Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
21 Feb

Why You Should Eat and Drink High-Cacao Dark Chocolate

dark chocolateYes, I know, I know. That title isn’t exactly comforting. I hate giving you guys bad news, seeing as how you make this website possible, and I hate making unpopular recommendations like “eat more butter” or “get some sun” or “drink a glass of red wine,” but I have to stick to the truth here, even if it hurts. And the truth is that you should probably be eating dark chocolate on a semi-regular basis because the stuff is pretty dang good for you. Before you log out, never to return again, give me a minute to explain myself:

You were kids once. Your parents probably forced you to finish your overcooked, mushy, bland veggies or wash your hands and finish your homework – or some other routine unpleasantry – “for your own good,” and that’s what I’m doing here. Dark chocolate is healthy. It may be awful, terrible, and disgusting, but it contains some really good things that have some remarkable effects on various markers of health. So, yeah, eat your chocolate. Finish your raw cacao powder. Choke down that homemade hot chocolate. Hold your noses if you have to, but get it down and done.

I’m kidding, of course. There’s no arm twisting required when it comes to chocolate. If there’s one thing I know, it’s that the Primal community can suck down some high quality dark chocolate. Don’t think I didn’t see how quickly that chocolate disappeared at last year’s PrimalCon. And why wouldn’t it? Dark chocolate’s great, the perfect storm of flavor, flavonoids, and fat. It tastes really good, comes loaded with polyphenols, and cocoa butter is a great source of saturated and monounsaturated fat. High-cacao dark chocolate, then, is quite literally a healthy candy bar. What’s not to love?

I’ve discussed my favorite dark chocolate in the past. I’ve even provided chocolate-choosing tips. But until today, I’ve never really explained why we should be including high-cacao dark chocolate in our diets. I’ve never explicitly outlined the myriad health benefits that cacao offers. Well, let’s get to it, shall we?

Dark chocolate contains healthy fats.

Cocoa butter, which is extracted from the cacao bean and incorporated into most reputable dark chocolate bars, is mostly monounsaturated and saturated fat, with very little polyunsaturated fat. And because most of that saturated fat is stearic acid, widely known for having neutral effects on LDL, even avowed lipophobes can happily and heartily gobble up cacao fat.

Dark chocolate contains lots of polyphenols, particularly flavanols.

When it comes to polyphenol content and antioxidant capacity, cacao trounces the “superfruits” acai, pomegranate, cranberry, blueberry and whatever else your annoying friend who always falls for multilevel marketing schemes is hawking this week. The most studied polyphenol in cacao is epicatechin, a flavanol. Although last week’s post on the benefits of polyphenol consumption centered on pigment-derived antioxidants, cacao’s polyphenols are also quite potent and potentially healthful.

What happens when the rubber hits the road, though? Or, somewhat more literally, what happens when the square of polyphenol-rich dark chocolate melts on the tongue, is swallowed, digested, and incorporated into the body? What are the actual health benefits of consuming high-cacao content dark chocolate?

Dark chocolate and blood pressure.

Epidemiological studies pretty consistently show that dark chocolate consumption is related to lower blood pressure readings. In Jordan, among Kuna Indians living in Panama, among pregnant women, and among elderly Dutch, this holds true. That’s all well and good, but it’s just an association. We need controlled studies:

One found that fifteen days of eating dark chocolate, but not white chocolate, lowered blood pressure (and improved insulin sensitivity) in healthy subjects. The main difference between white and dark chocolate is the polyphenol content; both types contain cocoa fat. Cocoa consumption also improved arterial flow in smokers.

Some studies suggest that the flavonoids are key. In one, flavanol-rich dark chocolate consumption improved endothelial function while increasing plasma levels of flavanols (which indicates the flavanols had something to do with it). Another study used flavanol-rich cocoa to increase nitric oxide production in healthy humans, thus inducing vasodilation and improving endothelial function. In another, the highest dose of cacao flavanoids caused the biggest drop in blood pressure. Still another found that while dark chocolate did not reduce blood pressure, improve lipids, nor reduce oxidative stress, it did improve coronary circulation.

