Ohso Chocolate is a chocolate company specializing in probiotic Belgian chocolate bars. Their products include 37% cocoa milk chocolate, 54% or 70% cocoa dark chocolate, and raspberry or orange variations. Due to their microencapsulation process, wherein live bacteria are encased in the cocoa butter that’s used to make the chocolate, the brand boasts that it’s three times more effective than dairy-based probiotics.
Ohso dark chocolate bars are made on the same equipment as their milk chocolate bars but do not contain milk as an ingredient. Depending on your comfort with cross-contamination, they can therefore be considered vegan. If the possibility of traces of dairy concerns you, opt for a 100% vegan brand.
Although it has no added dairy, is Ohso Chocolate healthy? What is the purpose of adding probiotics to chocolate, and what sets Ohso apart from other chocolate bars on the market?
Is OHSO Chocolate Healthy
Ohso Chocolate contains probiotics, or “live cultures”, that support gut health by delivering strains of healthy bacteria to the digestive system. There’s disagreement in the scientific community about the function of probiotics, their effectiveness, and which strains of bacteria are best.
There’s some consensus that probiotics should be taken with antibiotics to reduce digestive side effects, and they’ve helped improve IBS symptoms in some studies. Further research is needed as there are many unknowns in the study of probiotic efficacy.
Ohso Chocolate is more effective than dairy probiotics (like probiotic yogurt) in delivering live cultures to the intestines, where they’re most beneficial, rather than dying off in the stomach.
The bacteria are encapsulated in cocoa butter and then protected by the chocolate bar and less likely to be killed off by stomach acid. This means you can get the gut health-promoting benefits from probiotics more effectively from Ohso chocolate.
Additionally, there are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives, and many health benefits exist in the chocolate itself.
The Health Benefits of Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has many health benefits. To start, 70-85% dark chocolate can contain substantial amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, and other vitamins.
It also has quite a bit of fiber and contains healthy fats. However, chocolate shouldn’t be consumed in large amounts due to its high caloric density and therefore shouldn’t be the main source of these nutrients.
Dark chocolate is also full of antioxidants, even more than fruit as shown in this study. Antioxidants are important because they combat free radicals that can damage your cells.
Some research has found that those who consume chocolate (in moderation) may have lower rates of stroke and other cardiovascular events.
The health benefits of chocolate seem to come from the flavanol phytonutrients in cocoa, which means you could get the same effect from adding natural cocoa powder to your diet.
This would avoid unnecessary sugar, fat, and calories that come from processing cocoa into a chocolate bar. If you choose this route though, try to buy cocoa that hasn’t been processed with alkali which reduces flavanol content in order to reduce bitterness.
The scientific evidence points to bitter chocolate as more beneficial to health. To get the most health benefits from purchasing Ohso Chocolate, make sure to buy the 70% cocoa varieties.
Are The “No Sugar Added” Bars Healthier?
Ohso has a line of “no sugar added” chocolate bars that use stevia and maltitol in place of sugar.
Although these are good alternatives for people avoiding sugar, alternative sweeteners can sometimes cause digestive issues. As a sugar alcohol, maltitol can create a laxative effect if eaten in large quantities and stevia can cause digestive issues (bloating, nausea) for some people.
There is also some evidence to suggest that sweeteners, which are often much sweeter than normal sugar, can cause us to overeat. This is because of the disconnect between our perception of sweetness (which stimulates appetite) and the lack of calories supplied (which prevents satiety).
Is OHSO Chocolate Allergy Friendly
Ohso Chocolate is certified gluten-free and doesn’t share any equipment with gluten-containing products. It does, however, contain soy in the form of soy lecithin and may contain milk from shared equipment. It doesn’t contain any eggs, peanuts, or tree nuts.
Where to Buy Ohso Chocolate
If you live in Ireland or the U.K., you can buy Ohso Chocolate directly from ohso.com. You can buy individual packs (containing seven 13.5g bars) for £4.99 (approx. $6.96) or get a deal on a subscription to 4 (£16.90) or 8 (£33.00) packs per month.
If you live elsewhere, Ohso products can be hard to come by but may be found at Amazon, BritSuperstore.com, Walmart, The Vitamin Shoppe, some Whole Foods locations, and some natural health food stores or regional chocolate shops.
Other probiotic chocolates on the market include Belgian dark chocolate probiotic Napolitains from Bouchard Chocolate and probiotic intense chocolate from SmartLife Chocolate. Both of these companies also produce their chocolate on shared equipment with milk-containing products.
Vegan dark chocolate (although missing the probiotic advantages) options include Hu chocolate bars, Evolved chocolate bars, Enjoy Life dark chocolate bars, and others that specify that equipment is dairy and egg-free or cleaned before use. If cross-contamination is not a problem, almost all dark chocolate bars (especially 70% cocoa or above) are vegan.
Buying fairtrade chocolate is important for protecting global workers and the environment. Ohso Chocolate is sustainably sourced, but if you’re looking to make a bigger impact Endangered Species Chocolate donates 10% of their annual net profits to conservation organizations.