Chocolate adds carbohydrates to your diet, mainly in the form of sugar. The exact amount of carbs depends on your chocolate preference. Milk chocolate, for example, tends to have a higher percentage of carbohydrates than dark chocolate. If you're concerned about your carbohydrate intake or are following a regimented diet plan, portion out your sweet treat ahead of time and put the rest of the bar in a hiding spot. You'll probably be less likely to overindulge if part of the bar is out of sight.
Types of Carbs
Chocolate is rich in sugar, a type of simple carbohydrate. Sugar breaks down rapidly, converting directly into glucose with the help of enzymes in your small intestine. Intestinal walls pick up glucose, allowing your bloodstream to quickly absorb it. Since this process happens rather quickly, your blood sugar suddenly rises, giving you a sugar-rush feeling. Chocolate also has a small amount of fiber, a complex carbohydrate. Although fiber is a necessary component of healthy digestion and regular bowel movements, it does not convert into glucose nor does it add calories to your diet.
One ounce of milk chocolate provides 150 total calories. Nearly 45 percent of the calories in milk chocolate come from carbohydrates. This amounts to roughly 65 calories from carbohydrates or about 16 grams of carbs per 1 ounce, since carbohydrates, with the exception of fiber, have 4 calories per gram. One ounce of milk chocolate also has a 0.5 gram of fiber; however, milk chocolate is full of sugar and fat and should not be a primary source of fiber in your diet.
One ounce of 70- to 85-percent cacao dark chocolate contains 170 calories and almost one-third come from carbs. You'll get about 13 grams of carbohydrates, amounting to 52 calories, from 1 ounce of dark chocolate. If you prefer dark chocolate that is 60 to 69 percent cacao solids, you'll wind up consuming a total of about 165 calories per 1-ounce serving. This type of dark chocolate has 15 grams of carbohydrates, amounting to 60 calories from carbs, in an ounce of chocolate. Because dark chocolate has more cacao solids, it is higher in fiber than milk chocolate. One ounce of dark 70- to 85-percent cacao solids chocolate offers as much as 3 grams of fiber, while 60- to 69-percent cacao solids dark chocolate provides nearly 2.5 grams.
Because carbohydrates convert to glucose -- your body's main source of energy -- you need a high percentage of carbs each day. Your diet should consist of 45 to 65 percent carbohydrates, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For a 2,000-calorie diet, you need 225 to 325 grams per day, as an example. Fiber has a separate recommendation of 14 grams per every 1,000 calories you consume. Based on a 2,000-calorie diet, you'll need 28 grams of daily fiber. Chocolate is not the healthiest option to help you meet your carb and fiber intake. Ideally, the majority of your carbs and fiber should come from whole-grain foods, vegetables, potatoes, beans, legumes and other minimally processed foods.
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Candies, Symphony Milk Chocolate Bar
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Chocolate, Dark, 70-85% Cacao Solids
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Carbohydrates
- National Digestive Diseases Information Clearinghouse: Your Digestive System and How It Works
- USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: Chocolate, Dark, 60-69% Cacao Solids
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.