Or maybe it’s the soluble fiber. In “spontaneously hypertensive” rats, cacao-derived soluble fiber lowered blood pressure, perhaps by reducing weight gain.

It’s probably both, in my opinion, although the polyphenols undoubtedly contribute more to the cause than the five grams or so of soluble fiber you’ll get in the average serving of dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate and cardiovascular disease.

You’ve heard of the cholesterol-fed rabbit; how about the cocoa-fed rabbit? If the former is an effective vehicle to study the negative effects of poor lipid clearance, the latter is a testament to the inhibitory effects of cocoa polyphenols on lipid peroxidation. We also have similar findings in rodents. Feeding hypercholesterolemic and normocholesterolemic rats polyphenol-rich “cocoa fiber” (defatted, sugar-free chocolate, basically) reduced markers of lipid peroxidation in both groups (PDF). It also seems to work quite well in test tubes.

In humans, both with normal and elevated cholesterol levels, eating cocoa powder mixed with hot water lowered oxidized LDL and ApoB (LDL particle number, which, if you remember my post on lipid panels, you want to lower) counts while increasing HDL. All three doses of high-flavanol cocoa powder – 13, 19.5, and 26 g/day – proved beneficial. If you’re wondering, 26 grams of powder is about a quarter cup. It also works if you drink it with milk (and no, Hershey’s syrup doesn’t work the same).

Given the effects of chocolate on lipid peroxidation, we can probably surmise that it will also lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. And indeed, epidemiological studies suggest that this is the case. In a sample of over 2200 patients (PDF), chocolate consumption was inversely associated with progression of atherosclerotic plaque (determined by calcium scoring). What’s incredible is that the association held for chocolate in general, and I don’t think it’s likely that everyone was consuming 100% raw cacao powder brimming with polyphenols. A study from this year from the same group got similar results: chocolate consumption was inversely associated with prevalent cardiovascular disease.

While most cacao research focuses on vascular function and heart disease risk, there are other, less intensively-studied benefits. Here are a few of them:

Dark chocolate and insulin resistance.

For fifteen days, hypertensive, glucose-intolerant patients received either 100 daily grams of high-polyphenol dark chocolate or 100 daily grams of zero-polyphenol white chocolate. Diets were isocaloric, and nothing differed between the groups besides the type of chocolate. Dark chocolate improved beta cell function, lowered blood pressure, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved endothelial function, while white chocolate did none of those things.

Dark chocolate and fatty liver.

Rats with fatty liver evince higher levels of oxidative stress and inflammation, but cocoa supplementation partially attenuated these pathological changes – even in choline-deficient rats. While cocoa wasn’t enough to fully resolve fatty liver, the researchers concluded that cocoa may be of therapeutic benefit in “less severe” forms of fatty liver.

Dark chocolate and UV damage.

Resistance to UV damage is commonly measured by MED – minimal erythema dose. A higher MED means greater resistance to UV rays, while a lower MED indicates lower resistance. High MED, good. Low MED, bad. One study found that feeding high levels of dark chocolate to healthy people over twelve weeks doubled their MED; feeding low levels of dark chocolate had no effect on the MED.

Similarly, another study found that a high-flavanol-from-cacao group had greater resistance to a given UV dosage than a low-flavanol-from-cacao group (who actually saw no benefit at all) over a six and twelve-week period.

Those interested in a fairly comprehensive compendium of chocolate research can check it out here. I tried to stick to in vivo research, but there’s more theoretical stuff out there too.

