Chocolate’s popularity is undeniable, we all love chocolate and many of us eat it every day or at least many times a week. But like they say, life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you are going to get. In the same way there are many fascinating facts about chocolate most people don’t know about. It is clear you don’t need to know about chocolate in order to enjoy eating it, but maybe these 15 interesting and surprising facts found below will help you at least start interesting points of conversations and obviously expand your knowledge on chocolate. So keep calm and eat chocolate while you read these!
Chocolate was once used as currency
This goes back more than 2,500 years ago in Central America, where the Aztec and Mayan civilizations believed that chocolate was food of the gods. This is why not only did they use it for ceremonies to honor the gods but also as a type of currency. Yes, instead of carrying coins in their pockets they carried cacao beans to trade services or goods. They say that chocolate could pretty much buy anything from a rabbit to a prostitute! And in order to buy a slave you needed 100 cacao beans! Generally only rich people would actually drink chocolate on a regular basis, because you can imagine that drinking your money can get a bit expensive!
Americans eat almost half of the world’s chocolate
The average American consumes 10 pounds of chocolate per year and all Americans together eat 2.8 billion pounds of candy every year and half of it’s chocolate! Yes, that is too much chocolate! Don’t worry; Europeans consume somewhat around the same (about 40% of the world’s chocolate.
Chocolate can be used as a mild-anti depressant
Consumption of chocolate can have an effect in the way people feel. Since chocolate causes endocrine glands to secrete hormones that affect our feelings and behavior by making us happy, it can act as a neutralizer of depression stress. Chocolate contains Theobromine, which causes mood-elevating effects and also contains Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, which increases Serotonin. Serotonin is involved in regulating moods! And also a cool fact is that the smell of chocolate produces theta brain waves, which produce relaxation. Eat up!
M&M’s were created for soldiers in the 40’s so they could eat chocolate without it melting in their hands.
Don’t we all love M&M’s? Did you know about their wartime origins? Apparently back then, chocolate sales would go down during summertime due to the lack of air conditioning until the owner of Mars Inc. decided to create a product that would resist the high temperatures and not melt. Not only that but M&M’s real success happened when these started to be made especially for the US military service. Soldiers loved M&M’s because it wouldn’t melt in their hands rather in their mouths! It was such an innovation that M&M’s slogan became “The milk chocolate melts in your mouth – not in your hand.”
The creator of the chocolate chip cookie sold the recipe to Nestle in exchange for a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.
Ruth Wakefield invented the Toll House brand of chocolate chips. These chocolate chip cookies became so popular that Nestle bittersweet chocolate sales increased substantially. Therefore Andrew Nestle made a deal with Wakefield that Nestle would print the Toll House recipe on the cookies packaging and Wakefield would receive a lifetime supply of Nestle chocolate.
Dark chocolate reduces the risk of heart disease by one third.
Eating chocolate everyday may reduce the risk of heart disease by one third! This is due to the fact that dark chocolate contains a bunch of antioxidants that help the cardiovascular system by decreasing blood pressure. How come? Dark chocolate widens your arteries and helps healthy blood flow allowing the prevention of plaque buildup that may block your arteries. Chocolate is cheaper than doctor’s appointments, and you don’t even need to make one.
White chocolate isn’t technically chocolate, as it contains no cocoa solids or cocoa liquor.
I know, right? Such a disappointment! Chocolate products are made with a range of products such as chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, and cocoa solids among other components. The proportions of these determine the type of chocolate, whether it’s dark, milk, semisweet etc. So white chocolate is not usually in the list because they lack two of the key ingredients being cocoa liquor and cocoa solids. But hey, not all is bad; one of the advantages of white chocolate is that because it is missing these two ingredients, it lacks Theobromine and caffeine, which usually cause allergic reactions to some people. Moreover this alkaloid of the cocoa plant is what many dogs are allergic to in chocolate.
Women who eat chocolate have better sex lives than those who don’t.
A recent Italian study showed that chocolate eaters, especially women, have better sex lives than those who don’t. That is because chocolate contains a chemical so-called phenylethylamine. This chemical releases certain pleasure endorphins in the brain, which make people feel good. And although not scientifically proven many believe that chocolate is an aphrodisiac. Also, very interestingly this same chemical can help cure hangovers! So go get your stock of chocolate ready for those party nights!
Hershey founder canceled his reservation for the Titanic due to last minute business arrangements.
The man behind Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar and Kisses, chocolate mogul Milton Hershey, didn’t make it to the Titanic because he cancelled his reservation right before. He ended up sailing home on another ship (Amerika) that was departing earlier. Apparently this ship sent warnings to the Titanic that there was ice on the path. Anyway, did you know that Hershey’s is the oldest chocolate manufacturer in America and produces over one billion pounds of chocolate every year?
90% of the world’s chocolate is grown by small family farms in areas not bigger than 12 acres.
Cultivation of cocoa is a delicate process because trees are susceptible to the changing weather, diseases and insects. Unlike the large majority of industrialized agricultural business, cocoa comes from small family farms, with approximately 5 to 6 million farmers worldwide. These farms rely on old farming practices and have a limited amount of personnel and organizational control.
Chocolate can be deadly for dogs
Your dog probably begs you for some handouts everyday. But when it comes to sharing your favorite snacks with them, you better abstain from giving your dog some chocolate. Due to the chemical Theobromine found in chocolate, chocolate becomes toxic to a dog. It affects a dog’s central nervous system and cardiac muscles. Keep it away from them!
Chocolate inspired the invention of the Microwave
Percy Spence, a scientist who worked on WWII on radar technology and weapons, invented the Microwave. Spence was a big fan of chocolate and one day while working with a device called a magnetron he realized the chocolate in his pocket had melted. He put two and two together and understood that magnetrons might be able to heat up food very quickly. And that was the beginning of the microwave.
Chocolate is not really chocolate
Many chocolate brands make their products with a very tiny percentage of actual chocolate. So yeah, the chocolate you might be buying contains very little of it. According to the chocolate company Hershey, in America there is no standard for dark chocolate, however there are standards for milk chocolate and semisweet chocolate where the amount of chocolate liquor doesn’t get higher than 35% or 25% of cocoa butter. What’s the other 65 and 75%?
It is a myth that chocolate causes acne
The belief that chocolate will cause acne originated from poorly conducted studies over 40 years ago. But food does influence the health of your skin and appearance. Well, believe it or not, chocolate in its raw state actually has been proven to contain countless health benefits! Raw Cacao is full of Vitamin A, C, and E (which are essential skin nutrients) Chromium, healthy fats, and Zinc (good or skin repair). It also contains many anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. Doesn’t this sound like the perfect antidote for perfect skin? So why is there the belief that chocolate causes acne? The problem is that chocolate in the market today is fully processed; they add chemically altering fats destroying vitamin C and contain loads of sugar, flavorings and milk which are all inflammatory to your body. So it is not the chocolate that causes acne, but all the other crap they add to it to make it taste better and be more addictive. Get the good stuff! (Usually dark chocolate over 85% contains fewer additives).
Be careful with sugar free chocolate, apparently they will send you straight to the toilet.
You may think that by consuming sugar free chocolate you are cheating the system and saving calories. This is a mistake. First of all 85% dark chocolate is a better option to healthy eating (contains less sugar). And second, devouring sugar-free chocolates may cause you to lose control of your bowels. This is serious; people who make it know this! Workers at the factories are fully aware of this. Don’t eat it!