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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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April 22 2014

The Dark Side of Dark Chocolate

By Mark Sisson
154 Comments

Dark ChocolateI love dark chocolate. You love dark chocolate. Everyone but the most soulless, coldhearted, and puppy-hating among us love dark chocolate. And I hesitated even writing this post because the scientific evidence that dark chocolate offers numerous health benefits when consumed in moderation is substantial and, in my opinion, undeniable. However, there is a “dark side” to dark chocolate. That doesn’t mean dark chocolate is “bad,” just that nothing in this life is binary. Like any other healthy food we eat, there are caveats and limitations. Things to keep in mind.

So let’s take a look at some of the murkier aspects of dark chocolate to see if there’s anything we would be better of being aware of.

It’s food, not manna from the gods with magical properties and negative calories.

As healthy as it (or any food) might be, and as many unique polyphenols and hepatoprotective fatty acids and reactive oxygen species-scavenging abilities it might have, dark chocolate still contains calories. It’s still energy-dense candy that will make you gain weight if you eat too much of it. 100 grams of dark chocolate has over 500 calories, give or take and depending on sugar content. That’s a solid meal that some people are treating like a free supplement.

How much is too much? That depends on what you do with the rest of your day. If you’re really active and/or account for chocolate in your overall food intake, you can eat a bit more. But a little bit goes a long way. That’s exactly why I suggest (and personally prefer) the high-cacao chocolates – you get more bang for your buck and don’t need (or want) so much. A square, maybe two squares, maybe three or four of the 85%+ dark chocolate provides plenty of benefits and any more is frankly unpalatable. Studies showing the cardiovascular and blood flow benefits of chocolate use anything from 6.3 grams to 100 grams of chocolate, with most falling somewhere in the middle. This is potent stuff and you don’t really need a lot of it.

Not all chocolate is created equal.

I probably don’t have to say this, but any chocolate with less than 85% cacao is veering dangerously close to Hershey’s territory. The dark chocolate you eat should be bitter. It should bite back. It should last ten or fifteen seconds in your mouth before melting. Again, not all chocolate is created equal.

It might be addictive.

Scientists aren’t sure what’s responsible for the “addiction,” but people definitely crave chocolate. It’s the most commonly craved food in most studies on the topic.

But why?

It’s probably a combination of the sugar, the psychoactive compounds in cocoa (caffeine, theobromine, anandamide, and dozens of others yet to be quantified and qualified), the texture, and the high calorie content that make chocolate such an attractive food. Who doesn’t like sweet, energy-dense, delicious, mood-altering food?

Eating too much, even of a good thing like chocolate, can have negative metabolic effects that counteract the beneficial ones.

It can contain mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins are, well, toxins produced by mold. Aflatoxin-producing molds are endemic in the tropics and frequently show up in commodity crops like coffee, corn, peanuts, and cacao. Of cocoa products, dark chocolate is the most likely to have mycotoxins, while low-cocoa chocolates like white chocolate have very little to none. Is it a problem?

I think it depends. Certain people seem especially sensitive to mycotoxins. Take Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Executive, who really harps on the mycotoxin issue and gets a lot of flak for it from people who think he’s exaggerating. It’s clear that he’s sensitive to them while others are not. Mycotoxins clearly do exist in some samples of dark chocolate, though rarely exceeding levels generally recognized to be safe. They’re not imaginary. Do I worry about them? Not personally, because I haven’t noticed any negative symptoms, they’re not present in every piece of dark chocolate, and when they are present it rarely exceeds the safety limit (which, again, might be too high for some individuals).

If dark chocolate is giving you symptoms of mycotoxin toxicity, or any negative symptoms for that matter, you shouldn’t eat it.

Cocoa flavanols are excellent, but there is no way to know the flavanol content of a particular bar.

Eating dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao (85% and up) is a good start, but any two given bars, even if they’re from the same batch with identical cacao content, will have different levels of flavanols. That’s a natural consequence of consuming real, whole food. The nutrient content of two members of the same plant species will differ from one to another, as mother nature doesn’t deal with beakers and microgram scales when she’s doling out the micronutrients and producing polyphenols.

But it does mean that your favorite dark chocolate that tastes so good and so smooth that you can’t believe it’s chock full of antioxidants might not be so healthy. Cocoa flavanols are generally quite bitter, so bitterness is a rough barometer for antioxidant content.

It contains a substance “related to amphetamine.”

In just about every scary anti-cocoa article I’ve read, the author makes a big deal about a chocolate alkaloid called phenethylamine (PEA). What is PEA? PEA is in the same chemical family as amphetamine, MDMA (ecstasy), mescaline (found in peyote), and all sorts of illicit substances, but it’s also a human neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation, and we endogenously manufacture psychoactive amounts of PEA in our own bodies on a regular basis. Does this mean our central nervous systems are basically meth labs? No. PEA is an important neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood and can trigger the release of dopamine and norepinephrine. Some have even called it the “love hormone.”

Besides, oral PEA isn’t active unless you inhibit monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that breaks it down and prevents it from reaching the brain. If you want to get the stimulatory and other psychoactive, potentially negative effects of PEA, you have to take a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) along with it. In fact, since depressed people have lower levels of PEA and related metabolites, concurrent PEA and MAOI supplementation has been shown to improve mood and have anti-depressant qualities. Chocolate also improves mood, although via polyphenol action, not PEA. Perhaps depressed people who tend to eat more chocolate are actually (and successfully) trying to self-medicate.

Are we chocolate-eaters safe from PEA, then? A recent study posits a connection between chocolate, PEA, and Parkinson’s disease, and in vitro research suggests a mechanism for PEA-induced neurodegeneration. But they’re talking about endogenous PEA – the kind that’s made in the body and gets to the brain – not chocolate-derived PEA. And another study found that PEA levels are depressed in patients with Parkinson’s disease, so there’s no clear answer either way.

It can cause migraines.

One of the more commonly reported migraine triggers is dark chocolate, with the caffeine, phenethylamine, and/or tyramine content getting the blame. Caffeine is present in greater amounts in many other foods, like coffee and tea – although many caffeine abstainers could be unaware of the caffeine in chocolate and thus susceptible to it. PEA is a minor part of chocolate that isn’t even orally active, while tyramine is found in greater amounts in cheese, aged meats, and other cured or fermented items.

