Hot chocolate vs Coffee - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison
Hot chocolate is richer than coffee in vitamin B12, vitamin B2, vitamin D, vitamin A, zinc, iron, phosphorus, and copper.
Coffee contains less saturated fats and no carbohydrates.
Coffee has a beneficial effect on weight loss, cardiovascular health, diabetes, and cancer.
Table of contents
In this article, we are going to discuss the similarities and differences between hot chocolate and coffee. Both beverages have been popular for centuries and are loved all over the world.
The coffee drink is prepared by brewing roasted coffee beans, the seeds of Coffea species berries. The hot chocolate or hot cocoa is made of shaved, melted chocolate or cocoa powder with the addition of heated water or milk. Cocoa powder is obtained from fermented seeds of Theobroma cacao; it is the residue that remains after the preparation of cocoa butter.
It is quite easy to distinguish coffee from hot chocolate. The color of the coffee varies from black, dark brown, light brown to beige, depending on the seed type from which it is made, while the color of hot chocolate may be brown or chestnut.
Taste and Use
Based on its variety and preparation method, the taste of the coffee may differ. Coffee is described as a bitter drink with a mildly acidic taste.
Originally the hot chocolate tasted spicy and bitter. Nowadays usually, hot chocolate is consumed with adding sugar or vanilla.
Both drinks are widespread and popular all over the world. The survey shows that 64 % of the US population consumes coffee every day, while only 14 % of responders reported drinking hot chocolate on a daily basis. Both drinks are used mainly as independent beverages, sometimes consumed with some additives.
There are four main varieties of coffee:
- Arabica is popular in North America and has a sweeter and more delicate flavor. This type is also less acidic.
- Robusta is popular in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. It has a harsh flavor due to the higher content of caffeine.
- Liberica is the rarest type of coffee with a woody taste.
- Excelsa is a subtype of the Liberica family.
The main varieties of hot chocolate are:
- Mayan hot chocolate is served cold and brewed like a beer, the hot variety of Mayan hot chocolate is made with the addition of chili paper.
- Mumbai hot chocolate contains spices like ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, and peppercorn.
- Parisian Chocolat Chaud originates from France, with the highest percentage of cocoa (70 %), and is combined with whole milk and cream.
- Cciocoolata Calda originated in Italy, is similar to the French variety, but with more cream and milk, and involves an extra step of thickening the hot chocolate by adding cornstarch.
Amounts of caffeine are different not only between hot chocolate and coffee but also between different types of coffee. One cup, which is 250 g hot chocolate, contains only 5 mg of caffeine. The situation with coffee is different; different varieties of coffee contain different amounts of caffeine. Here,
- One serving (236 ml) of decaffeinated brewed coffee contains 2 mg of caffeine,
- One serving (236 ml) of instant coffee contains 62 mg of caffeine,
- One serving (29.5 ml) of espresso contains 63 mg of caffeine,
- One serving (354 ml) of cold brew coffee contains between 153 to 238 mg of caffeine,
- One serving (236 ml) of brewed coffee contains 95 mg of caffeine.
There is a drastic difference in calorie content between coffee and hot chocolate, 100 g of hot chocolate contains 77 kcal, while 100 g of coffee contains only 1 kcal.
Proteins and Fats
Hot chocolate is not only rich in calorie content but also richer in protein content.
100 g of hot chocolate contains 3.52 g of protein, while there is only 0.12 g of protein in 100 g of coffee. Hot chocolate and coffee also differ in total lipid content; 100 g of coffee contains 0.02 g of total lipid.
Without any additives, coffee contains no carbohydrates, while the total carbohydrate content in hot chocolate is estimated to be 10.7 g per 100 g.
In particular, hot chocolate contains 5 g of sucrose and 4.63 g of lactose, the amount of glucose, fructose, maltose, and galactose estimated to be 0.01 g each.
In the vitamin comparison, the ultimate winner is the hot chocolate.
While coffee is higher in only vitamin B3, hot chocolate is richer in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin D, vitamins B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, and vitamin K.
While coffee is lower in sodium, hot chocolate is richer in minerals such as iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus.
Since coffee contains no carbohydrates, its glycemic index is estimated to be 0, while the glycemic index of hot chocolate is 51 (1), which falls under the low glycemic index range.
Both beverages are alkaline. The PRAL value of coffee is estimated to be -1, and the PRAL value of hot chocolate is slightly more, equal to -0.6. The PRAL shows the capacity of the food to produce acids or bases inside the organism.
A study performed in 2018 evaluated the effect of caffeine on weight loss. In general, caffeine intake is correlated with weight, BMI, and body fat reduction mainly due to the fact that caffeine induces energy dissipation by inducing cellular mechanisms in skeletal muscles and in the central nervous system, which generates special nervous system activity, consequently leading to weight loss (2).
Another study shows that coffee, besides its stimulating effect on the nervous system, leads to weight loss due to the appetite-suppressing effect. Moreover, the study shows that individuals who combined exercising with regular coffee intake had significantly higher results in weight loss (3).
In this section, we are going to discuss the health impact of coffee and hot chocolate on human organisms.
The study that evaluated the relationship between coffee consumption and the development of cardiovascular diseases shows that even high coffee consumption was not connected with CVD risk; moreover, moderate intake (3 - 5 per day) has a beneficiary effect and lowers the risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (4).
One study evaluated the effect of cocoa on the cardiovascular system and found that different mechanisms of action are in control. Notably, in the case of cocoa, the beneficiary agents are the flavanols and procyanidins, which stand as antioxidants and inducers of antioxidant mechanisms in humans, leading to protective effects against cardiovascular diseases (5).
Researchers found that individuals who consumed not less than 4 and not more than 7 cups of coffee per day had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes (6).
Another study shows that regular coffee intake is also related to improvement in glucose metabolism, thus having a protective effect on type 2 diabetes (7).
The flavonols contained in cocoa have beneficiary effects by involvement in various mechanisms such as regulation of carbohydrate absorption in the gut, insulin sensitivity improvement by regulating glucose transporters and main insulin signaling pathways, and demonstration of lipid-lowering effects, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities (8).
Together with all the benefits of coffee highlighted above, it is shown that coffee also demonstrates cancer-reducing activity. In particular, it reduces oral, pharynx, colon, liver, prostate endometrial cancer, and melanoma. However, there is a relationship between coffee intake and the development of lung cancer, although these correlations have to be further evaluated (9).
The majority of bioactive compounds in cocoa are similar to wine, green tea, and soy. Thus, having flavonoids known for their antioxidant capacity to the maximum extent, cocoa is suggested to exhibit anticancer and protective activity. However, more data and studies are required (10).
Comparison summary table
|Rich in minerals|
|Lower in price|
|Rich in vitamins|
|Lower in Sugar|
|Lower in Sodium|
|Lower in Cholesterol|
|Lower in Saturated Fat|
|Lower in glycemic index|
All nutrients comparison - raw data values
Which food is preferable for your diet?
|Low Fats diet|
|Low Carbs diet|
|Low Calories diet|
|Low glycemic index diet|