FEB 14, 2017 5:37 AM PST

The Dark Side or the Light Side?


It's Valentine's Day and it's all about the chemistry right? Whether you're single or paired up, it's still about the chocolate however. Which is better though? Creamy, lighter milk chocolate or rich, flavorful dark chocolate?Chemistry is part of that answer as well. The levels of cocao in the sweet treat of chocolate anything is what determines light or dark. Cocao is the term candy makers use to determine how much of the cocoa plant is actually in the final product and it's higher in dark chocolate. Some claim that dark chocolate is an aphrodisiac, with the romance factor increasing with the cocao percentage. Science doesn't bear this out sadly, since the tiny amounts of phenylethylamine it contains get metabolized by the body before making it to the brain. Polyphenols and flavonals are significant however in fighting heart disease and free radicals with their antioxidant properties and these are found in higher amounts in dark chocolate.

But milk chocolate is no slouch. Increased casein proteins and butterfat makes milk chocolate creamy good, with a smooth texture that is hard to resist. What about flavor? Some of that is subjective, especially on Valentine's Day, when the heart wants what it wants. Different strains of the cocoa plant and how the beans are processed determine whether the flavor is strong, with hits of bitterness or smoother and sweet when sugar and other ingredients are added. It's an age-old question and while Valentine's Day is supposed to be about a different kind of chemistry, it's good know the complexity of this treat. Also, pro tip: Single or attached, you should know that on February 15th, all the delicious chocolate treats (milk and dark) we've seen in the store will be 50% off. Win-win!
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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