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You Can't Judge a Dark Chocolate Bar by Its Label, According to Tests by ConsumerLab.com

Amounts of Cocoa Flavanols Vary Widely Among Popular Brands of Chocolate
White Plains, New York, November 25, 2014 — Which dark chocolates provide the most cocoa flavanols — natural antioxidants associated with better blood flow and memory? Recent tests by ConsumerLab.com of seven popular dark chocolate bars claiming to be 45% to 100% cocoa (or cacao) found that a typical 40 gram serving provided from 136 mg to as much as 592 mg of flavanols. Surprisingly, the "% cocoa" on labels was not a good indicator of flavanol content. Some bars claiming 85% or 90% cocoa, for example, had lower amounts of flavanols than those claiming 72%.

"Two hundred milligrams of cocoa flavanols per day is associated with cardiovascular benefits," said Tod Cooperman, M.D., President of ConsumerLab.com. "Depending on the bar you buy, you can get this amount from eating as little as 13.5 grams of dark chocolate, or as much as 59 grams— potentially quadrupling your intake of calories. The new test results show which dark chocolates are richest in flavanols, so you can get flavanols with the fewest calories and at the best price." ConsumerLab.com tested products from Baker's, Endangered Species, Ghirardelli, Green & Black's, Hershey's, Lindt, and Trader Joe's. The products were also evaluated for taste.

Fortunately, none of the dark chocolates exceeded contamination limits for heavy metals. In contrast, most cocoa powders have been found by ConsumerLab.com to be contaminated with cadmium, a kidney toxin, or lead.

Test results and comparisons for the seven dark chocolate bars, nine cocoa powders or nibs, and five cocoa-based pills or liquids are found online in ConsumerLab.com's Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolates, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review.

ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. Membership to ConsumerLab.com is available online, providing immediate access to independent reviews of more than 1,000 products. The company is privately held and based in Westchester, New York. It has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. ConsumerLab.com is affiliated with PharmacyChecker.com, an evaluator of online pharmacies, and MedicareDrugPlans.com, which reviews and rates Medicare Part D plans.