Can Vegans Eat Dark Chocolate?
Everyone, including vegans, likes chocolate. Many popular candy bars contain non-vegan ingredients that are not always ethically sourced, and corporations frequently slip dairy into these goods. But what about dark chocolate? Can vegans eat dark chocolate that is supposedly healthier than many other snacks?
Fortunately, there are a plethora of vegan-friendly chocolates available to satiate any chocolate lover’s sweet craving. Vegans do not have to give up sweets because they consume a plant-based diet.
Dark chocolate has a high proportion of cocoa and provides a rich, complex taste. Due to its high content of antioxidants, minimal sugar, and lack of dairy, it is also the healthiest and most vegan-friendly alternative snacks available.
Most of the time, dark chocolate does not include milk. Manufacturing milk and dark chocolate on the same machinery might result in milk residues and cross-contamination.
Specific additional components can also make a chocolate bar non-vegan, while others might be a bit more deceptive in their labeling.
This article will go through the ingredients in dark chocolate, deconstruct the non-vegan components, and offer a list of delicious vegan dark chocolate brands.
Hence, you will be well-informed whether you want to eat a vegan dark chocolate bar or include it in a vegan dark chocolate dish.
What is Dark Chocolate?
Dark chocolate is chocolate that has not had any milk added to it, and it usually has a more significant proportion of cocoa than milk chocolate.
Additionally, dark chocolate comes closer to the inherent bitterness of pure chocolate without compromising any of its sweetness. It is similar to black coffee in that you receive more of the authentic flavor.
Chocolate has a long and illustrious past. It all started in Central America when the Aztecs sipped a bitter hot chocolate with various spices. The cacao tree grows naturally near the equator. The Mesoamericans were the first to cultivate and manufacture chocolate.
It started as a vegan product, and the traditional Mexican chocolate recipe just calls for roasted, ground cacao beans and sugar. However, after landing in Mesoamerica, Europeans found chocolate and carried some back with them on their journeys.
Chocolate began to alter from its basic formula during this period in history, and milk chocolate soon followed.
To distinguish from the now ubiquitous milk chocolate, dark chocolate is chocolate that has not had any milk solids added to it.
It is also a favorite for baking and melting in a variety of sweets because of its taste. Dark chocolate has a stronger, more authentic chocolate flavor than milk chocolate. It is free of milk and added sugar, giving most chocolate bars a richer chocolate flavor.
Is Dark Chocolate Vegan?
Yes, some dark chocolates are vegan. In chocolate bars and snacks, milk is one of the most popular components. Milk chocolate has the word “milk” in it, and white chocolate has the word “dairy” in it- well, white- for dairy, that is. At the same time, dark chocolate is easier to come by as a vegan.
Dark chocolate might be non-vegan if it contains additional animal-derived components. To improve the flavor and taste of dark chocolate, several companies use a balanced quantity of dairy.
While some vegans will be fine with this because the byproduct is only mentioned in passing and is unlikely to have entered the product, others will not. Hence, it all depends on the vegan individual.
Always read the label and look at the ingredients list. The vegan mark will appear on the package of most entirely vegan bars, and there will be no warning signs about additional substances potentially contaminating the bars in the manufacturing.
If you do not see the vegan label or warnings, double-check the ingredients and then make a selection based on your level of comfort.
What is Dark Chocolate Made of?
Dark chocolate consists of cocoa butter and cocoa solids. Moreover, dark chocolate is often known as unsweetened chocolate.
Cacao beans, sugar, an emulsifier such as soy lecithin to retain texture, and flavorings like vanilla are the essential components in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate with more cocoa and less sugar has a more bitter flavor, and a little quantity is considered a healthy snack.
Moreover, dark chocolate mainly does not include milk. There may be traces of milk due to cross-contamination during processing, as milk and dark chocolate are typically made on the same machinery.
Non-Vegan Ingredients in Dark Chocolate
When looking to purchase vegan dark chocolate, there are a few things to keep an eye out for. If you wish to eliminate animal products, check for the following components in your dark chocolate.
Most dark chocolate is vegan-friendly. Whereas certain substances added to dark chocolate may not be vegan. To add texture or taste to dark chocolate, chocolatiers frequently include non-vegan ingredients such as milk solids, lecithin, caramel, gelatin, or whey.
Milk is by far the most common animal-derived ingredient in chocolate. The most apparent additive to chocolate that renders the final product non-vegan is milk.
Dark chocolate may consist of cow’s milk in all mass-produced chocolate. Some tiny, independent confectioners use goat’s milk and sheep’s milk to make chocolate.
Lecithin is commonly found in mass-produced chocolates and works as a cheap filler. It also aids in chocolate flow and melting by lowering viscosity and preventing sugar crystallization.
While some lecithin is vegan, such as that derived from soy, sunflower oil, and a few other non-animal sources, the majority of commercially available lecithin comes from eggs. Lecithin can also derive from animal tissue in addition to being made from eggs.
Is Dark Chocolate Good For You?
Chocolate is one of the rare foods that tastes great and has a lot of health advantages.
Dark chocolate has 2-3 times the amount of flavanol-rich cocoa solids as milk chocolate. Flavanols are plant compounds found in cocoa that may help protect the heart. According to research, dark chocolate assists the endometrium in producing nitric oxide, which helps relax the blood vessels and enhance blood flow, decreasing blood pressure.
