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Life is short, and sometimes, we want to give ourselves a nice sweet treat. Although there are many options, chocolate always seems to make the list.

Of course, we want to be cautious so that we don’t overload our systems on sugar. Giving ourselves a treat is one thing, but over-indulging is another. That is why many chocolate lovers turn to dark chocolate.

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According to Healthline, dark chocolate has health benefits that make it a good idea to include it as a treat now and again. Those benefits include fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and potassium.

Before you grab a bar of your favorite chocolate, consider what one study has found. According to that study by Consumer Reports, not all dark chocolate is created equally. Some brands have too much lead and/or cadmium, which poses a health risk.

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There isn’t anything unusual about dark chocolate containing lead and cadmium. However, the higher levels in some brands push it over the limit permitted in California.

That limit, known as the maximum allowable dose level (MADL), was established by California to keep us safe. When a product goes over the MADL, it’s unsafe to consume.

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Per the report, the following five brands of dark chocolate have levels of cadmium or lead that are too high:

1. Dove Promises Deeper Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao

2. Godiva Signature Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao

3. Hershey’s Special Dark, Mildly Sweet Chocolate

4. Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate 85% Cocoa and Lindt Excellence Dark Chocolate 70% Cocoa

5. Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate 72% Cacao and Trader Joe’s The Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate 85% Cacao

This wasn’t a small study. To determine which dark chocolate bars we should avoid, they tested 28 different chocolate bars.

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There is some good news that came out of all this. Not only did the researchers determine which chocolate bars we should avoid, but they also gave us the option of choosing one of the best bars on the market. These include:

1. Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate 86% Cacao and Ghirardelli Intense Dark Chocolate Twilight Delight 72% Cacao

2. Mast Organic Dark Chocolate 80% Cocoa

3. Taza Chocolate Organic Deliciously Dark Chocolate 70% Cacao

4. Valrhona Abinao Dark Chocolate85% Cacao

Between the worst and the best, they have identified nine brands of dark chocolate and given us some direction. What is true of the other 17 that are not named?

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According to Consumer Reports, Michael J DiBartolomeis is a toxicologist that used to work for the California Department of Public Health. He has also researched chocolate and the heavy metals it contains.

Dr. BiBartolomeis advises us to enjoy eating dark chocolate but to do it sparingly. Otherwise, young children and women who are pregnant should avoid it.

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