But one trial found that among frequent migraine and other headache sufferers, dark chocolate was no more a trigger than carob. An earlier double blind study in people who reported having migraines after consuming chocolate also found that chocolate was not the cause. One theory is that whatever is causing the migraine also causes the desire for and subsequent consumption of chocolate.

Still, a migraine is nothing to be trifled with, and I find it hard to believe that everyone reporting chocolate as a trigger is “just mistaken” or “lying to themselves.” I don’t discount personal, direct experience as readily as some. Don’t eat chocolate if it triggers migraines.

It supports child slavery, depending on the source.

A disconcertingly large portion of the cacao grown on the Ivory Coast of West Africa is handled by child laborers, often indentured against their will. Slaves, essentially.

Child slavery/labor doesn’t affect the nutrient content of the chocolate, but I find it does leave a bad taste in the mouth. Some would counter that it’s difficult to find any food with purely ethical origins. That may be true. Agriculture can be a dirty business. Still, it’s good to make better choices when we can and when we know that an ethical problem exists. Spending a little extra or being more discerning in your choice of chocolate may not bring about world peace or end suffering, but it does make a small difference. It’s better than nothing. And hey, the producers that pay attention to labor ethics tend to also pay attention to the quality of their chocolate.

Here’s a list of companies that get their chocolate from ethical farms. And here’s another list. These aren’t exhaustive, but they get you started. You can also look for “Fair Trade” on the label.

In lieu of a “Fair Trade”-type stamp on the package, get chocolate made from cacao grown in South or Central America, since child labor/slavery isn’t an issue in those regions.

All that said, do I still recommend the regular if moderate consumption of dark chocolate? Yes. I was worried about the coming chocolate shortage disrupting the steady flow of my “brown gold” if you people kept buying up all the chocolate. Potential problems exist, but none of them are so monumental that you should fear the stuff. Obviously, if dark chocolate gives you migraines, triggers binges, or makes you feel awful and gain belly fat, don’t eat it. But if you’re enjoying your dark chocolate and your health is good and you’re pleased with the effect it has on your body weight, go for it.

Just remember that dark chocolate is ultimately candy – a high quality treat with specific health benefits that you should savor and enjoy in moderate doses, not gorge on as if it were a meal.

Thanks for reading, everyone. What are your thoughts? Is dark chocolate overrated as a health food?

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154 thoughts on “The Dark Side of Dark Chocolate”

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  1. I’ve always liked white chocolate the best and then milk chocolate. Dark chocolate was always my least favorite. I was always in it for the sugar hit! Eventually you’d just find me in the gutter mainlining marshmallow peeps.

    1. Re. the white chocolate, me too. I’ve never liked dark chocolate (too bitter), rarely eat milk chocolate, and have never craved chocolate of any kind. Given a choice of flavors, I always preferred to get my sugar fix from something other than chocolate. I guess I’m just weird, or lack the chocolate gene or something. I must lack the marshmallow gene too since I wouldn’t be caught dead eating Peeps.

      1. Apparently I don’t have the chocolate gene either. I have a soul, love puppies (and kitties) and I have a warm heart- i just don’t like chocolate of any kind. I have plenty of other vices so I’m OK with not having chocolate as one!

        1. I have never liked chocolate either. When I was a child & people gave me chocolate Easter eggs, they would still be in my cupboard uneaten at Christmas!

      2. I agree..I like chocolate good enough…my pick would be milk chocolate, if I ate it, but CARAMEL that my fix..especially salted caramel ice cream….don’t eat it now that I’m primal, ’cause I know its not good for me.

  2. After eating more chocolate than I should on Easter Sunday, I’ve been staying away from all forms of chocolate. Though I’ll probably have another bite in a few weeks.

  3. Thanks for the information on Mycotoxins. Chocolate, especially high cocoa chocolate makes me sick in minutes. It took years to figure out what the trigger was and avoid chocolate, although I never ‘preferred’ chocolate even as a kid. For a long time I thought it was venison since I had a couple of incidents after eating venison without making the connection it was the chocolate dessert after the meal.

    1. It took me months to figure out that dark chocolate is making me sick, It was bad enough that I end up in the hospital going through all sort of tests trying to diagnose the cause, with no result. By pure chance I had to go off all the coffeine (and i don’t drink tea or coffee, so that meat only chocolate elimination) and all my symptoms are gone!

      1. I know with my horses I feed a toxin binder to combat the mycotoxins that grow on grass. My horse is susceptable to them. They cause digestive issues which lead to a raft of different ailments from laminitis (de-laminating of the hoof wall) to photosensitivity (sunburn and eye issues). Dairy farmers often feed toxin binder as well because silage, baleage and rye pasture contains too many mycotoxins for the cows to deal with.

        I wonder if there is a human equivalent that could help those people who are sensitive to mycotoxins?

  4. You said to look for “Free Trade” chocolate. I think you meant “Fair Trade.”
    Free trade means unfettered by import limits, labor laws, environmental regulations- anything that could stand in the way of making money, basically.
    Fair trade means ethical treatment of farm workers, fair wages, and smart environmental stewardship.
    It’s confusing to just about everyone that the two phrases are so similar.

    1. Import limits are incredibly unfair and hinders choice. I love having prices artificially high, don’t you?

      That being said fair trade is over all better, but it DOESN’T guarantee environmental stewardship.

  5. For people with herpes another dark aspect of dark chocolate is that it’s high in L-arginine. Herpes feeds off L-arginine.

    1. Yup. I love dark chocolate and pretty much got addicted to eating the 90% stuff mixed with almond butter and coconut oil. Only after 5 cold sores within about 6 months did I make the connection and give it up 🙁

      1. I had the same experience.

        I was sad because I loved the 85-90% dark chocolate. I viewed it as a treat.

        My plan is to add some to my diet in parallel with a lysine supplement. Lysine and arginine compete for the same receptors. If I can block the arginine with the lysine maybe I can still eat chocolate.

        But is chocolate worth the hassle?

  6. “A square, maybe two squares, maybe three or four…” Yep, that’s how it begins…

    1. Yes, I’ve found this too. On and off over the last 5 Primal years I’ve had chocolate in and out of the diet.

      It certainly triggers me into wanting more and more and slipping into the marshmallow swamp as well!

