It’s common knowledge that coffee, tea and energy drinks contain caffeine but less well-known that there is caffeine in chocolate too.
In fact, depending on the darkness and quality of the chocolate, there is quite a substantial amount of caffeine in chocolate.
The darker and purer the chocolate is, the more caffeine and theobromine (a stimulant closely related to caffeine) it contains – on average, a 50g bar of dark/raw chocolate contains the caffeine equivalent of a shot of espresso (about 50-65mg).
Conversely, the milkier the chocolate is, the less caffeine it contains (about half that of dark chocolate, as the cocoa mass/solids have been diluted with other ingredients). But milk chocolates are often loaded with another disruptive substance: refined sugar.
As white chocolate doesn't contain any cocoa mass/cocoa solids, it doesn't contain any caffeine.
Caffeine in Chocolate - Miracle Booster or Misery Maker
Cacao has been hailed for it’s antioxidant content and over the last decade chocolate, particularly dark or raw chocolate, has been widely praised as a beneficial superfood with mood-boosting effects.
However, more and more people are awakening to the fact that any feel-good effect chocolate offers is only temporary as it’s the stimulants, like caffeine, in chocolate that produce the fleeting feelings of happiness.
For many people the short-lived boost is followed by various negative consequences typically caused by caffeine, such as reduced quality of sleep, mood swings, anxiety, heart palpitations, tiredness, lethargy and/or headaches.
Caffeine in chocolate, just like refined sugar, can be addictive and highly disruptive to your body and mind, often leading to a vicious cycle of dependency and making you feel more miserable in the longer term.
Chocolate and the Effects of Caffeine
"If health is your goal, stay away from stimulants" - Brendan Brazier, former Ironman triathlete and author of the Thrive book series
Research has shown that caffeine increases the stress hormone cortisol and adrenaline in your body, and puts it in a fight or flight mode, similar to that experienced during acute stress.
It increases your heart rate, blood sugar (by freeing-up stored glucose) and insulin levels, and gives you a dopamine kick. These give you a short-term feeling of being energized, only to be followed by a low, once the effects wear off.
As time goes on, you’ll need more and more caffeine to feel any mood-lifting effects - and your body gets more and more stressed and fatigued.
Caffeine is known to exacerbate anxiety, irritability and mood swings and chronically elevated cortisol levels accelerate aging, cause weight gain, and predispose you to insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes.
To make matters worse, research has shown that caffeine deteriorates the quality of deep sleep, which is so important for both physical and mental health.
Note that even if your experience is that the caffeine in chocolate doesn’t keep you awake at night, research has shown that this stimulant diminishes the quality of deep sleep, so that it’s not so restorative.
Therefore, not only does caffeine stress your body and mind per se, but it also adds to the stress by negatively impacting the most important thing needed to recover from stress - sleep.
Treat Yourself Super
At Supertreats, it’s our mission to change treating for the better.
Our deliciously creamy carob chocolate bars taste just as yummy as chocolate, but are much better for you.
Instead of cacao, they’re made with caffeine free superfood carob and sweetened with low GI coconut sugar.
In addition to being caffeine free and refined sugar free, they're vegan, gluten free and soya free. They’re 100% natural, organic and ethically produced too, making them an ideal healthier treat for the whole family.
They're so silky smooth and indulgent, you won't believe they're not chocolate.
Eat well. Sleep well. Treat yourself super!