The history of chocolate is long and rich. Over the course of time, what started as a bitter beverage in Mesoamerica has turned into one of the most popular food commodities in the world. Chocolate has a leading role in holiday celebrations and is a gift many enjoy receiving. While there’s many types of chocolate, the introduction of dairy changed the game and milk chocolate continues to be a favorite.
A Brief History of Chocolate
From what historians can gather, originally ancient civilizations in Mesoamerica brewed cacao beans with water to create a bitter drink. The drink was believed to have magical properties and was used for sacred rituals.
After Europeans discovered the Americas, they brought this chocolate beverage back to Europe and sweetened it with honey or sugar cane. They also started making it with milk instead of water. By the 17th century this hot, chocolate beverage was now popular all across Europe. Chocolate wasn’t made into a solid until the 1800s, but once it was, it took off. It wasn’t long before Cadbury began marketing boxes of chocolates in England.
Introducing Milk Chocolate
In the late 1800s dried milk powder was added to chocolate to create milk chocolate, but it wasn’t until several years later that milk chocolate came to market. Nestlé brought it to the mass market with its original milk chocolate bar.
Today, milk chocolate is the most common eating chocolate in the US, loved for its creamy texture. While dark chocolate usually gets the most credibility for having some health benefits— from relieving stress to reducing blood pressure—milk chocolate has a few benefits of its own. Milk chocolate is higher in calcium, it may be good for your heart, and it improves cognitive function.
How Much Milk is in Chocolate
While eating chocolate isn’t the same as drinking a glass of milk, it does contain dairy and therefore calcium and other nutrients. A 1.5-ounce serving of milk chocolate has 83 milligrams of calcium, as well as small amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin K. Here’s a look at how much milk is in chocolate:
- Milk chocolate is made with some form of milk – powdered, liquid or condensed – and it accounts for at least 12 percent in order to be considered milk chocolate.
- White chocolate is made of sugar, milk, cocoa butter (and sometimes vanilla), and it is made up of at least 14 percent milk.
- Dark chocolate is made by adding fat and sugar to cocoa, and it usually doesn’t contain milk.
Milk & Chocolate, Together
Milk and chocolate are a pairing that go way back. To this day, they continue to find themselves intermixed from milk chocolate to hot chocolate to chocolate milk, and more. These sweet treats still offer nutritional value, especially chocolate milk. Flavored milk has all of the same nutrient properties as regular milk including 8 grams of protein and 9 essential nutrients in every glass. Chocolate milk is a great way to increase nutrient intake for children and for post-workout recovery in adults.
Whether you prefer drinking it or eating it, milk chocolate offers some nutritional value and health benefits, along with being delicious. So go ahead, indulge a little.