Seeing as how most of chocolate’s benefits stem from the polyphenol content, and most of the studies that saw large effects used “high-flavanol” dark chocolate, you should be gunning for chocolate with high polyphenol counts. Dutch processed, or alkalized, chocolate lightens the color, removes some of the bitter compounds, and gives it a milder taste. Awesome for Hershey’s Kisses, but awful for the flavanol content. Those “bitter compounds,” you see, are the flavanols. Without the bitterness (which I think of as complexity), you’re missing most of the beneficial polyphenols. It might taste good, but it won’t perform all of the aforementioned physiological tasks. To quantify the extent of the degradation, check out the results of this study on the flavanol contents of cacao powders subjected to various degrees of alkalization:

  • Natural – 34.6 mg/g
  • Lightly processed – 13.8 mg/g
  • Medium processed – 7.8 mg/g
  • Heavily processed – 3.9 mg/g

Once you’ve got a lead on some good chocolate with high cacao and lower sugar levels, eat a few squares a sitting. Exercise restraint, however, as it is still candy and it shouldn’t make up a large block of calories. Treat it like a condiment, or even a medicinal adjunct to an otherwise solid diet. If you’re sensitive to stimulants, avoid chocolate too close to bedtime.

If you get your hands on some high quality cacao powder (raw – which is actually fermented – or roasted, but never Dutch processed), try making coconut cacao milk. Mix half a (BPA-free) can or carton of coconut milk with a couple tablespoons of cacao powder. Heat on the stove until almost simmering. Add sweetener to taste and, if you’re adventurous, a bit of cayenne, cinnamon, and turmeric. Enjoy!

Anyway, that’s it for today. I think I’ve presented the case for high-cacao dark chocolate – not that you were exactly a tough crowd or anything! Thanks for reading and be sure to give your thoughts – including quality sources and recommended methods of ingestion – in the comment section!

You want comments? We got comments:

Imagine you’re George Clooney. Take a moment to admire your grooming and wit. Okay, now imagine someone walks up to you and asks, “What’s your name?” You say, “I’m George Clooney.” Or maybe you say, “I’m the Clooninator!” You don’t say “I’m George of George Clooney Sells Movies Blog” and you certainly don’t say, “I’m Clooney Weight Loss Plan”. So while spam is technically meat, it ain’t anywhere near Primal. Please nickname yourself something your friends would call you.

  1. As if anyone needed more excuses to eat chocolate! :)

    Abel James wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • haha, agreed! :)

      Becca wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • took the words right outta my mouth!

      Burn wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Put your shirt on already

      Steve wrote on February 7th, 2013
    • I can’t fine anywhere on the chocolate bar where it shows how much polyphenol it contains?????

      Lotus wrote on October 31st, 2014
  2. After reading this, I feel so good about my dark chocolate hot chocolate indulgence last night.

    We have a number of chocolate shoppes in our area and it is such a hardship to have to taste test my way through them. :-)

    Happycyclegirl wrote on February 21st, 2012
  3. *sigh* if I must…

    Stevemid wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • I ♥ your avatar :-)

      peggy wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Ahahaha!! Me too!!

      Jasmina wrote on February 21st, 2012
  4. Time to go to my local health food store and get some supar-dark chocolate! :]

    Mark Pieciak wrote on February 21st, 2012
  5. Chocolate for everyone please!

    Paul Alexander wrote on February 21st, 2012
  6. With the amount of chocolate I consume, I could be the healthiest person on the earth :)

    Gabriel wrote on February 21st, 2012
  7. Divine 70% dark chocolate. Organic, fair trade, and fabulous. The End.

    Anne wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • The small bar of Divine 70% only has about 12 g carbs.

      Kim wrote on February 21st, 2012
  8. My daily afternoon snack is 2 squares 100% cacao and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Take a small bite of cacao and a small bite of coconut oil.

    …Tim

    Tim Huntley wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Before I tasted 99% cacao I would put a drop or 2 of honey on a 100% cacao square. I’ve never tried coconut oil on a 100% cacao square but I am sure it is divine!

      Primal Toad wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • For some reason, the coconut oil seems to add a slight hint of sweetness, just enough to make it work and not taste bitter.

        Tim Huntley wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • gonna have to give this a try!

      Becca wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Wow. That’s hardcore.

      gilliebean wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • It seems normal to me at this point :)

        Tim Huntley wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • I’ve been making “cocoa” with hot water, coconut oil, KG butter, & cocoa powder…

      peggy wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • How much do you use of each? This sounds wonderful :)

        Emily wrote on February 21st, 2012
        • Bulletproof hot cocoa FTW!!