      The caffeine/theobromine content seems to be an issue for me. I’m much more even about all foods when they are out of the equation.

      I’ve recently read in a natural HRT book that some clinical studies have linked caffeine (and its fellow stimulants) with breast tenderness. I cut the stimulants out 6 weeks back and voila no tenderness and a cycle returning to 28 days. I suspect once into peri-menopause the hormonal balance is more sensitive to some of these stimulants.

      I’m also a chronic insomniac and know that the fewer the stimulants the better and theobromine clears the body much more slowly that caffeine, in fact it breaks down via caffeine so you kind of have a double hit. Dark chocolate has higher levels of theobromine than other foods and it is postulated it is this chemical that is involved in the addictive potential.

  7. I used to have ridiculous chocolate cravings. I could literally eat bars of baker’s chocolate. Once I addressed a severe magnesium deficiency, my chocolate cravings went to a more typical level (I like to have one or two squares of 90% cacao chocolate once every day or two). I am guessing that the high levels of magnesium in chocolate have something to do with this.

    1. Eating unsweetened baking chocolate as I read this… (breakfast of champions!) I was just looking into the magnesium issue as well. Interesting.

  8. In addition to the points raised here, dark chocolate also tends to contain a substantial amount of heavy metals, I believe – albeit depending on the cocoa-growing area, and the overall impact appears to be a controversial issue.

    1. My sister works for the State of California on lead issues. Apparently, lots of third-world countries still use leaded gas. I’m sure there are lists of lead-free chocolate. I don’t know off hand where they are.

      1. Harry,

        I would assume you are right. I am personally not into any kind of chocolate; I just heard about this issue from a friend who is doing research on the link between cadmium exposure via food and kidney disease, and thought it deserved to be mentioned.

      2. Lots of second-world countries also still use leaded gas–Italy is one.

        1. Wait – Italy is a second-world country in your book? Interesting perspective…

        2. The division of the world into three worlds was political not about living standards. The first world was the US and its allies. The Second world was the communist countries. The third world was everyone else. The terms have made little sense for the last 20 years and have shifted in their meanings a bit but but Italy was always part of the first world.

        3. From the point of view of the US and its allies, anyway. From the Soviet perspective, the USSR and its allies were first world countries, and the US and allies were second world.

          1. Not true. USSR never divided the world like US did. US did it in order to control the world. So the division was part of their big plan to create coups, to get involved in all parts of the world. Current example is a quasi-state Ukraine, where senator McCain was instrumental in organizing a fascist coup with a goal to make Ukraine another American puppet. The plot has failed but left this artificial country in economic disarray.

        4. Italy hasn’t been using leaded fuel since 2002, just like everyone else in the EU, as the same regulations apply to all EU countries.

    2. You’re right- lead, nickel, and cadmium. Consumer Labs has an excellent review of different dark chocolate products, rating them on various factors including heavy metal content.

  9. Despite all my adhering to a Paleo approach to diet, I seem unable to shake my “love affair” with dark chocolate. I’m not sure if life is worth living without the dark chocolate, and an occasional glass of red wine. Darn it! Any suggestions on what to replace it with? I too like a treat of some kind at the end of a long day.

    1. A little red wine and chocolate are fine under Primal unless you have serious problems with some of the issues Mark mentions.

    2. I have not tried this, but apparently Divine Organics make a Raw PILI NUT BUTTER with coconut sugar in & if you stir it so that it is very liquid & then pour it into a chocolate mould & then put it into the fridge to harden, it tastes like chocolate & doesn’t have any cacao in. Pili nuts contain a lot of magnesium just the same as chocolate does & appear to have a lot of health benefits. I have no idea whether they are any better or worse for you than cacao, but for anyone not able to eat cacao, but miss the chocolate taste, it may be worth a try.

    3. Don’t “replace” it with anything. Eat the chocolate, drink the wine! LIVE life!

  10. Thanks for the info on slave-free chocolate. I just did a report on slavery in 18th and 19th century England. The slave ships and slavery on Caribbean Islands was deeply evil. People in England sort of knew that but they just “had to have” sugar for their coffee, tea and chocolate. (Sound familiar?) And white people couldn’t (wouldn’t) work under those conditions, so what could they do.

    Slavery was officially abolished nearly everywhere in the 19th century. But there are more slaves now than at any time in history, an estimated 30 million de facto slaves. There are long lists of slave-free chocolate brands. There is no excuse for not choosing it.

    I have mostly been buying Endangered Species brand. I see that they don’t quite have a perfect score. Hmmm.

    1. Good you bought that up, When I was a kid (I was born in 1961) I thought that slavery was something that happened in the bad old days before William Wilberforce and Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately as we now know, it’s very much alive and well in the 21st century. The 30 million slaves you spoke of, is two and a half to over three times the number (depending on which historian you speak to) of Africans shipped to the Americas in four centuries of legal slave trading. Every little bit to raise public awareness helps.

    2. Endangered Species used to have a better supply chain for their chocolate, but moved toward a very lax certification in the “Rainforest Alliance” seal. Now they do not have anyone overseeing their sourcing to let the consumer know where items are coming from- a true red flag! Some amazing Authentic Fair Trade brands (meaning the sources are traceable and come from small cooperative farms) : Equal Exchange (also a worker coop), Divine, Alter Eco, Theo.

  11. But chocolate, like beer, wine, sausage, asparagus and some kinds of cheese and smoked fish, does contain an MAOI. Also, the sugar can be fermented by yeast in the body, and then partially metabolized into trace amounts of MAOIs. Thus, the PEA activates. I found chocolate highly stimulating long before I knew this.

  12. I don’t really like dark chocolate much. I don’t eat it; chocolate has always been about the sugar. And I’ve never craved it, not even the sweet stuff.

  13. Denise Minger sums up the diets that work for optimal health as:
    1. No processed grains
    2. No refined sugar
    3. No industrial oils
    How is chocolate ok if it isn’t 100% with no added refined sugars?

  14. Palatable chocolate is candy i.e. Kiddie Crack. Sugar and Cocoa are appropriate topics following the holiday known for an over indulgence in “chocolate” resurrection rodents. Any addictive substance that is artificially laced with sweeteners may not qualify as a health food. I must admit, my weakness is the dark chocolate almond clusters. One is never enough.

