Taste is an entirely subjective sense and therefore it’s impossible to rank foods in terms of best or worst based on their flavor. One person’s favorite pizza topping may be a food someone else could not be paid enough to eat, for example, or one type of leafy green that might taste bitter and vile to one tongue may be enough to make another mouth salivate.
Chocolates don’t tend to see such extremes on the dislike end of things, but can certainly stir up emotions when it comes to favorites. Thus, to be clear, we are ranking these popular chocolates based entirely on the merits of their nutritional value—or more to the point in most cases, the lack thereof. We’re using metrics like calorie count, sugar and fat content, and the presence of artificial ingredients to judge how these grocery store picks rank from unhealthiest to healthiest.
That’s right, not all chocolate is unhealthy. In fact, there are multiple proven health benefits of dark chocolate high in cacao content, including a decent amount of fiber, a large amount of magnesium and iron (58% and 67% of your recommended daily intake per a 100-gram bar, respectively). ), and a surprising amount of copper and manganese (89% and 98%, respectively).
As you’ll see in this article, those health benefits don’t extend to milk chocolate and certainly not to chocolate-based candies like, say, Milk Duds. So go ahead and enjoy your favorite chocolate candy based on taste, but do practice some moderation.
The following is a ranking of well-known chocolates, listed from unhealthiest to healthiest. And for more, check out Eating This Type of Chocolate May Burn More Fat, New Study Says.
per serving: 190 calories, 16 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 1 g sugar, 70 mg sodium
What’s that you ask, how can a chocolate bar with just one gram of sugar be the worst pick on this list? Because it makes up for that lack of sugar with ingredients lots of people try to avoid, like erythritol and stevia extract. Also, it’s quite high in fat. All that said, it’s delicious and if you are following a Keto diet, a decent option.
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per serving: 220 calories, 17 g fat, 13 g saturated fat, 14 g sugar, 25 mg sodium
What’s the secret behind the decadent deliciousness that is these chocolate truffles? The high saturated fat content. And the overall fat content in general. However, they’re pretty low on the sodium per serving, so there’s that.
per serving: 220 calories, 13 g fat, 4.5 g saturated fat, 22 g sugar, 150 mg sodium
These delicious little circles of peanut butter and chocolate get their flavor primarily from the fact that they are nearly the most sugar-laden treat on the list and are the outright highest in sodium content.
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per serving: 220 calories, 13 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 21 g sugar, 50 mg sodium
The nuts and coconut shavings here may define the taste of this candy bar, but it’s the fats, the sugars, and the calories you should watch out for. (Though do note that the serving size referenced her is a 44-gram portion, which is about a quarter larger than many others on the list.)
per serving: 190 calories, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 15 g sugar, 25 mg sodium
For a milk chocolate bar, this organic one from Whole Foods has a lot of cacao—a decent 38%—so you can get some of those health benefits we talked about earlier. But with that comes a lot of fat and sugar.
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per serving: 220 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 24 g sugar, 60 mg sodium
This is it, the most heavily sugar-laden chocolate candy on the list per serving size. Sure, the Crunch Bar’s serving size may be slightly larger than most, but even when you take that into account, it’s a sugar bomb.
per serving: 210 calories, 11 g fat, 7 g saturated fat, 23 g sugar, 20 mg sodium
Very low in sodium but very high in sugar, Kit Kats are also pretty high in fat. Fortunately, you can easily break off just one little piece of the bar and eat only a bit at a time.
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per serving: 190 calories, 16 g fat, 9 g saturated fat, 5 g sugar, 0 mg sodium
Though quite high in saturated fat and total fats, these little dark chocolates are made without artificial ingredients. They’re high in cacao and have very little sugar as well as no sodium whatsoever.
per serving: 150 calories, 11 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 10 g sugar, 15 mg sodium
A classic holiday gift and a genuinely tasty one at that, these chocolate candies are not bad in the saturated fat department or in terms of sugar or sodium. But they do have several artificial ingredients.
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per serving: 170 calories, 10 g fat, 6 g saturated fat, 14 g sugar, 30 mg sodium
The fat and sugar content for these chocolate bars may not be all that noteworthy, were it not for what you won’t find here, which are a number of common allergens like dairy, wheat, tree nuts, egg, and more. Hence, it’s a good pick for those suffering from food allergies.
per serving: 140 calories, 9 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 16 g sugar, 20 mg sodium
Arguably the most classic American chocolate to be had, a Hershey’s bar is not a bad choice in terms of health. While not remarkably low in any of the nutrients, none are upsettingly high, either.
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per serving: 145 calories, 7 g fat, 5.5 g saturated fat, 14 g sugar, 58 mg sodium
As it happens, a Twix bar is actually a pretty good choice if you want to keep your fat intake down, though the sugars are in the middle and, at just under 30 grams, the serving size referenced is on the smaller side. However, watch out for that high salt content.
per serving: 140 calories, 5 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 18 g sugar, 20 mg sodium
Provided you have some willpower and can stop at a 28-gram serving (which is about 32 individual M&M’s), these classic chocolates are a good choice for when sweet cravings hit.
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per serving: 140 calories, 7 g fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, 14.5 g sugar, 68 mg sodium
Not bad in terms of fat though not great in terms of sugars, a Snickers bar has a bit more protein than many other chocolate options, so it will leave you feeling fuller for longer, at least.
per serving: 125 calories, 5 g fat, 2.5 g saturated fat, 12 g sugar, 50 mg sodium
You could easily be forgiven for assuming Butterfinger candy bars were way less healthy than they are, which is not to say they are a healthy food, but they’re really not so bad in terms of fats or sodium, and the sugar content is hardly shocking.
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per serving: 120 calories, 4.5 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 16 g sugar, 35 mg sodium
Milky Way bars are much lower in fat than you probably think given the richness of their texture and flavor. They’re pretty heavy on the sugar, however.
per serving: 130 calories, 3.8 g fat, 2.6 g saturated fat, 20 g sugar, 58 mg sodium
Here we have another classic chocolate candy bar that gets its flavor not from fats but from sugar, by and large. But that said, the calorie count isn’t bad, so overall not a bad choice for a quick, sporadic treat.
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per serving: 190 calories, 17 g fat, 10 g saturated fat, 4 g sugar, 58 mg sodium
Now we’re getting into that healthy dark chocolate area, for while these candy bars are heavy in fats, they are low in sugar and sodium-free. And all of the ingredients are completely natural and even organic, like the cacao, which is high at 85%.
per serving: 180 calories, 13 g fat, 8 g saturated fat, 9 g sugar, 15 mg sodium
One look at the ingredients here and you’ll know why this chocolate bar earned its spot on the list. They include organic cacao, organic unrefined coconut sugar, and organic fair-trade cocoa butter. And that’s it.
per serving: 170 calories, 12 g fat, 5 g saturated fat, 8 g sugar, 50 mg sodium
It’s almost hard to believe how much flavor is packed into this five-ingredient bar given its moderate fat and modest sugar and sodium content, but there you have it all, and with taste to spare.
Discover more of the best & worst snacks and treats:
The Best & Worst Store-Bought Dips—Ranked!
The Best & Worst Cookies on Shelves in 2021—Ranked!
The Best & Worst Snacks in America in 2021—Ranked!