          1 tablespoon cocoa powder
          1 teaspoon coconut oil
          2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
          12 ounces boiling water
          Flavoring (Optional: cinnamon OR vanilla extract OR mint extract)
          Stevia (optional)

          The key is to whizz it with a handblender, food processor, or quick whisking until it foams.

          oxide wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Sounds good. I’ll have to try that.

      Doug wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • Oxide,
        When you use the hand blender do you use the attachment with the blade or the whisk?
        Thank you.

        Alina wrote on July 30th, 2012
    • Here is something new for me to try. Thanks for the idea!

      My favorite daily snack is high quality dark chocolate with fruit or berries. Quick, satisfying, delicious and healthy!

      Phillip Minton, M.D. wrote on June 26th, 2012
  9. God eats chocolate for sure.

    Samantha Moore wrote on February 21st, 2012
  10. for years i’ve been making a “chocolate tonic” for cold drinking, of 1 t. of cocoa per cup of water, with a smidge of sea-salt, brought to a simmer and allowed to cool. recently, i’ve been experimenting with making it into a water-kefir (no sweetener added), and it shows promise….

    tess wrote on February 21st, 2012
  11. I am a big advocate of dark chocolate. High quality dark chocolate is good for you and tastes great. I think there is no better way to satisfy your craving for sweets. Of course, moderation is the key.

    Michelle wrote on February 21st, 2012
  12. *sigh* Ah… the Primal Life. Just too good.

    Kristyan wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Seriously! That is exactly how I feel. Yesterday, we were told it’s perfectly fine to drink coffee before workouts. Bacon is unlimited. Now, this. I may actually die of happiness instead of some degenerative disease.

      Ariana wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • I so agree, diet? what diet? OMG I love this way of life, Ive never felt more alive, more fulfilled and less hungry OR looked so good. I eat 85% dark chocolate daily, and with a red wine it totally rocks.

        jane britton wrote on February 22nd, 2012
  13. I’m buying an 85%cacao bar from Trader Joes. It’s Colombian chocolate and contains cocoa mass, sugar, soy lecithin, natural vanilla. One small square has a minimal amount of sugar, some fiber and about 20calories. That’s a snack for me midday, so I have time to manage the sugar effect. My question is: is that a “good” kind of chocolate to have? Does the cocoa/cacao have high acrylamide content?

    Love that dark chocolate makes the primal cut!

    Jan J wrote on February 21st, 2012
  14. I like the 80%. I would like to try 85% but I can’t find it. The PCC by my house only carries up to 70%. I have to travel all the way to Metropolitan Market to get the good stuff.
    When I die I’ll be able to tell heaven form hell by weather there is any dark chocolate and red wine.

    Tim wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Try looking online. I recently took delivery of 20 bars of 85% Dark Chocolate from Amazon.

      Andy wrote on February 23rd, 2012
    • Does your store have an organic section? That’s where I found my current dark chocolate. I can get 72% and 88% pretty consistently, and I recently found some 85%.

      Shauna wrote on July 25th, 2012
  15. 90% Lindt for me….not organic unfortunately but it makes me positively squirm with delight every time I taste it.

    Barbara wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • I like to have a piece of dark chocolate with my butter coffee.

      conrack wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Amen, sister. I just found that on the shelves, and bought two bars, which have lasted for three weeks, now.

      I think it’s time to up my chocolate intake!

      SpyderInFlames wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Hear, hear! I was just about to type much the same, with my Lindt 90% in arms reach.

      Christoph Dollis wrote on October 30th, 2012
    • Yeah it’s Lindts 99% for me. I recently tried out Green& Black’s(funny I found it here in Germany) and I was amazed at the taste and texture. Mmmmmmhh <3

      Sad thing is, it disappeared from the Store :(

      emina wrote on November 28th, 2012
  16. I like my 90% cacao with a dab of almond butter

    MadMav wrote on February 21st, 2012
  17. The bomb: Fair trade, organic, pure. Even use cane sugar!
    http://shop.altereco-usa.com/Chocolate/c/AlterEco@Chocolate

    mark wrote on February 21st, 2012
  18. So as far as Cocoa Powder goes, your recommendation is either Raw or Roasted Powder, are there specific brands that you reccomend?