  15. Three thoughts:

    1. one further potential problem with chocolate is histamine intolerance. Because of the tyramine content, people with histamine intolerance (DAO deficiency) can’t eat chocolate (that can also be the reason for migraines)

    2. if you want to get a chocolate kick without the calories, try making “hot chocolate” with just pure cocoa powder (baking cocoa). dissolve a teaspoon or two in a mug with hot water and enjoy!

    3. maybe I’m just weird, but I can happily eat a whole bar of 85%+ chocolate. love the stuff.

    1. I didn’t know about the tyramine-histamine link. Thanks for adding the DAO deficiency information! That’s really helpful.

      1. Histamine Intolerance can be caused by things other than DAO deficiency, but that is certainly one thing. DAO deficiency could be caused by a lack of Vitamin C, vitamin B6 and copper which all increase DAO activity or otherwise you may have a polymorphism which stops DAO being formed properly. If you have a DAO deficiency (there are tests available for this) & you do not lack the required nutrients, then you can get DAO supplements (isolated from pig kidney) (e.g. Histame, HistDAO or DAOsin) to help with food related histamine intolerance.

        Pancreatic enzymes may help some people & bromelain from pineapple also may help with histamine intolerance. It is best to avoid alcohol, as this reduces DAO activity & also some medications interfere with DAO activity.

        Certain probiotics & bacteria can stimulate histamine release & some degrade histamine. I believe that lactobacillus rhamnosus, l.salivarious & Bifidus Infantis (among others) are supposed to degrade it & ones like l.casei (among others) stimulate it.

        1. Im with you on that one. Can get through a bar in 24hours easily. Have been addicted to it for a about 4 years. It isnt doing me any favours. Time to depart I feel…

  16. Dark chocolate is extremely high in oxalates, making it off-limits for anyone with a history of calcium oxalate kidney stones.

    1. Various doc’s, including my urologist, told me to avoid high-oxalate foods. My reaction was “There go most of the healthy plant foods.” My primary card doc sent me to a nephrologist, which was mostly a waste of insurance money. But he told me to take some calcium when I eat high oxalates. (He said Tums but I usually add some dairy.) You *must* eat/take the calcium *at the same time* as the oxalates. They bind together in your intestines instead of your kidneys. There is research to support this.

      1. Harry, yes, I take powdered calcium with food (Tums is full of garbage like artificial colors). I have had success finding low or medium oxalate vegetables. I eat broccoli, dino kale, squash, cauliflower, root vegetables, cabbage and lettuces off the top of my head. After I used calcium and dairy with low to medium oxalate foods I was retested and my urine oxalate value was still a little too high, meaning oxalates were getting through despite the calcium, so I’m not going to overload with dark chocolate.

      2. Citric acid is said to prevent kidney stones. The stones are often partially made up of calcium (calcuim oxalate thus being a culprit). Vit. D and K2 shunt the calcium away from soft tissue and into the bones and teeth where it belongs.

  17. I love dark chocolate. I find it’s great for telling my brain that a meal is over. Just a square or two shuts down the appetite (for a little while….).

    I’ve noticed some people essentially calling cacao poison, which doesn’t make sense to me. Why would it be so popular worldwide if that’s all it is? For all the good, there must be a little bad. The yin and yang of chocolate, if you will.

    1. I’m a huge Weston A. Price Foundation supporter, but don’t agree with their ‘never touch chocolate’ manifesto.

  18. Regarding migraines, I always thought it was the caffeine that brought them on, but apparently, it’s the opposite: a migraine is when blood vessels in the head contracting against the blood supply within, slowing down the flow. Caffeine makes those constricted blood vessels expand, aiding migraine relief. That’s why OTC migraine medicines contain both caffeine and an NSAID–both are vasodilators.

    The same thing (different area affected) happens in menstrual cramps, and coincidentally, the OTC medicines for those also contain the same combination of caffeine and NSAID–vasodilators–for the same reason.

    So why do people shell out money for both migraine relief pills AND menstrual cramp relief pills, when they’re both the same formula?

    I made an interesting discovery a few allergy seasons ago: my husband’s migraine pills worked GREAT on my painfully swollen nasal passages–I popped a couple of his Excedrin Migraine pills, and my nose quit feeling like somebody was shoving a dart up my nose, and later, I could actually breathe again. Since then, I quit buying all those OTC allergy meds (with the exception of Benadryl for food allergies).

  19. I love chocolate, crave it…..but only when I don’t get enough carbs & or calories (I am an ectomorph and we ectomorphs need more carbs than most people, who tend to be ectomorphs, mesomorphs or some combination of any of the three).

    However, when I do eat it, it is a terrible experience…after the chewing stops. I cannot eat even a single square of 72% dark, w/out terrible symptoms (becoming irritable, nose twitching, compulsive behavior, running my finger along my face where there might be a tiny, microscopic piece of flaky skin, insomnia, vivid nightmares, aggressive behavior). When it wears off, I experience blood sugar crashes (caffeine pulls sugar into the blood and can cause severe cravings for sugar/carbs/more chocolate/caffeine when it wears off), severe headaches (but only if the amount is large), and extreme fatigue. I cannot even eat 2 of Jason’s dark chocolate covered peanut butter cups. I cannot even drink DE-caffeinated tea…proof that the amount of caffeine in decaffeinated teas and coffees is still significant.

    My doctor said it is largely due to my low body weight (I’m female and 106 lbs, 5 ft 7). He said children often experience many of the same symptoms I do, when exposed to caffeine. I wonder if he’s right. Does anyone experience these effects? And think low body weight might be to blame? Just curious…

    1. Are you sure you need more carbs?? It sounds like you would benefit from more animal fat.

      1. No, been having 15-20 pints of sugar free coconut frozen desert, fatty fish, dark chicken thighs & dark turkey legs & thighs, beef, ground bison, tons of olive oil, nuts, avocado…..I am 2-3 lbs over my natural weight of 104 (I am around 5 ft 6.5 or 5 ft 7)…too much fat has done this, never had cellulite on my buttocks before (not that it’s a lot, it’s a little but still…). And I know I need more carbs bc that’s what I crave, esp. on lift days, I lift weights.

