Milk chocolate nutrition vs cacao nutrition

Milk Chocolate Nutrition Vs Cacao Nutrition for Weight Loss and Health

By Danny Webber
Danny Webber is a SENr registered practitioner, an ISAK certified Anthropometrist and a UK Anti-Doping accredited adviser.
| Updated on July 12, 2023

I wanted to write this blog because I was amazed at the claims on the packaging of some cacao nibs I bought in Lidl. It was claimed that organic cacao is so healthy it is basically guilt-free and even calorie-free. Yes, apparently so! Read the small print below…

I then compared this to milk chocolate chips and demonstrated that this was certainly not the case, and was in fact HIGHER in calories than the milk chocolate. Madness. See below!

organic cacao and milk chocolate

Nutrition Poll: Cacao Vs Milk Chocolate Nutrition

So I reached out to the world of Instagram to get people’s thoughts on which is better for 1. weight loss and 2. health. Instagram is great for quick snippets of things but I thought a blog (as I don’t get a chance to write many) would be a good idea.

Anyway, these were the results of my Instagram poll:

milk chocolate vs cacao - weight loss

which is healthy - milk chocolate vs cacao

So milk chocolate is voted as the better option for both weight loss and health. But is that actually true? The answer is yes and no, with shades of grey (as with everything in nutrition – context!)

Milk Chocolate Nutrition is Better for Weight Loss

Yes, milk chocolate is a better product for weight loss than cacao IF the same amount of each is eaten. Calories are the fundamental factor for weight loss and must therefore be in a NEGATIVE ENERGY BALANCE (calorie DEFICIT) to lose weight.

Let’s be fair though, neither milk chocolate nor cacao is actually any good for weight loss because they are so high in calories. I mean, come on, 550-650kcal per 100g? How many times have you (and I) sat and worked your way through a big bar of dairy milk?…

However on the flip side, how much dark chocolate can you eat in one go? Dark chocolate 70% cocoa and above is more bitter than milk chocolate and may curb your appetite quicker, meaning you eat less overall. If that helps you to stop eating so much chocolate then perhaps dark chocolate is better for weight loss, even though it’s higher in calories?

So gram for gram, milk chocolate prevails….just!

Cacao Nutrition is Healthier

According to the poll, milk chocolate is the healthier of the two.

I’m afraid that is not correct. Just because it is lower in calories does not make it healthier. This is where a lot of confusion comes into nutrition (and believing a lot of the nonsense that is promoted on social media).

Look at the ingredients & nutritional values of each product here:

organic cacao nutritional values

milk chocolate nutritional value

The cacao nibs are a natural single ingredient with traces of minerals that do offer health benefits, i.e. heart and cardiovascular health, muscle and bone, and immune function.

Also, Learn about what foods help repair muscle damage.

Is Milk Chocolate Good for You?

Milk chocolate offers zero health benefits. It is heavily processed with minimal cocoa. Anything with sugar as the first ingredient is never good.

So overall, cacao is the healthier option, but consuming large quantities of it which results in weight gain (as with most things), does not create a healthy and balanced diet.

Take home message:

If you want to eat healthier then focus on minimally processed foods, just be careful as some can be very high in calories – just eat less if you’re conscious of your weight. Just because something is healthy doesn’t mean you can eat loads of it.

If you enjoy milk chocolate and are trying to lose weight, then you still can eat it, just have smaller amounts and enjoy it in moderation, as part of a nutritious and balanced diet. This goes with any of your favourite treats, be it alcohol or fried chicken.


Is chocolate milk healthy?

Chocolate (or any flavored) milk is not something somebody, especially children, should be drinking every day as it can be quite high in added sugars, but milk itself is very healthy. However, you can make it yourself at home which will be a much healthier option than a shop-bought drink.

How much nutrition is in chocolate milk?

A pint of low-fat chocolate milk has 20g protein, which is great, but comes with 50g sugar, of which 25g are added sugars, which is not great! It will still have some of the healthy benefits of milk such as calcium, iodine, and B vitamins, but this is outweighed by the high sugar content.

Is chocolate milk good for recovery?

A pint of chocolate milk after intense prolonged exercise or a race/match is a great recovery option because it provides an ideal ratio of protein to carbohydrates to repair damaged muscles and quickly replenish muscle glycogen stores. The natural electrolytes in milk also aid rehydration.

Does cacao help you lose weight?

Not directly, no. But as part of a balanced and calorie-controlled diet, cacao can be enjoyed whilst attempting to lose weight.

Which type of chocolate is the healthiest?

High percentage dark chocolate above 85% offers greater mineral and antioxidant properties and is lower in sugar than confectionary milk and white chocolate, however, there is hardly any difference in calories between them.

Can I eat chocolate and still lose weight?

Yes, so long as it is part of a calorie-controlled diet creating an energy deficit.

Is it OK to eat cacao every day?

Yes, so long as you are eating it in sensible portions and not neglecting all the other healthy daily nutrients like fruit and vegetables your body needs every day.

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