Your friend is BSing themselves.
Hershey chocolate is only about 20% cocoa.
Regarding their Special Dark it is an additive to make the chocolate
dark and not indicative of higher cocoa content. The process of
alkalizing ACTUALLY DESTROYS FLAVINOIDS!
Quote from Hershey: Is HERSHEY?S SPECIAL DARK cocoa (dutched) the same
as your regular HERSHEY?S Cocoa?
No. Dutch processed cocoa has an alkalizing agent similar to baking
soda added to neutralize the natural acidity of cocoa. It has a more
mellow flavor and a darker color.
European standards on what can be called 'milk chocolate' require a
higher cocoa content than US chocolate...thus the idea that Euro
chocolate is 'better'
Here is wiki on health benefits of chocolate:
Recent studies have suggested that cocoa or dark chocolate may possess
certain beneficial effects on human health. Dark chocolate, with its
high cocoa content, is a rich source of the flavonoids epicatechin and
Gallic acid, which are thought to possess cardio protective
properties. Cocoa possesses a significant antioxidant action,
protecting against LDL oxidation, perhaps more than other polyphenol
antioxidant rich foods and beverages. Cocoa processed with alkali will
not contain any polyphenols or antioxidants. Some
studies have also observed a modest reduction in blood pressure and
flow mediated dilation after consuming approximately 100g of dark
chocolate daily. There has even been a fad diet named, "Chocolate
diet", that emphasizes eating chocolate and cocoa powder in capsules.
However, consuming milk chocolate or white chocolate, or drinking milk
with dark chocolate, appears to largely negate the health benefit.
Chocolate is also a calorie-rich food with a high fat content, so
daily intake of chocolate also requires reducing caloric intake of
Two-thirds of the fat in chocolate comes in the forms of a saturated
fat called stearic acid and a monounsaturated fat called oleic acid.
However, unlike other saturated fats, stearic acid does not raise
levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream. Consuming relatively
large amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa does not seem to raise serum
LDL cholesterol levels; some studies even find that it could lower
Several population studies have observed an increase in the risk of
certain cancers among people who frequently consume sweet 'junk' foods
such as chocolate. However very little evidence exists to suggest
whether consuming flavonoid-rich dark chocolate may increase or
decrease the risk of cancer. Evidence from laboratory studies suggest
that cocoa flavonoids may possess anticarcinogenic mechanisms, but
more research is needed to prove this idea.
The major concern that nutritionists have is that even though eating
dark chocolate may favorably affect certain biomarkers of
cardiovascular disease, the amount needed to have this effect would
provide a relatively large quantity of calories which, if unused,
would promote weight gain. Obesity is a significant risk factor for
many diseases including cardiovascular disease. As a consequence,
consuming large quantities of dark chocolate in an attempt to protect
against cardiovascular disease has been described as 'cutting off
one's nose to spite one's face'..