Product review: Comparing dark, dairy, white Whittaker’s chocolate

Not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to nutrition. (file photo)

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Not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to nutrition. (file photo)

REVIEW: Chocolate, as humans we are wired to love it. But like many food products over the years chocolate has become confusing.

Some people say eat dark chocolate but not white, others say sugar is evil so don’t eat any chocolate, ever. Harsh.

Like craft beer and coffee, there is an artisan chocolate movement with many brands involved from bean to bar.

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But let’s look at Whittaker’s as it’s a well-known and trusted New Zealand brand.

Before we go any further, think of the flavour difference between intense dark and white chocolate, one is bitter and one is sweet.

Let’s compare the sugar and fat content of the darkest Whittaker’s chocolate to their dairy milk and white chocolate.

The Ghana intense dark block is 92 per cent cocoa solids, which they identify as cocoa mass and cocoa butter.

Their smooth milk chocolate is 33 per cent cocoa solids, only a tad more than their white chocolate, which contains 28 per cent cocoa solids.

These percentages are important as they highlight which chocolate is more likely to have other ingredients added.

Interestingly, all three blocks are made up of four ingredients – sugar, cocoa solids, vanilla flavour and milk powder. The only exception is the dark block which doesn’t contain milk powder.

When reading the label, carbohydrates are usually naturally occurring whereas the sugar, unless from lactose or fructose, has been added.

Considering the dairy milk and white chocolate contain milk powder, the lactose present will be lumped in with the added sugar on the label.

Let’s compare the per 100g columns and note the dark block is one of Whittaker’s speciality blocks so comes in 100g while the other two are 250g.

Per 100g the dark chocolate has 47g of total fat and 33.6g of total carbohydrates, of which 6.4g is added sugar.

One teaspoon of sugar weighs around 4g, so the entire 100g block has around 1.5 teaspoons of sugar.

Although it has a high fat content, it is under 10g/100g of added sugar, making it a low sugar product.

Per 100g their dairy milk contains 35.6g of total fat and 51.8g of carbohydrates, of which 44.7g is added sugar. So, the dairy milk has less total fat but is nearly half sugar.

Per 100g the white chocolate contains 31.4g of total fat and 56.7g of total carbohydrates of which 56g is added sugar.

That’s 14 teaspoons of sugar per 100g versus the 1.5 teaspoons of dark chocolate, and a total of 35 teaspoons per block. Quite the difference.

So, it’s clear the Ghana intense dark chocolate has a lot less sugar compared to its dairy milk and white chocolate friends.

I know a few die-hard white chocolate fans not willing to go over to the dark side, so whichever chocolate you choose enjoy it but be present and stop when you’re satisfied.

If you generally put in nutritious foods and listen to your body, you might find one or two pieces is enough.

Maggie Radich is a NZ Registered Dietitian. This content is brought to you by New Plymouth Nutrition

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