      2. Haha, that’s 15-20 pints a month…forget to put that in there. Also, don’t need more fat, my cholesterol has gone up from 120 to 244 since I’ve changed my diet to include all that fat…def. not more fat. Oh, and add Kettle chips in there too, which I have quit as of a couple months ago along w/ the coconut deserts. It will go down now…and those 2-3 lbs are about half gone…I am doing it slowly, since I don’t want to cut calories. Tried 1,200 a day diet and just didn’t stick to it, too low.

  20. Cacao powder? Does Cacao powder have the same properties and effects as chocolate? I know it is missing the cacao butter.

    1. Michael, I have the same concerns.
      I am wondering about taking the real (minimally processed) stuff: Raw Certified Organic Cacao Powder (I have settled on Healthworks, I like the taste over Navitas). I am now using 3 tbsp (4-5 days a week), 2 in the morning with my coffee, and 1 in the afternoon (with my coconut milk and whey protein), and only on the days I workout.
      I wonder if I might be taking a little too much.

      1. I drink de-caf, and generally have gotten bored with coffee.

        So my coffee is a home-made cappuccino (de-caf), with a coffee spoon of cacao powder, 5 dashes of turmeric, a dash of pepper.

        Keeps it interesting and gets some good supplements too.

        My wife hates the taste.

        1. Hey, Michael, the new cluster of pimples on my face (never had anything like this) is a sign for me to dial down the dosage. I am going to take a break, then go back to one tbsp 5 days a week. Thanks!

  21. These are the reasons why I make my own chocolate at home.
    Just high quality pure cocoa butter + unsweetened cocoa powder = 100% dark chocolate, but beats most 80-85% chocolates around.

    1. I assume you just melt the two together – what percentage of cocoa butter to cacoa powder do you use? I might have to try this 🙂

      1. I work with a scale: 200 grams of cocoa butter for 100 grams of unsweetened cocoa powder.

        Sometimes I add, either:
        – 50 grams of maple syrup, or
        – 25 grams of maple syrup and 25 grams of vanilla molasse
        I get a fantastic 85% dark chocolate without HFCS, soy lecithin or hydrogenated oils from unspecified vegetables.

        Adding more maple syrup (or anything liquid, I tried orange juice once) is not good, the risk is that the mix becomes uneven or doesn’t become solid at all and stays creamy, unless that’s what you are looking for of course.

    2. Where do you buy your high quality pure cocoa butter? what brand?
      I make some “chocolate” mixing coconut oil and cocoa powder, then letting it set for a few minutes in the freezer.

      1. Chocolate with coconut oil is very good, too. Unfortunately it tends to stay creamy, so you can’t make a chocolate bar (but it is excellent for toppings).

        I live in Switzerland and I change sources often, so I wouldn’t know what to recommend. Good industrial butter and powder that you may find overthere are those from Barry Callebaut.

        1. Lucky you! You live in chocolate paradise!
          Regarding the creamy texture, that’s why I put it in the freezer (a thin layer) for a few minutes, until it starts to solidify, and eat it right away. I’ll look for Barry Callebaut products. Thanks.

        2. If you mix melted coconut oil and cocoa powder with some frozen shredded coconut and/or frozen pecan or walnut pieces it solidifies almost instantly. I make a single (small) serving in less than a minute and eat it with a spoon … like I’m doing right now. I used to add a bit of vanilla and Swerve but don’t bother with it anymore. Yum!

  22. I like the mood improvement. Some mornings are just too “dark” for me so a little square of really bitter chocolate does the trick. I was thinking of making a change to a cup of some 100% powder mixed with coconut oil, coconut milk and butter for a morning drink instead of coffee. Sounds good, maybe it will be good.

  23. Great information. I eat one 88% square most mornings (sometimes two on the weekend … is it the weekend yet LOL), Endangered Species brand. Disappointing they did not make the slave-free list.

  24. Re migraines – migraines can be triggered by almost anything. Despite years of research, there’s not much that can be said about what causes them (blood vessel constriction, chemical imbalance etc). It basically depends what happens to be the trigger on any given day; what tips the balance between a good day, and a day hiding under the duvet. On some days I can eat 2 satsumas and nothing happens. On others, even the smell of orange triggers a migraine. Just an accumulation of things, and on that day, that’s what it was. I did find once that if I ate normal milk chocolate and drank tea at the same time that could trigger them…

    And although lots of people say “dark chocolate”, I have found that it’s anything (and I do mean “anything”) containing sugar. BUT, as Mark points out, it is proven that migraines can make sugar cravings worse, rather than just perhaps on that day acting as a trigger. Indeed, I was told by my specialist (I have suffered from migraines all my adult life – days like today are utterly miserable, but thankfully they’re relatively few and far between) to take my drugs dissolved in a sugary fizzy drink. Apparently they are absorbed faster. I used to have to eat pasta or toast when I had an attack. I cannot eat a “normal” palaeo meal (meat and veg). It makes me feel utterly ill. I now keep gluten free pasta (I know! I know!) for those bad days, and am getting better at eating “normally”.

    Now I love chocolate and sweeties and stuff, but I also love proper dark chocolate. But I cannot eat more than a square or so of dark chocolate. Which is A Good Thing in my view.

  25. Thanks for this write up! A great read summing up and clearing up relevant issues. I shall continue to enjoy my few squares of dark chocolate a day.

  26. Hotel Chocolat (in the UK) do dark choc up to 100% and milk choc with less sugar. It’s my 20% and I feel NO guilt at consuming it in moderation, especially when my only other sugar intake is a bit of honey here and there and occasional fruit.

  27. I had a habit of eating Lindt 85% for a long time. I ate about 2 squares a day. This stuff will stain your teeth like crazy. It’ll come off with a few minutes of brushing with a whitening toothpaste (which I don’t use regularly) or at a dental cleaning but it also costs you some enamel. Its slow but adds up over time.

  28. As someone who makes had crafted, small batch, artisan made Mexican style chocolate I feel I must speak up!

    People throw around the term “dark chocolate” without knowing what they are talking about. According to chocolate industry standards, dark chocolate is simply chocolate containing no milk solids. One of the chocolates I make at Chiammaya Custom Crafted Chocolate is more than 65% sugar yet it is still dark chocolate. ALL of my chocolate is made with only four ingredients, organic cacao beans from south and Central America, organic cinnamon, almonds and sugar.

