You may be surprised about what this guilty pleasure can do for you

 

Consumer Reports 

By Sari Harrar 

Last updated: December 20, 2016 You've probably heard about the benefits of dark chocolate. But if milk chocolate is your indulgence of choice this holiday season, you may be wondering whether it delivers the same perks.

 Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, antioxidant compounds—also found in tea and wine—that may help protect against heart disease. 

Flavonoids are generally higher in dark chocolate, but milk chocolate may pack a health punch, too. 

In an analysis of studies involving 20,951 people, researchers at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland suggested that those who ate the most chocolate over an average of 11.3 years (most of it milk chocolate) had a lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke than those who ate the least or none at all. 

However, the researchers were quick to point out that healthier people may simply eat more chocolate. 

Whether you're a milk or dark chocolate fan, go easy. A 1.55-ounce bar of milk chocolate has 235 calories, 13 grams of fat, and 22 grams of sugars. The same amount of 70 percent dark chocolate has 263 calories, 12 grams of fat, and 11 grams of sugars. 

One benefit dark chocolate has over milk: fiber. You get almost 5 grams in a 1.55-ounce bar—compared with 1.5 grams in the same serving of milk chocolate.  Sari Harrar 

Sari Harrar is an award-winning freelance journalist and regular contributor to Consumer Reports On Health and Consumer Reports on topics of health, medicine, and science. She is a recipient of a CASE/Harvard Medical School Journalism Fellowship and the founding writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer's Kid's Health blog.