    Carrie wrote on February 21st, 2012
  19. Def get my chocolate in and do my best to get fair trade too. There is a supplier at my farmers market that I buy some. Love it!

    Mike Lieberman wrote on February 21st, 2012
  20. Justin wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Endangered Species 88% Extreme Dark is my favorite. It doesn’t seem to have an odd aftertaste I find in most of the really dark chocolates.

      And with a glass of great red wine! What a great dessert!

      Diane wrote on February 22nd, 2012
  21. Ahhhh… music to my ears. =)

    But, has anyone here ever had a problem with chocolate, or certain brands of chocolate, causing skin break-outs? Or being more or less “addictive” than some other brand? I love very dark chocolate but haven’t been able to figure out if it’s something I have to stay away from entirely (woe is me!) or if there’s some way around those problems. Any thoughts?

    Suzanne wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • i always (and by that i mean, since going primal) figured that the chocolate addictions, acne and sleeplessness of yore (and dire warnings from my mother) were down to high sugar and additives. i’d say self-experiment to be sure personally. hard to do it blind but you do the best you can.

      Anna wrote on February 21st, 2012
  22. I had 90% Lindt dissolving on my tongue as I opened my browser to find this great news!!

    Any Canadians may find that Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has a great 91% bar. Seems smoother than the Lindt, I hope it isn’t because they use overly processed ingredients…

    Hardy wrote on February 21st, 2012
  23. Will I get the same health benefits from dissolving some Hershy’s unsweetened cocao powder in hot water as I would from ah 85% cocao dark chocolate bar?

    Steve B wrote on February 21st, 2012
  24. Hershey’s milk chocolate for me- 3 candy bars a day (just kidding!)
    Seriously, though, I once experimented with dark chocolate and my blood pressure (which if I’m not careful, can run high)-within 2 weeks of daily dark chocolate, my systolic went down noticeably.
    That being said, I wasn’t aware to the extent you wrote about, of some of the other benefits chocolate has. Thanks for the great article, Mark!

    Dr. Mike Tremba wrote on February 21st, 2012
  25. Dark chocolate is far from sounding like a punishment to me! I like 85% – 90% since a long time before even switching to Primal.

    Primal life is definitely so good!

    Sebastien wrote on February 21st, 2012
  26. Well thank goodness for this right?! I already eat a few squares of Green & Black’s 85% cocoa dark organic chocolate most days. The stuff just makes you happy. Plus I usually enjoy it with a glass of red wine, extra happy ;)

    Laura, RD, LDN wrote on February 21st, 2012
  27. Chocolate mixed with milk is tasty, but I have one problem with that. I’ve tried it twice, where I mixed some of the 100% cocoa with milk and drank it. Both times, within a short period of time, I felt really sleepy, and I went to sleep for like 13 hours, and I’m sure it was because of the chocolate. Does anyone know if this is normal?

    ymm wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Sounds like it is normal for you.

      Sharon wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • It sounds to me like you got a good shot of endorphins from the chocolate concoction. That’s a good thing! I just had a cup myself, and feel sleep stealing over me as I type.

      SpyderInFlames wrote on February 21st, 2012
  28. You are right on Mark! I’ve been enjoying raw cocoa in ALL it’s forms. It makes a great hot cocoa.

    My (current) favorite:
    16oz mug + green tea bag
    pour half full w/ boiling water
    steep 2 minutes
    add 1 Tbsp raw cacoa powder
    add spices like cayenne + cinnamon
    add pinch sea salt + tiny bit of vanilla
    plain + vanilla stevia to taste
    stir
    press tea bag and remove
    pour in some raw whole milk (or coconut milk)
    fill mug with remainder hot water

    Meagan wrote on February 21st, 2012
  29. And we shall not forget avocado – cacoa powder – banana pudding!!

    Meagan wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • I keep a continuous supply of avocado cocoa power pudding. I used to use banana, but now prefer to add coconut milk and some stevia. Works well with egg or whey protein powder.