    I make four blends 32% cacao, 42% cacao and 71% cacao. Still more sugar than Mark would like but if I had enough interest I could make 85% or more bars.

    Yes, it is the right thing to so to know the source of your chocolate but it is also important to know the definitions of what you are speaking.

  29. I enjoy dark chocolate but I don’t eat it very often. I think that for me, chocolate is unique in that it is the only food I can think of where the more bitter it is, the more I like it. Most foods I can’t stand if there is even a hint of bitterness. I’ve always wondered if this is an indicator of a broken carb metabolism.

  30. Chocolate is definitely a natural “love drug.” I’ve interviewed several chocolate makers who equate themselves to drug dealers, as they make people feel good with their delicious products. Works for me!

  31. Thanks for the great article Mark! It’s always good to have a reminder that dark chocolate is CANDY after all. Around the holidays I love to make raw truffles with cacao powder, cacao butter, hazelnuts and dates. Yum!! Other times of the year I try to buy my chocolate in individually wrapped squares to keep my ‘chocolate monster’ under control 🙂

  32. I can’t agree with your closing comment that “dark chocolate is ultimately candy.” I think that if one sources chocolate bars made of pure, dark chocolate of at least 70% cocoa and preferably higher, you are indeed eating a healthy food if consumed in moderation. I always tell people to read the labels on their chocolate. If sugar is the first ingredient, put it down! If the bar contains only cocoa mass, cocoa butter, and a small amount of organic cane sugar, I think you’re doing your mind and body a favour by consuming a small amount daily.

  33. I JUST sat down to enjoy a square while checking your blog for the daily post….HA! What are the odds.

  34. Dark chocolate gives me heart palpitations. I have to be very careful how much I eat or else I’ll have palpitations for days. Not fun and definitely not worth it.

    1. I have the same problem. A few small pieces and my heart is racing like mad, I’m very shaky and feel terrible!

  35. Methylxanthines! That’s the key word missing here. Chocolate, caffeine and cola all contain this stimulating substance which is cleared by liver enzyme C-P450. I have quite a few clients who muscle-test weak on the xanthine family.
    If one is weak, they all are. Try staying of chocolate, caffiene and colas for a month then adding back slowly. If headaches occur or other new or old signs, it’s the xanthines.

  36. According to migraines triggered by chocolate – I used to have very bad migranes, which were lasting for about 3 days, painkillers weren’t working or couldn’t help because of vomiting just after taking it. I’ve noticed the coincidence of eating yellow cheese and my episodes of migrane, so I quit eating it. I also quit eating chocolate, because of its “bad fame”. But still, I was having my migranes at least one a month.

    I’ve been Primal now for about 4 months. During this period of time I had one episode of mild headache (I didn’t have to take any pills, just wasn’t feeling comfortable). I eat chocolate almost every day. I eat cheese. The only difference is that I’m grain free and I’ve reduced carbs intake (it was the hardest part!).

    So maby grains are the silent migraine trigger. After all, “migraine” has the word “grain” in it. Just sayin’ 😉

  37. Mark forgot one detail regarding the “amphetamine-like chemical” phenylethylamine: it’s quickly metabolized by monoamine oxidase, hence monoamine oxidase inhibitors. So, the small amount of phenylethylamine in chocolate seems to be benign.

  38. Lately I’ve been eating Giddy Yo-Yo… it’s raw, undutched and I think from Ecuador so definitely slave free. The slavery part absolutely disgusts me. I wish I knew where Lindt sources their cocoa from.

  39. I only allow myself a dark chocalate treat after a sprint session or heavy workout – this is to simulate “climbing and tree to get the honey” type scenario. If I didnt work out hard, I didnt get the chocolate.

  40. Just checked on my bar of Endangered Species chocolate (which I wasn’t even thinking about reading until I clicked on the article, thanks, Mark)…

    ES chocolate is Rainforest Certified, which includes the following (from the rainforest-alliance dot org page):
    “Additionally, the SAN [Sustainable Agriculture Network] standards encompass a range of worker protection issues identified by the International Labour Organization, including the right to organize; the right to a safe, clean working environment; the right to be paid at least the national minimum wage; the right to dignified housing (including potable water); access to medical care for workers and their families; and access to free education for children. Farmers who work with the Rainforest Alliance also learn to increase productivity and control costs, often producing higher quality crops that can earn a better market price.”

  41. Does this apply to Crio Bru? I love to drink that with coconut milk, especially when I need a pick-me-up in the wee hours of a long night shift…

  42. Went to look at today’s post while having a lil snack I made. Ironically it was a paleo fudge I made. Cacao powder, walnuts, coconut manna, shredded coconut, a touch of honey, and sea salt. I blended it all in a food processor and let it set in the freezer. It definitely satisfied my sweet tooth.

  43. After years of battling adult acne I finally figured out it was chocolate causing it. While thrilled to have an easy way to clear skin, I’m sad one of my favorite foods is the culprit. And it’s definitely chocolate, not the sugar, dairy, soy or anything else. I was only eating very dark, organic, soy free chocolate, and even experimented with raw cacao powder mixed with coconut milk so I could be sure it wasn’t sugar or dairy causing the breakouts. But no, it’s the chocolate, sad but true.

    1. Hey! Great to see your comment. Im 25 and Ive had acne since 13. Im paleo now (no grains/legumes/soy/dairy)… meat/fruit/veg/nuts/seeds/healthy oils/coffee in moderation(1-2 cups a day) 85-90%cocoa bars.

      Only “bad” thigns I eat are almond butter (Barney Butter brand) which contains some sugar and palm oil (I know! Trying to go to the kind without sugar!) and 85-90% soy/dairy free DARK chocolate like Green and Blacks or Lindth.

      Occassionally mix 100% Hershey cocoa powder in smoothies.

      Considering trying the EXACT same experiment as you though! Was going to buy cacoa nibs and see if those gave me acne. For today Im trying a week with NO chocolate or cocoa of any kind (I eat some everyday so this is torture) but maybe I should just try your experiment of the cacoa nibs…

      Despite eating healthy for long long periods of time the acne still persists but HAS lessened due to paleo. Still random pustules through out the month. Then hormonal cystic acne on my chin/down neck on my period week. Also pustules half-on my lips during period week.

