that we want and need in our diet. On a positive, it has a higher portion of protein.

After finding this out I wondered whether dark chocolate (70% cocoa+) is much better? I constantly see dark chocolate sold as a super food in the media nowadays. If you are looking at the nutritional information then it appears to be similar to milk chocolate. In fact dark chocolate is slightly higher in calories (270 per 45g). However, dark chocolate is lower in sugar (10g per 45g compared to 25g) and higher in fibre than its milky counterpart. Dark chocolate is higher in fat BUT nearly a third of this is mono-unsaturated, which is excellent. The other huge difference, which is harder to find on the packaging and why dark chocolate is reported to be a super food is it’s vitamin and mineral content. 45g of dark chocolate contains over 25% of our daily recommendations for Iron and Magnesium as well as over 40% of our daily recommendations for Copper and Manganese. When this is compared to milk chocolate, which does not contain any more than 12% of our daily recommendations for any mineral or vitamin.


What to do with this information

  • Pick crisps over chocolate.
  • Pick high % dark chocolate over milk chocolate if you prefer chocolate.
  • Check packaging AND be aware that packaging can be misleading (watch out for my next post). Look at the serving size when looking at the nutritional information.
  • Crisps aren’t the worst food in the world. They are low in sugar and high in good fats so don’t beat yourself up for having a pack now and again.
  • Dark chocolate, in small amounts, is not that bad either. It contains high amounts of certain vitamins and minerals that are great for our body.

 

 

 

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