Eating 50g of chocolate every day has tangible nutritional benefits, according to Perth-based dietician Glenn Cardwell.

High in fats, calories and sugar, chocolate has never really been touted as the healthy snack option, but after ten years of nutrition research into the treat, Cardwell argues that it can be good for you. Good news for Australians, who rate ninth in the world in terms of overall chocolate consumption.

Of course, “it depends on how much chocolate you are consuming”, Cardwell told the Herald Sun, “but that would go with any food.”

There is no getting away from the fact that chocolate tastes so good because of its 30% fat content, but Cardwell argues that it does also contain important nutrients. As well as magnesium, riboflavin, vitamin A and zinc, 50g of milk chocolate will provide 10% of a man’s recommended daily allowance (RDA) of iron and 5% of a woman’s. It also contains small amounts of calcium.

Similarly, while chocolate is high in saturated fat, the fat in cocoa butter is about 33% palmitic, 33% stearic and 33% oleic. Stearic acid does not raise blood cholesterol.

Interestingly, dark chocolate also contains more flavanoids than a regular cup of tea. The anti-oxidants are put into chocolate bars to stop the cocoa butter from going off, but researchers are now asking if they also have health benefits.

“It clearly has the potential to act like the anti-oxidants in fruit, vegetables and red wine,” explained Cardwell.