      I think I will die if cocoa is part of my issue but Id love more info on your experience with this!

  44. I eat Lindt chocolate, and thankfully, they seem to have taken many more measures upon themselves beyond than the “minimum” to conform to the fair trade legislation (many other companies seem to be finding loopholes so they can get the “fair trade” stamp on their slave created chocolate bars) – this may explain why Lindt chocolate costs more, however the quality in much higher as well – its like buying cage eggs versus free range – do you want to spend a bit more, or do you want to die ? The fact that it is more expensive regulates my intake also.

    http://www.lindt.com.au/swf/eng/social-responsibility/lindt-strongly-condemns-child-labor/

    Also has anyone stood up for the rights of the poor oompa loompa’s ?

  45. Nicely written Mark….couodnt agree more with your points….to agree on the mycotoxin harp from Mr Ausprey 🙂

    Keep up the great posts

    Leighton

  46. Nice details on chocolate. But Chocolates are healthy too if taken in limit and pure. then it will act as natural healthy remedy.

  47. I was nomming on dark chocolate while reading this article. Mine is only 65% and now I’m feeling conflicted about the child labor and the health un-benefits of it.

  48. I was NOT nomming on dark chocolate when I began my journey through all the comments… but it reminded me so I pulled out a square. Thanks y’all!

  49. I love dark chocolate. I remember having a piece of some really really bitter dark chocolate years ago — that was the only dark chocolate I ever disliked!

    I agree that while it has benefits, it should be treated as another piece of food, not a magical substance, which is what some people see it as just because it’s a better alternative to milk chocolate.

  50. ” It can cause migraines. ”

    There it is.
    Why I can’t stand it.

  51. Well, I decided to add two teaspoons of 100% chocolate to my coffee along with the coconut oil and butter. It was a bit bitter, not a surprise, however it got a bit sweeter when I put a few grains of salt and some “mineral drops” that Mark mentioned on a post some time ago. That made it a bit “creamer” and it was delicious.

  52. So glad to see the mention of slavery too. I think that as we go along this primal road we will find that the food that is best for us physically is also the best for those who grow the food and best for the earth which makes all this happen!

  53. “It’s food, not manna from the gods with magical properties.” This is false. Dark chocolate is in fact imbued with the Radiance of the Divines. But, true, more is not better; too much radiance will incinerate you. Little known fact: the Ark of the Covenant was filled with dark chocolate, as shown in the documentary “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”

  54. As far as the Child labor is concerned, remember these children may be helping there families simply survive in a part of the world that most of us cannot fathom. if it is truly slavery well that’s a different story but most often it is nothing more than what our great great grandparents endured to pull there families out of poverty and make a better world for us.

  55. I’m surprised no one has mentioned heartburn as one of the drawbacks. Nothing sets it off for me like dark chocolate, which feels tragic, since I love the stuff.

  56. Hey Mark,
    Just wanted to point out that it should be “flak”, not “flack”. Sorry if you’ve already gotten a lot of flak for this!

  57. Raw cacao + raw cacao butter + stevia and sometimes 1/2 teaspoon of raw manuka honey = really good chocolate also like a bit of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamon, ginger, vanilla and a bit of bee pollen = heaven!

  58. I used to eat self prepared sweets with alkali processed low fat cocoa and it frequently gave me headaches, later I started to use alkali processed but higher fat cocoa and cocoa butter together and it never gave me another headache.

    Now, my question is, is it better to use cacao nibs warning “This product may contain traces of nuts, milk, egg and soya proteins, gluten and peanut.” or alkali processed high fat cocoa and cocoa butter in a ratio that is close to what’s in cacao nibs ? I do not like egg and soya proteins, gluten and peanut and I’m trying to use a paleo autoimmune protocol which excludes them(except egg yolk proteins most likely but which it isn’t) but before getting into that, how much of an advantage do cacao nibs have over alkali processed high fat coca and cocoa butter, ANYBODY, PLEASE ?

  59. I love 100% cacao dark chocolate…but sadly it just became another addiction for me and was causing me to become hyper and obsessive. I feel much calmer since ditching it.

  60. The PEA explains why so many turn to chocolate after a breakup up or bad day. I know I crave it when I’m stressed.

    Cacao also contains phytic acid that locks in certain nutrients, making them unavailable to us.

  61. When I removed wheat from my diet, a new relationship with dark chocolate emerged. Nice trade off I think.

  62. Great post, very informative.

    But I personally think that excessive intake of ANYTHING at all is detrimental to our health. Dark chocolates do have a lot of health benefits when taken in moderation, same as with coffee, tea and (some high in sugar) fruits and carbohydrates. These things, when abused and misused, can be very bad for our body.

    Some people think “Oh, Dark chocolates are good for me right? Let me eat one whole bar in one sitting.”

    I agree that dark chocolates are CANDIES. Something to enjoy in bits and pieces and not consume like a full meal. Thanks for covering that as well!

  63. I was very sad to find that chocolate is a migraine trigger for me.

    I never associated chocolate with the migraines because I had a ton of other things that caused headaches. Chronic sinus inflammation, “student neck” from studying all the time, dirty glasses…

    After one Whole30 I went a little nuts and ate two whole chocolate bars in 2 days and ended up lying on the floor of my mom’s bathroom with my face pressed alternatively against the cold porcelain toilet (praying to every god I knew of to please, please end the nausea) and the cold terrazzo tile, just sobbing.

    Now if I simply must have chocolate, I eat half a bar or less and I eat it with two ibuprofen.

    Chocolate ice cream/gelato is still my all-time favorite vice, despite the rude aftereffects.

  64. I would suggest that chocolate has such strong cultural associations that participants transcended the sensory experience when they indicated it as “most craved” . I mean, it’s wrapped up like gold and displayed at many cultural celebrations so the frequency of craving is skewed by cultural environmental intelligence.

  65. Trader Joes 85% dark chocolate is the BEST bar out there. If you can get your hands on it…make it happen. It is a staple in this house and has 5 ingredients… all of which are recognizable… AND IT IS HEAVENLY… especially at room temp! enjoy!

  66. is there a danger of overdosing on copper with like 3 tbs of baking cocoa on a regular basis?

  67. also, the saturated fat in dark chocolate is remarkably protective against alcohol-induced liver damage (at least in mice).

