White chocolate is a concoction of milk, sugar and cocoa butter. It doesn’t contain any solid cocoa and therefore is often not regarded as chocolate at all. The ingredients alone show, that there is not much health benefit in the consumption of white chocolate. The only advantage over dark chocolate is, that white chocolate does no contain theobromine. Theobromine is a methylxanthine of the same class as caffeine but does not stimulate the nervous system. Some people may be allergic to theobromine which can be quite dangerous to dogs, but rarely to humans.
Dark chocolate on the other hand, is actually good for your health. It contains a high level of flavonoids which are anti oxidants. As is well known, anti oxidants help fight free radicals, lower blood pressure and cholesterol. In addition, dark chocolate stimulates the production of endorphines which are responsible for the ‘feel good’ factor. Having said that, it’s still a high calorie and high fat food, so it should remain a treat for the weight conscious. As for health benefits, those of dark chocolate certainly outweigh white chocolate.
Yogurt is basically produced by fermentation of milk. It has been known as food for about 4500 years and the early process of fermentation probably occurred naturally. Yogurt is rich in protein, calcium, riboflavin, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12. Vitamin B6 helps metabolism and vitamin B12 is essential for the brain as well as the nervous system and the formation of blood cells. Yogurt also helps with gastrointestinal conditions and can prevent diarrhea.
Store bought yogurt comes in three varieties: no-fat, low-fat and whole. About 200gr of no-fat yogurt contain approx. 110 calories, 5mg of cholesterol, 16gr of carbohydrates and 510 gr. of potassium. There is also soy yogurt available for the lactose allergic. All the above values refer to white yogurt.
However, every supermarket offers a wide range of fruit flavored yogurts or brands containing pieces of fruit. What are the health befits of white yogurt over ‘colored’ ones? Yogurt is an important ingredient in any healthy and weight conscious diet, not least because of its digestive qualities. Color in yogurt is produced by artificial food color ( often called carmine for pink, in the ingredients list) or else by processed fruit juice. More importantly, even brands labeled ‘light’ contain HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) which sweetens the yogurt and can pile on the calories. Of necessity, colored yogurt has more additives than white yogurt and it’s imperative to study the contents label very carefully. Much of the value has been taken out during processing and is later added on by additives.
Clearly, the health benefits of white yogurt over colored yogurt prevail. It’s much better to add honey or cut up fresh fruit to a store bought white yogurt or even make yogurt at home. Adding fruit can produce flavor which can’t even be bought in a store, like halved grapes which are not only delicious but provide additional benefits to white yogurt.
White fruit: Banana, Coconut, Lychee
Although a nut rather than a fruit, the coconut belongs here because of its white flesh. Coconut is one of the most complex nutrients known and not in vain is called ‘the tree of life’ in some parts of the world. Coconut meat is rich in protein and such minerals as iron, phosporus and zinc. It does however conatin a high level of saturated fat and it’s hotly discussed if the particular coconut fat found in the meat is good or bad. Coconut oil however is rich in medium chain fatty acids (MCFA) which have no negative effect on cholesterol and help protect against heart disease. Eating and chewing a wedge of coconut meat is certainly beneficial and the danger of overdoing it is minimal as it is very filling.
Bananas are a great source of potassium. In addition, it’s the only fruit which can be eaten by stomach ulcer sufferers. Banana is good for the diet, because it does not contain fat, cholesterol or sodium.
Another white fruit are lychees. They are a sweet tropical fruit grown mostly in East Asia. The health benefits of lychees are many. To name but a few: the fruit contains a high level of vitaminC, about 40% more than oranges. It’s another source of potassium and for many more vitamins and minerals. Lychees help increase body energy and regulate the intestinal system. Given that 100gr provide about 80 calories lychees are suitable for a weight controlling diet.
This post is part of the series: “White” Foods – Genuine Health Benefits of just Myth?
- “White” Foods – Genuine Health Benefits or just Myth?
- “White Foods” – What Can White Foods Offer You Nutritionally?
- “White Foods” -Comparing Light Foods to Dark Foods