      Richard wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • How do you make avocado, cocoa powder, banana pudding???

        Jody wrote on February 22nd, 2012
        • One thing I don’t get. The paleo crowd jumps all over the phytate anti-nutrient subject with regards to seeds/grains but cocoa powder is loaded with phytates, right? What gives?

          Brad wrote on March 7th, 2012
  30. I like the 88% dark that has the picture of the panther on it. Can’t remember the brand, but it’s at the local grocery store in the organic section.

    Ed wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • That’s fair trade dark chocolate, isn’t it! :)

      gilliebean wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • I found it. It’s “Endangered Species” brand. 10% of profits go to help “species planet and humanity”.

        Look at the difference in sugar content of 70% vs 88 or 90%. It’s huge.

        Ed wrote on February 21st, 2012
        • Endangered Species’ 72% with cacao nibs – divine!! It’s the one with the bat on the label :)

          wolfwoman1st wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • The brand is “Endangered Species”. My favorite also. Next is the 99% at World Market.

      Dragonfly wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • I was loving the World Mkt 99% until I brought home a supply & discovered they had been mislabeled – hard to tell the exact percentage from tasting, but my guess was I’d been sold 70%. They took it all back but I am gun-shy & now order Dagoba 100% 6-oz baking bars from Amazon. Great Stuff!! Tried some of the sunspire 100% baking but found it too bitter.

        Jo wrote on February 23rd, 2012
        • How did you find out it was mislabeled? That’s the chocolate I eat everyday :(

          Carlos wrote on April 19th, 2012
  31. Dr. Oz had a show recently where his guest recommended dark chocolate to increase sex drive. I keep leaving bars of it around the house for the Missus to discover…

    Rewind wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Would you email my husband and suggest that to him?

      gilliebean wrote on February 21st, 2012
  32. Grate some dark chocolate on whole fat Greek yogurt, sprinkle on some toasted almonds(a pinch of celtic sea salt) add some strawberries and you’ve got pure healthy decadence :)

    JackieVB wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • That sounds absolutely amazing.

      primalblonde wrote on February 23rd, 2012
  33. For a little extra. I’ve actually mixed up to 1:1 coconut milk and very neutral bone broth with a bit of cocoa(sweetening spices like cinammon, vanilla, etc). but if you make your broth with meaty bones don’t try this at home. The meat flavor is too strong.

    dave wrote on February 21st, 2012
  34. Okay, I set my jaw and read through your whole post…before I allowed myself to go to the pantry for a Lindt 90% bar. It was tough!

    I like that variety because it doesn’t contain the soy lecithin and I can afford it. I really found inspiration in the drink variations discussed. I’ve recently started honey and cinnamon plus coconut oil in my morning coffee. I’m thinking a spoonful of chocolate added might be nice.

    Thanks for the blessing, Mark!

    carol wrote on February 21st, 2012
  35. I’ve made my own Mounds bar… Melt said dark chocolate in a bowl with some CO. When melted stir in unsweetened coconut flakes. I put that in the freezer. When solid I break into pieces I keep in a bag in the freezer. Can’t get better then that!

    lorraine wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • oh that’s heavenly! i have to try it!

      HopelessDreamer wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Have a batch in the fridge now, thanks! :-)

      rarebird wrote on February 21st, 2012
  36. Taza has some good bar/tablets. Grainy, rustic texture and berry overtones. Their dark choc almonds, and chips are good too. no lecithin either.

    Many of the more common brands availible in stores are pretty earthy(read: dirt).

    Try tasting it like wine there are definite layers of flavors, textures,mouth feel.

    My sis swears by Amadei cru and finds Scharfenberger a little heavy handed and overpowering in its berry tones. side note: Sharfenberger is owned by Hershey’s and started adding Soy Lecithin in all of their bars.

    dave wrote on February 21st, 2012
  37. Wonderful stuff. Only problem is that as coeliacs, we have to make sure our chocolate isn’t contaminated with wheat. So far, we have proved (the hard way) that Lindt and Tesco’s own are safe. Any other recommendations for England?

