With Easter near, candy will be plentiful. Many candies are high potassium foods. Much of this comes from their cocoa content. Some are high potassium foods because of their nut or dried fruit content. They have the virtues of cocoa or their other high potassium component. They also have the vices of a high saturated fat content, high sugar content, and high caloric density. There are few other nutrient values associated. However, as an indulgence they can contribute to a favorable potassium to sodium ratio, and if only taken in small amounts, the downside will be minimal. You can also use them to teach dietary discipline to your children.
Those in the table that do not have cocoa or chocolate are white chocolate, sugar coated almonds, some types of praline, nougat, yogurt confectioners coating, and carob.
Although the table has only foods with good potassium to sodium ratios, the only entries that have a good quantity of potassium in a serving are those that have a serving size of 1 cup. One cup of chocolate chips, chocolate covered raisins, chocolate covered peanuts, yogurt confectioner's coating, or M&Ms is too much saturated fat and too little other nutritional value for the potassium gained. The saturated fat is more than half the total fat for each of the entries.
So, although the potassium to sodium ratio is good, the potassium to saturated fat or potassium to sugar ratio is poor, as is the ratio of potassium to other nutrients.
Understanding the composition of some of the mentioned candies is not straightforward. Praline has a variety of meanings depending on where you are from. In the US South, it is caramelized sugar with cream or buttermilk and a nut center. In Belgium it often means chocolate is added with a hard chocolate shell and a soft center or nut center. In many European countries it means any filled chocolate candy.
Carob is made from the pod of the fruit of the carob tree, a sweet and dark powder appearing like chocolate without the caffeine, antioxidants and theobromine of cocoa.
Nougat is traditionally from sugar &/or honey, roasted nuts and sometimes candied fruit. In the U.S., nougat has been changed from the traditional recipes, being a mixture of sucrose and corn syrup aerated with a whipping agent such as egg white or hydrolyzed soy. It may have vegetable fat and milk powder added. The favorable potassium ratio comes from the roasted nuts and honey.
White chocolate is a misleading name, since the only cocoa component is cocoa butter. To be called white chocolate, the cocoa butter has to be above a certain percentage. There are no cocoa solids and thus no antioxidants, theobromine, caffeine, flavonols, procyanids or any other of the favorable benefits of cocoa.
In the post immediately preceding this post, the advantage of unsweetened cocoa for flavoring various dishes was discussed. In future posts, the advantages of molasses and honey will be discussed. Most of the healthful aspects of the foods in this table can be obtained from cocoa, nuts, fruit, molasses or honey without the unfavorable health effects of saturated fat, high caloric density, or high unbound sugar content. Such foods should be preferred. Nonetheless, in small amounts, these candies can add to your potassium intake, improve your potassium to sodium ratio, and have minimal adverse effects.
The weights for the potassium and sodium are milligrams. The potassium and sodium values given are for 100 grams of food.
As usual, K is potassium, and Na is sodium.
Except for the potassium to sodium ratio (which we calculated), the source of data is: USDA National Nutrient Database Standard Reference – Release 22.
|ALMOND JOY BITES||306||39||7.8|
|CHOC COVERED,CARAMEL W/NUTS||445||24||18.5|
|CANDIES,CHOC COVERED,DIETETIC OR LO CAL||606||112||5.4|
|DK CHOC COATD COFFEE BNS||342||25||13.7|
|HERSHEY,KIT KAT BIG KAT BAR||294||64||4.6|
|HERSHEY'S MILK CHOC W/ ALMOND BITES||471||74||6.4|
|KIT KAT WAFER BAR||231||54||4.3|
|MARS SNACKFOOD US,M&M'S ALMOND CHOC CANDIES||381||45||8.5|
|MARS SNACKFOOD US,M&M'S MILK CHOC CANDIES||261||61||4.3|
|MARS SNACKFOOD US,M&M'S PNUT CHOC CANDIES||347||50||6.9|
|MILK CHOC COATD COFFEE BNS||413||70||5.9|
|MILK CHOC COATD PNUTS||502||41||12.2|
|MILK CHOC COATD RAISINS||514||36||14.3|
|CANDIES,MILK CHOC,W/RICE CRL||370||86||4.3|
|MR. GOODBAR CHOC BAR||394||41||9.6|
|NESTLE,GOOBERS CHOC COVERED PNUTS||502||36||13.9|
|CANDIES,SEMISWEET CHOC,MADE W/BUTTER||365||11||33.2|
|CANDIES,SPL DK CHOC BAR||502||6||83.7|
|CANDIES,SWT CHOC COATD FONDANT||168||26||6.5|
|CANDIES,SYMPHONY MILK CHOC BAR||438||101||4.3|
|CANDIES,YORK PEPPERMINT PATTIE||111||28||4|