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Money latest: Holiday hack for cheaper internet abroad; the healthiest chocolate you can buy



It can be hard to balance eating well without spending a lot.

In this series, we try to find the healthiest options in the supermarket for the best value – and have enlisted the help of Sunna Van Kampen, founder of Tonic Health, who went viral on social media for reviewing food in the search of healthier choices.

In this series we don’t try to find the outright healthiest option, but help you get better nutritional value for as little money as possible.

Today we’re looking at chocolate – and why, before sugar and dairy is added, it’s a superfood, in Sunna’s view. 

A superfood is anything with a very high “nutritional density” – or lots of nutrients for few calories. 

Superfoods need a high concentration of antioxidants – molecules which neutralise unstable molecules that can harm your cells.

You can get antioxidants by purchasing expensive “greens” powders, but Sunna says plenty of supermarket options can be classified as “superfood”.

“Chocolate is not unhealthy, it is actually a superfood – it’s the sugar we added to it that is the problem,” he says.

“Chocolate in the supermarkets tends to come in at only £27.50/kg, which is almost half the price of your cheapest greens powder.” 

Sunna points out that cacao, from which chocolate is made, is in its own right a superfood and has more antioxidants than blueberries, acai berries and cranberries – well-known superfoods. 

“Cacao actually has more than 40x the antioxidants of blueberries in its raw form,” he says. 

But, as he says, the added sugar is where the problems come in. 

Sunna’s guide to buying chocolate

Sunna recommends picking chocolate that contains a high proportion of cocoa solids – which brings down the sugar content. 

Here’s how the different kinds of chocolate stack up:

  • Milk – 25% cocoa solids, 54g of sugar per 100g.
  • Dark – 47% cocoa solids, 49g of sugar per 100g.
  • 70% dark – 70% cocoa solids, 29g of sugar per 100g
  • 85% dark – 85% cocoa solids, 15g of sugar per 100g
  • 90% dark – 90% cocoa solids, 7g of sugar per 100g

“A typical milk chocolate only contains 25% cacao solids, and the first two ingredients are actually milk and sugar,” Sunna says. 

“For chocolate to be a superfood, it has to be dark chocolate – at a minimum of 70% dark ideally.”

A couple of pieces after dinner each night means you’ll be consuming 200g of superfood chocolate a week for £5.50.

“If you’re a milk chocolate fan, don’t fret,” Sunna says. “It is possible to retrain your taste buds in just 10 days to get the superfood benefits of 70% and above.”

That might sound easier said than done, but Sunna says the trick is to start with the lower percentages and work your way up to the higher ones. 

“Get to a level you are comfortable with and then make sure you have a piece of chocolate every night for 10 days straight,” he says. 

“The more you train the taste buds, the less sugar you consume.”

The switch from milk chocolate to 70% dark will save you 2.6kg of sugar a year, while working your way up to 90% will save you more than 4.8kg of sugar a year (assuming 200g consumption per week). 

“Small chocolate changes – and a bit of work to train your tastebuds – can lead to huge sugar savings that are worth it not just for the reduction in sugar, but also the increase in antioxidants,” Sunna concludes. 

Read more from this series… 

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