Chocolate is made from the beans of the cocoa tree. It has been around for hundreds of years as the Aztecs in South America originally enjoyed it as a chocolate drink.

It was a Dutchman, Conrad J. van Houten, who discovered in 1828 a cheap way to make cocoa powder by pressing the fat from roasted beans. This was followed by the invention of the chocolate bar by Joseph Storrs Fry when he added cocoa butter and sugar to the mix. And, finally, in 1879, Daniel Peter from Switzerland created milk chocolate by mixing it with powdered milk. The popularity of chocolate bars has been on the rise ever since.

Theres really no getting away from the fact that chocolate is high in calories. An average bar of milk chocolate contains 530 calories per 100g. A Mars bar contains 294 calories while a packet of maltesers has 183 calories. The cocoa butter thats in chocolate tends to be high in saturated fat.

This not only helps to pile on the pounds but also increases your cholesterol levels. However, its not all bad news. Chocolate also contains the antioxidants, catechin and phenol, that are thought to help prevent certain cancers and heart disease. There are even those that claim that it actually prevents tooth decay by helping kill off mouth bacteria. Although popularly blamed for it, there is no scientific reason to believe that chocolate causes acne.

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