Vol.1, No.3

Caffeine in chocolate

On the average, we eat over ten pounds of chocolate per person per year. Many people think that chocolate should be a food group by itself.

Chocolate and caffeine
Photo Credit: Stasys Eidiejus
On the average, we eat over ten pounds of chocolate per person per year. Many people think that chocolate should be a food group by itself. They feel that life without chocolate would be unbearable. They crave chocolate ice cream, hot chocolate and chocolate cake. Depression descends if they do not have at least a couple of chocolate bon bons once a week. Does caffeine have anything to do with this?

Caffeine is an addictive stimulant, part of the methylxanthine group. Chocolate does have caffeine in it. However, scientists who have studied chocolate and chocolate cravings feel that there is not enough caffeine in chocolate to label it "addictive."

So how much caffeine is actually in a piece of chocolate? The amount will vary according to the manufacturer, but on the average, one ounce of dark chocolate contains roughly twenty milligrams of caffeine. One ounce of milk chocolate contains about six milligrams of caffeine. Many people do not consider white chocolate to be a true chocolate because it does not include chocolate liquor. White chocolate only contains trace amounts of caffeine, if any.

How does chocolate compare with other foods and drinks that have caffeine? A twelve ounce can of Coca Cola Classic contains slightly over thirty-four milligrams of caffeine. Drinking a twelve ounce serving of Sunkist Orange soda will give you forty-two milligrams. Diet Coke contains a little more caffeine, almost forty-seven milligrams per twelve ounce serving. So far, both light and dark chocolate remain far behind, and we have not even gotten to the heavy stuff yet. Eight ounces of brewed coffee can contain up to one hundred and thirty-five milligrams of caffeine. On a per ounce basis, chocolate has a lot less caffeine than other "addictive" foods and drinks.

So what attracts chocolate lovers to chocolate if not the caffeine? It is something that scientists cannot quantify. Chocolate apparently is popular because of cultural influences, and probably more importantly to us true chocolate lovers, the sensuality of eating the treat. I wonder if the scientists knew that the ancient Aztecs considered chocolate to be an aphrodisiac. In any case, there is something about chocolate and the way that it "melts" as you eat it that cannot be matched by any other sweet. Also, the way that a chocolate covering tastes in contrast to the strawberry that it surrounds cannot be beat. A good piece of fudge can send someone into chocolate Nirvana.

So, if you enjoy chocolate, you do not need to be worried about its caffeine content unless caffeine in an off itself is a problem for you. And, there is chocolate on the market that has had its caffeine removed. Just so that you know, there are some positive things that you can tell yourself about chocolate as you are indulging. For example, chocolate includes vitamins A1, B1, C, D, and E. A one ounce piece of cheddar cheese contains more cholesterol than a 1.65 ounce bar of chocolate. Chocolate also has minerals including potassium, calcium, and iron. Dark chocolate is high in chromium. Actually, who cares? May I have another piece, please?