Monthly Archives: March 2016

Primary Season Special: Battle of the Ingredients – Chocolate

Milk Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate

Introducing a new feature on the USConnect blog: battle of the ingredients!

At USConnect, we know you care about your health, so we help you make The Right Choice for a Healthier You™. That’s why we’ll periodically compare common ingredients of foods and discuss the pros and cons of each.

Which is better for you? Milk chocolate or dark chocolate?

Easter is right around the corner, and with it comes an onslaught of chocolate eggs, bunnies, and other shapes. So, if you’re going to indulge this Easter, which chocolate is better: milk or dark? To begin, it helps to know how chocolate is made. All chocolate (dark, milk, and white) starts with cocoa (cacao) beans with varying amounts of sugar, cocoa butter, and sometimes milk or vanilla. The type of chocolate depends on the percentage of cocoa in the mix, with dark chocolate usually having at least 70 percent, milk chocolate having no more than 50 percent, and white chocolate having less than 35 percent.

Let’s start with milk chocolate, which has traditionally been the most popular among American consumers. Milk chocolate, as its name suggests, contains milk, which gives it more calcium than dark chocolate (8 percent compared to 3 percent). Milk chocolate is also slightly lower in calories, fat, and saturated fat than dark chocolate. However, milk chocolate also contains significantly more sugar: 21 grams as opposed to 10 grams in dark chocolate. It also has higher cholesterol than milk chocolate.

Dark chocolate has more of almost everything than milk chocolate. As mentioned above, it has slightly more calories, fat, and saturated fat. More importantly, however, the higher cocoa content gives it more good stuff too: healthy monounsaturated fatty acids, fiber, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. It also contains high levels of theobromine, which may help to lower blood pressure. Scientists have been touting the benefits of dark chocolate for years, and now you know why.

Bottom line: no one would recommend an all-chocolate diet (although it would be delicious), but if you’re going to indulge, go for dark chocolate every time.

Bonus: how does white chocolate stack up? Since the primary benefits of chocolate come from cocoa, white chocolate is the least healthy of the three. Avoid—if possible.

Giving Is Good – How Much Did We Donate Last Year?

USConnect believes in helping our communities, and we know that you do too! That’s why at participating locations, we donate 1.5% of every dollar you spend with your USConnect account to the charity of your choice. Now you can get something good and do something good at the same time.12671615_522694887910273_7877615716230901176_o

Here’s how our program works: USConnect affiliates fund charitable contributions based on the purchases you make with your USConnect account. The uniqueness of our program is that you get to pick the charity you want to contribute to. We want to modernize the charitable donation process based on individuality. We all have causes we care about, and our system allows you to support the causes that are most important to you. Last year, for instance, USConnect customers and affiliates gave $3,868 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, a national nonprofit. They also made donations to more than 120 other nonprofits and charities, some local and some national. Soup kitchens, animal shelters, hospitals: USConnect’s matching donations fund them all.

Giving back is personal, and USConnect is taking charitable donations to the next level; our goal is to hit $1 million in donations! Since USConnect is still in its infancy—we launched in late 2013—this goal is likely to be a reality in the near future. USConnect’s growth rate continues to be in excess of one hundred percent a year, and our nationwide loyalty, promotion, and charitable program is just getting off the ground. We also just launched our USConnectMe app, which will elevate awareness and adoption of our program.

USConnect is just what its name says: independent American companies working together to connect with each other, our customers, and the communities we live in. We’re in the business of helping people, and USConnect customers get to be a part of that business every day.