Chocolate Diet - Is It Healthy to Eat Chocolate Everyday?
Does being on a chocolate diet seem odd to you? I never thought I would ever recommend it. I use to love it when I was growing up. But as I entered my teens and began to have dental work done, I realized something would have to change.
It wasn't until 2003 that I ventured out to see what all the fuss was about. Claims were being made about how healthy chocolate really was. With caution, I began reading and trying this and that. I did discover some chocolates had a positive effect with NO negativity while others had a definite downside.
For the last two years I have enjoyed a chocolate diet. This means I have been eating a chocolate treat just about everyday for the last two years.
So What's the Bad Stuff?
- Refined Sugar
- Unhealthy Microbes
- Artificial Flavors
and chocolate do not go together, health wise. Refined sugar leaches nutrients like calcium, magnesium, chromium, and zinc from your body when the sugar is assimilated.(1) Plus, the refined sugar is addictive making it look like chocolate is the addictive component.(2) There are chocolate bars and treats that use safer sweeteners than refined sugar.
Lead may be in your chocolate. Lead is poison and even taken in small amounts, it will accumulate in the body causing trouble over time, but hard to diagnose. The largest amounts of lead in processed chocolate appears to enter during the shipping and manufacturing of the cacao bean.(3)
Unhealthy Microbes can be a problem when the fermenting process of the cacao beans are done incorrectly. This usually affects the raw cacao products more than the highly processed chocolates.
The highly processed chocolates are subjected to a tremendous amount of heat which most microbes don't survive. I did find that there are some unhealthy microbes that actually do survive the high heat at times.(4)
Microbes form on the skins of the raw cacao beans while being fermented which has been a part of the chocolate making process for centuries. Do not eat the skins of raw cacao beans unless certified as having a safe microbe count.
Artificial Flavors are not food. When you try to read the labels on any processed food, you'll probably have a hard time understanding what they say. The "food" words are recognizable. The rest are usually synthetic additives. Here is an example of a real artificial flavor - "Acetaldehyde phenethyl propyl acetal"(5) and usually the name does not need to be disclosed on a label. It is just lumped into any one of these categories: "spices," "natural flavors," or "artificial flavors."(6)
Just as you have a hard time understanding those words, your body has a hard time trying to do something with the ingredients those words represent. I try to avoid foods that have words I don't understand on their labels. If I'm really interested, I'll find out what those words mean before I buy.
How to Enjoy a Chocolate Diet
To enjoy a daily chocolate diet, I recommend buying all the organic raw ingredients and making your own treats. And... look for the hand crafted chocolate bars found in health food stores if you want someone else to do all the work of making them. Just check to ensure you get healthy sweeteners and all organic ingredients.
If you find a brand you want to try, call the company and ask about their ingredients. Have they been tested for lead and unhealthy microbes. They can get answers if they are so inclined. I have done that for three companies which are listed on my website as lead free.
More on Chocolate
Chocolate Facts - F.A.Q.
Healthy Chocolate Ingredients
Healthy Chocolate Choices
- (1)"The Sweetener Trap & How to Avoid it" by Beatrice Trum Hunter
- (2)"Lick the Sugar Habit" by Nancy Appleton
- (3)"Lead Contamination in Cocoa and Cocoa Products" Ref: Medscape Today
- (4)"The Microbiology of Chocolate" Ref: Skyline College Edu
- (5)"172.515 - CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21" Ref FDA.gov
- (6)"CFR - Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 - Natural Flavors Part 101" Ref: FDA.gov
Please feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. I am always happy to respond.
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