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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Calories >>  Cocoa

Calories in Cocoa

Before understanding the calories in cocoa, it is important to note that the different types of cocoa have different caloric content. Studies have shown that 1 unsweetened tablespoon of cocoa contains about 12 calories, while commercially produced cocoa powder this is unsweetened can contain anywhere from 29 to 130 calories, depending on the make of the cocoa. (Calorie size is taken as per one tablespoon of cocoa).


Cocoa contains different nutrients like calcium, iron, fiber and proteins. Hemoglobin on the RBC’s depends on iron to carry oxygen through the bloodstream.

Any kind of iron deficiency can cause anemia. Cocoa provides 4 percent of the 8 mg to 11 mg daily intake of iron. Fiber makes you feel full after you have eaten and thereby facilitates better digestion. Cocoa provides 1.6 grams of fiber.

Calories in a Cup of Cocoa

As mentioned above, the amount of calories in a cup of cocoa depends on the type of cocoa powder you decide to use. Cocoa powder on its own is not very much and will not add to any significant weight gain. Cocoa powder actually has a very low sugar and fat content. The amount of calories, therefore, in a cup of cocoa depends on what you add while you are making that one cup. This is where the calorie content rises. For instance, some reputed brands of cocoa might have even 120 calories per cup of cocoa. Using cocoa drinks (i.e. pre mixed ones) or adding very sweet cocoa powder will increase the calorie. This is because sugar is added to such mixes and the sugar content therefore goes up considerably in them, and correspondingly the calorie content as well. More information on cocoa chocolate

The nutrition facts in a cup of cocoa are as follows:-

  • 12 grams of total fat. This is further broken down into 4 grams monounsaturated fat, and the 7 grams is saturated fat. The remaining amount is poly unsaturated fat.
  • 50 grams of carbohydrates and 17 grams of protein are found in one cup.
  • 27 grams of fiber are found in one cup.

Calories in a Cup of Hot Cocoa

This again depends on the serving size and what you add to the cocoa. 1 cup or 250 grams of hot cocoa would have about 193 calories. If however, you were to add full cream milk and sugar or a marshmallow to this standard serving, the amount of calories would go up to 338.

The nutrient content in a cup of hot cocoa is: - (serving size as given above)
  • Total Fat 5.8g
  • Cholesterol 20mg
  • Sodium 110mg
  • Protein 8.8g
  • Iron 7%
  • Sugars 24.2g
  • Calcium 26%    
  • Dietary Fiber 2.5g10%

Calories in 1 Tablespoon Of Cocoa Powder

This brings us to the question of how many calories there are in 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder. Research has shown that there are 12 calories in 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. Keep in mind that cocoa powder is produced by grinding the cocoa bean into a powder. It is the non fat part of the cocoa bean. In fact, studies show that one tablespoon of cocoa powder only contains 0.74 grams of fat.

The nutritional composition of 1 tbsp of cocoa powder is:-
  • 1.8 g of dietary fiber
  • 19% protein
  • 52% carbohydrates

Calories in 1/2 Cup Cocoa Powder

There are 98 calories in ½ cup cocoa powder. The calories from fat are 53. The breakdown of nutritional composition in ½ cup cocoa powder is:-
  • Total Fat 5.89g    
  • Dietary Fiber 14.3g    
  • Iron 33%
  • Sugars 0.75g    
  • Protein 8.43g    
Keep in mind that this calorie content will rise if you add full cream milk or sugar to the unsweetened cocoa.

Properties of Cocoa and Health Benefits:

Some of the health benefits of cocoa are:-
  • It helps to uplift one’s mood as it contains phenylethylamine, which is also called the love drug. Chocolate also contains this alkaloid which provides a sense of contentment.
  • Cocoa contains flavonoids which act as antioxidants. They help to control cell damage and thereby prevent heart problems and cancer. Consuming this flavonoid rich cocoa helps to lower the cholesterol and blood pressure as well.
  • Studies show that eating such cocoa also cuts down the risk of getting diabetes.
In order to enjoy these benefits, one must opt for cocoa with low calorie content and one that is in the purest form possible.

Side Effects of Cocoa

There are certain side effects of cocoa as well. These include:-
  • Allergic skin reactions
  • Constipation
  • Intestinal discomfort
  • The use of cocoa butter can cause a rash.
  • Keep in mind that cocoa contains caffeine and this caffeine content could give rise to problems such as a fast heartbeat, nervousness, sleeplessness and increased urination.
  • Migraines could also be brought on after cocoa intake.
Tips on Cocoa Intake:

  • Check with your doctor about the recommended quantity of cocoa intake. Generally, experts advise eating about 6.7 grams of dark chocolate daily.
  • If you are curious about when to consume cocoa, you can eat it just about anytime during the day.
  • One of the healthy ways to consume cocoa is to have it in a product that has the highest cocoa content – for instance, dark chocolate. The quality of the cocoa used should be kept in mind as well.
  • Storage tips for cocoa include storing it in dry, cool and dark place. Most cocoa powder can be stored up to a year, after which you may find changes in color and flavor.
Submitted on January 16, 2014