    Jenny W wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Try the Co-op 85% Ghanaian – very nice. Packaging says it may contain gluten, nuts & wheat – but guess they have to cover themselves.

      Sian wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Try ordering from Ocado – these brands are great: Pralus, Cluizel and Valrhona.

      gwhitney wrote on February 22nd, 2012
  38. I have eaten even small amounts of organic 85% dark chocolate and it gave me what appeared to be insomnia like effects. This does not occur all the time however… but it has happened. Either I am crazy or I am having a reaction to the caffeine or theobromine in the chocolate. It could be some other strange reason for all that I know.

    Perhaps someone can shed some light on this.

    Chris wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • chocolate can keep you awake- it does have those stimulants in it. each person is sensitive to a different degree.

      HopelessDreamer wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • Cancerclasses to the rescue! and Dave Asprey, @bulletproofexec dot com too for another possibility:

      “I’ve sampled high-end chocolate from around the world and finally settled on Lindt 90% dark chocolate as my preferred source. The reason is that Lindt has European standards for mold levels in chocolate, so the chocolate is surprisingly smooth and sweet for a chocolate that dark, and it’s lower in toxins than typical chocolate. In fact, many people who are “allergic” to chocolate are just responding to the naturally occurring toxins in cheap chocolate.”

      Also:
      “One of the reasons the Bulletproof Diet is different from a regular paleo diet is the special attention to toxins. Xenoestrogens, mycotoxins, and other substances can act as “obesigens” (compounds that make you fat). Plastics can leach BPA into your water which disrupts hormone production. Molds and fungi produce mycotoxins that can be in your food, your house, or your gut. Watch this video to learn how to avoid mycotoxins.” bulletproofexec DOT kom BACKSLASH bulletproof-body

      Sorry for the horn tootin’ there.

      cancerclasses wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • More from Dave re chocolate:
        “I recommend European chocolates because the mold standards in Europe are better than in the US. Lindt is the most consistently mold-free in my experience, and it’s affordable and widely available at most grocery stores. But even so, about 20% of the batches of Lindt I try seem to have mycotoxin problems. I can tell because a) I’m hyper-trained to be aware of my mental and physical state and b) I used to live in a house with toxic mold, so my immune system is primed to respond quickly.

        You should buy a bar of Lindt 90% dark and try it on an empty stomach away from other foods. Watch how you feel – do you get joint pain, very dry mouth, stomach pain, or headaches? If so, that is not the batch for you. If you feel fine for the first hour or two, you’re probably eating good chocolate, and you can have more.”

        cancerclasses wrote on February 21st, 2012
        • And a tiny bit more:
          “I highly recommend you store opened chocolate in the freezer or fridge, as the mold will continue to grow on opened bars of chocolate that sit out overnight.

          I’ve researched ways to test chocolate for mold at home, and there isn’t a viable way to do it, yet. Give me some time and I’ll solve that too!”

          cancerclasses wrote on February 21st, 2012
        • Huh, that is interesting, because I am allergic to mold.

          That would explain quite a bit…

          Thanks!

          Chris wrote on February 21st, 2012
      • Yes! I have tested allergic to chocolate – but am also allergic to molds. Like you, I was heavily exposed to mold and became sensitized and observant.

        I find that Lindt 85% and 90% cause me few problems – if I eat small amounts – 1 to 2 squares – and not every day. I store them in the freezer in a freezer bag. An open package stays in the fridge chill drawer, carefully closed.

        rarebird wrote on February 21st, 2012
    • I’m caffeine sensitive and tend to be careful about chocolate in the PM.

      rarebird wrote on February 21st, 2012
  39. Has anyone tried Crio Bru yet? it’s roasted cacao beans that you grind and step in a french press. I want to try it, maybe mixing some good coffee and the cacao, but I haven’t bought any yet…

    Ruth wrote on February 21st, 2012
  40. I’ll gladly take this advice! Definitely no arm twisting needed. Your recipe for cacao coconut milk sounds divine!

    Debra wrote on February 21st, 2012

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