According to another Scottish study, consuming chocolate twice a week reduced the risk of calcified plaque in the arteries by 32%.
On the other hand, cocoa also helps elderly persons with moderate cognitive impairment enhance their cognitive performance. Dark chocolates normally include some sugar, although it is usually in small amounts, and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it contains.
The best health advantages may come from choosing dark chocolate and consuming small amounts of it. There is a lot of evidence that cocoa has a lot of health advantages, especially when it comes to heart disease prevention.
Is Dark Chocolate Gluten-Free?
A gluten-free diet is one that excludes gluten-containing foods. Controlling the signs and symptoms of celiac disease and other gluten-related medical disorders necessitates a gluten-free diet.
Dark chocolate is gluten-free. Numerous gluten-free dark chocolates are available made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar.
Many varieties of high-quality chocolate comprise just a few simple ingredients such as cacao beans, cocoa butter, and sugar, which are all gluten-free.
Gluten-free chocolate bars and chocolate chips are plentiful. If you are gluten-free, look for a gluten-free label and, just in case, double-check the ingredients list.
Is Dark Chocolate Keto?
During your keto diet, it is essential to eat dark chocolate in moderation while keeping a careful eye on your net carb intake. You can make it even safer by choosing chocolates with less sugar and more cocoa.
While 1 ounce of high-quality dark chocolate can be part of a ketogenic diet, a larger amount will most certainly surpass your daily allowance.
Keep track of your servings and pick dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content to stay below your carbohydrate allowance.
Despite being a tasty treat, dark chocolate has a low carb content compared to other forms of chocolate and sweets. To keep within your daily carb limits, make sure to purchase high-quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content.
Best Vegan Dark Chocolate Brands
The best vegan dark chocolate brands are listed below. These dark chocolate companies are all vegan-friendly since they do not include any animal-derived ingredients.
Theo is North America’s first Certified Organic and Fair Trade Fair for Life bean-to-bar chocolate business.
Furthermore, they are also one of the first of their caliber to be widely marketed. First in the United States, then in Canada. There are some milk chocolate goods, but Theo Dark Chocolate Bars have a large soy-free and vegan selection.
Theo is motivated by the concept that organic food is healthier for individuals and the environment and the purpose of helping farmers with fair trade standards. Moreover, their chocolate bars are delicious, and they provide a variety of vegan alternatives.
Enjoy Life is the number one allergy-friendly chocolate brand in the United States. It offers a wide range of vegan chocolate bars, baking chocolate, and vegan chocolate chip cookies, all of which are prepared in an allergy-friendly facility.
This vegan baking chocolate is free of 14 common allergens and in a dedicated nut-free and gluten-free facility.
On the other hand, Enjoy Life chocolate chips are free of peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, casein, soy, and egg, making them ideal for preparing delicious school-safe snacks.
Montezuma’s is a distinctive British brand. Helen and Simon, who met as attorneys and fell in love, were inspired to start Montezuma’s while camping on a cocoa farm in South America.
Vegans may enjoy all of their 100% cocoa bars (the ‘Absolute Black’ collection) as well as their 70%+ cocoa bars.
Absolute Black dark chocolate bars are vegan, vegetarian, and free-from-allergen-friendly. Additionally, all of the businesses’ chocolate bars come in biodegradable and environmentally friendly packaging.
This brand donates 10% of its annual net income to wildlife conservation activities. Moreover, the firm has created creamy oat milk-based chocolates to provide a wider range of vegan options.
With the exception of the Hazelnut Toffee and Caramel Sea Salt, all of its dark chocolate bars are vegan-friendly.
Ombar offers such a large selection of delectable vegan chocolate bars. Their bars are organic, vegan, fairtrade, gluten-free, contain no refined sugar, and come in a variety of flavors.
Ombar Chocolate bars only consist of natural ingredients. They are sweetened with coconut sugar, which is healthier than regular refined sugar.
In addition. Give Ombar a try if you are looking for chocolate beneficial for both you and the environment. The cacao bean is a significant component in their chocolate, which is considered a fantastic superfood that includes flavonoids.
Ombar has created Ombar Centres in an attempt to fill a niche in the vegan market. Ombar Centres is the first and only raw chocolate bar line with soft truffle fillings, and their latest raspberry bar has creamy freeze-dried raspberries and coconut-based fillers.
Seed and Bean earned a 100% ethical pass mark accreditation, blending pure cocoa beans into moments of pure delight.
Furthermore, it is a vegan dark chocolate company enthusiastic about innovation and natural flavors. It is a brand that makes milk chocolate in the same factory. Therefore its dark chocolate may include traces of milk.
Chocolate is undoubtedly on the top of most people’s lists of things they would not want to give up. It is also a meal that might be perplexing to people who are new to veganism or those who cater to someone who follows a plant-based diet.
Dark chocolate, which has a high proportion of cocoa, provides a rich, complex experience. Due to its high content of antioxidants, minimal sugar, and lack of dairy, it is also the healthiest and most vegan-friendly alternative available.
Additionally, dark chocolates, as plant-based foods, may help you live a healthier lifestyle by adding a lot of flavors and a divine sensation. You do not have to worry about eliminating dark chocolate from your diet now that you know it may be vegan.
Vegans should be aware that certain items are still made by companies that utilize animal byproducts in other products.
Hence, they should read labels and buy only what they are comfortable with. You may buy vegan chocolate that is certified or chocolate that has no trace of animal-derived ingredients on the label.