Healthy Chocolate Choices How to Tell the Good from the Bad
Healthy chocolate (updated Nov 12, 2010) comes from the cacao tree. The processing steps between picking the cacao beans and the chocolate you eat turn the cacao bean into something that may not be totally healthy for you.
Traditional Chocolate Processing Destroys Nutrition
The cacao beans that are used to make the common chocolate bars and candies are processed with heat which actually changes the bean's chemistry. If alkaline chemicals or milk products are used, the chemistry is altered even further. The antioxidant properties dramatically reduced in chocolate when alkaline chemical processing occurs or milk products are added.
"The total phenolics and total flavonoid content were the highest in cocoa nib and natural cocoa. Alkalized cocoa had a significantly lower phenolic content and antioxidant activity than did the natural cocoa. "
PGPR (Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate) - "Some manufacturers are now using PGPR, an artificial emulsifier derived from castor oil that allows them to reduce the amount of cocoa butter while maintaining the same mouthfeel." Ref: UPC Foods Search
Artificial Flavors - you really don't know what you are getting..."'Secretive' Chemicals Being Hidden in Food Under 'Artificial Flavors' Label." Ref: NaturalNews
Corn Syrup - may be contaminated with mercury during manufacturing. Ref: Huffington Post
Partially Hydrogenated Oil - "Trans fats from partially hydrogenated oils are more harmful than naturally occurring oils. Ref: Wikipedia
You'll find sugar is the main ingredient in inexpensive chocolate bars. The chocolate could be as little as 4% to 10%.
Something that can be so thoroughly loved can also be thoroughly healthy for you. Dark chocolate is definitely better for you because the milk is missing. Raw chocolate has many times more nutrients over highly processed chocolate.
What's in the Healthy Chocolate?
The mysteries of what makes up healthy foods are locked up in nature's treasure chest. Man discovers various parts, and puts names on them. You'll find the chemical breakdown of cacao and cocoa in the book "Naked Chocolate" written by David Wolfe and Shazzi. I highly recommend this book if you'd like to change your attitude about chocolate.
Here's some good information on the raw Cacao Beans that gives you a very good graphic example of why I am so fussy about who I buy my raw cacao products from.
But... you may not be any closer to knowing what's in healthy chocolate until you try it.
I loved chocolate as a child, and then as a teenager I moved into the world of "don't eat chocolate."
"Chocolate will make you fat."
"Chocolate is bad for your teeth."
"Chocolate will make you sick if you eat too much."
"Chocolate will make your face break out."
"Chocolate is addictive."
The list goes on and on.
I have since learned that the above statements are simply not true when you eat the right kind of chocolate. We should be asking the question, "What isn't in healthy chocolate?" Eliminating what man has added to it will increase it's value to health.
My Own Facts About Chocolate
Here's what I have personally learned and evaluated for myself. We have found healthy chocolate to be from the most "unprocessed" cacao beans.
I personally experience the following when I eat a chocolate treat that I make myself, without sugar, containing all raw ingredients. Here are the positive effects of chocolate I experience:
Healthier teeth and gums
Reduction of stress
Appetite suppressant when eaten before a meal
Happier about life
More friendly or loving
You can try our Chocolate Delight Recipe and see what happens to you. We were astounded how creamy good this ended up when we finally finished developing it!
Is chocolate good for health? I say "Yes!" Is it addicting. I should say "Yes!" to that too. I love feeling good, happy and liking people. Is it addictive, like a drug or coffee or cigarettes. I say "No!" I use to smoke and that did not make me feel good. It calmed my nerves but wrecked my lungs.
I never took street drugs and seldom drank coffee so can't say I was addicted to those. I know coming off medical drugs was no picnic. They had a real negative effect on my digestive tract by eliminating good bacteria.
You will have to decide for yourself if chocolate in it's healthy form is a good thing or a bad thing. But you do need to try the really healthy kind.
I happen to be convinced that it's a good thing.
Where's the Healthy Chocolate?
Here's a list of healthy chocolate companies I've located so far. I prefer all raw organic ingredients with low glycemic sweetners.
Golden Bean Chocolate - raw organic cacao, sweetened with raw agave
Gnosis Chocolate Bar - raw organic cacao, sweetened with agave nectar