It’s that time of year again. The holidays are upon us, and we must purchase gifts for friends and family. Should we get something practical or something yummy? Many times I do both. But then begins determining, what kind of treat do we get? Well, they say you can’t go wrong with chocolate. Only now you have to figure whether to get milk chocolate or dark chocolate. Dang, gift-giving can be difficult! Especially when the chasm between the two chocolates is so huge.
Since the mid-17th century, the debate between dark chocolate and milk chocolate has raged on and on. Opinions are as strong as those of politics. Each voice crying for their choice to be dominant. For this reason, I have decided to silence the argument once and for all.
Despite what my 13-year-old daughter says, dark chocolate is better; better because it contains more of the flavonoids, a special class of antioxidants found in the original cocoa bean. Milk chocolate is further refined and contains less of the original plant. Oregon State University defines Flavonoids as being a large family of compounds synthesized by plants that have a common chemical structure (Fig 1).
Simply put, milk chocolate is not nearly as good for you as dark chocolate is. This is because milk chocolate contains less antioxidants. An antioxidant is a molecule that inhibits the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction involving the loss of electrons which can produce free radicals. In turn, these radicals can start chain reactions. When the chain reaction occurs in a cell, it can cause damage or death to the cell. [Sies H (Mar 1997). “Oxidative stress: oxidants and antioxidants”. Experimental Physiology 82 (2): 291–5.]
I will be the first to tell you that I am not always right, and this might be the first time I can claim superiority over my daughter since she was five. I must now declare the rivalry of the chocolates over. I am truly sorry if your side lost. Stay tuned for when I tackle the battle of “Pancakes vs. French Toast.”