  68. As a big fan of raw chocolate treats containing very little added unrefined sugars, I have always wondered about chocolate’s potential detriments to those who suffer from adrenal fatigue. Do you think it poses a particular risk to this population? I’d love to hear your thoughts, as any stimulant seems something to avoid for them, especially those who fall into the too-tired-to-sleep category. Love your thoughts, Mark, thank you!

  69. A little dark chocolate every day (usually) keeps me from falling off the wagon with other unhealthy foods, so I’m all for it!
    I was just at the choco museum in Peru and read that chocolate containing caffeine is actually a myth.. it contains theobromine, which has similar properties, but not actually caffeine.

  70. I’ve always loved eating chocolates but not really dark chocolate because of it taste kinda bitter but I have read that it has good benefits so I started to like it a little bit but after reading this I might cut down on eating it just to sure although I don’t really eat a lot I do agree in moderation plus exercise.

    1. Do not worry at all about very dark chocolate!! Ugh. I wish Mark made more if an effort to make sure people knew that it is still very very healthy for the large majority of people out there.

  71. I read that in older people dark chocolate can cause bone loss, like coffee.
    I’ve been eating lots of cacao nibs lately. I’ve got over a pound on me now. I’m chewing some as I type. I only tried them for the first time less than a month ago. I like the taste and find them filling. It’s kind of like eating nuts and drinking coffee at the same time. They’re the cheapest organic cacao source I’ve found which I expect is due to the fact they’re not very processed.

  72. Chocolate can cause cancer, it’s a mutagenic and a teratogenic, it causes cells to differentiate. One down side of eating it I’d say. Never go near the stuff.

  73. Chocolate is a confirmed migraine trigger for me, and it’s not the caffeine, as I drink coffee in moderation, so it’s something else in it. I like chocolate and can eat it moderation. Migraines come to me when several triggers happen together, other triggers are: Less than very good hydration, nuts, some cheeses and alcohol.

  74. Oh, I do love dark chocolate. The darker, the better. 90% is sooo good. It is Mommy’s little helper.

  75. I just love milk chocolate. I never buy it when shopping because I know I will guts it all down asap. But if I get a craving for chocolate, maybe 4 times a year, I go crazy on it. Invariably I feel unwell. But over the last year my reaction to a choc binge has escalated into migraines that can last up to 3 days. Suffice to say that my bingeing had to stop. But I still get a craving for chocolate. I have now found a way to enjoy my chocolate without any pain or discomfort afterwards. I buy a block of Lindt 90% dark chocolate. I break off 2 pieces. I chop up into smallish pieces then I mix it into Chobani Greek, strawberry yoghurt. Just Devine. Love it. So glad to hear how beneficial dark chocolate is. Knowing this only makes it more of a treat!

  76. This was an informative article, but I was looking specifically for toxic metals such as arsenic, lead and cadmium in chocolate. I’m getting it from somewhere, and I’m suspecting the daily chocolate I eat. If anyone has any info on this, please let me know!

  77. I’m writing to ask how much chocolate is “too much?” I’m 84, female, in good health except for aging joints, an approaching dementia in my speech and leftover asthma that is infrequent. I find that dark chocolate, from western Europe brings me great relief from the swollen and painful knees, the stiffness in the back, the increasing depression from age and living alone, etc. My day is painful and depressed if I do not get the chocolate. The only other medication I take is ibuprophen and I forget that a lot. I take a vitamin and glucosamine. I need at least 1/2 pound of dark chocolate to feel pain free and upbeat. I feel even better if I increase it to a pound. I have been doing this for about six months and I have not changed my weight, which is slightly higher than I want, but has been for nearly 20 years. I make sure to eat every day a good serving of a protein or a carbohydrate (fresh vegetable) and have so far had no side effects that I can recognize. What is your opinion of the excessive dark chocolate I am eating daily? (I live in the tropics, no cold weather) (Milk chocolate is never in my diet. ) My dark chocolate:
    Made by RITTER SPORT (GERMANY)
    Containing: Cocolate Amargo 77%, Azucar, Pasta de Cacao, Manteca de Cacao, Grasa Butirica, Lecitina de Soya, Saborazante natural de vainilla, Ingredientes Relleno Avellans (Hazel Nuts)

    1. Hi Elizabeth,
      interesting that eating all that chocolate HELPS your joint pain. I’ve found a low-carb diet helps my joint pains more. Maybe it was because the joints have less weight to bear
      🙂 as on the LCHF diet I was able to drop 18kg. I don’t think Ritter Sport is a good quality chocolate, but
      maybe you don’t have much of a choice in the tropics? At any rate it is good for depression! I enjoy Lindt 70-85% dark chocolate, in moderation. ie not more than 2 squares a day.

  78. Hi Mark,

    Thanks for bringing a little balance into all the hoopla around my favorite superfood.

    As a life-long *very* dark chocolate addict (100% dark baking bars, even in childhood) I can attest to the health benefits of consuming moderate amounts. Some very early years spent living in Spain near a chocolate shop were a huge influence!

    That said, I didn’t know about the mycotoxin issue. This body is quite sensitive–most commercial coffees, all peanuts and most American brands of large commercial chocolates give me the jitters, brain fog, emotional swings, digestive upsets, muscle aches etc.. There are some traditional European brands of high-cacao chocolate that I’ve never noticed any symptoms from–Perugina, Varlhona, Lindt (90%). I wonder if their standards for buying and handling are just higher than the Americans?

    Once I discovered some decades ago that chocolate was high in magnesium (along with other foods that were on my favorites list) there went the last excuse for abstaining… This body preferred a paleo diet many years ago, it just didn’t like the nasty flavor of processed and refined grains, sugars etc.

    Just today discovered your website, thanks for the well-written article, looking forward to exploring further!

  79. Lost craving for chocolate – eventually- after eating Primal but now look forward to a Bulletproof hot chocolate drink in the evenings, so possibly indulging my choc craving by another route! Lol! However, what does bother me, and Mark doesn’t mention this in his excellent article above, is the possibility of copper excess. As the zinc/ copper ratio is critical to good health does a regular consumption of this drink cause an imbalance? I would have thought so. Any ideas anyone as to the copper content of this drink and suggestions as to zinc balance. Perhaps Mark would kindly respond?

  80. I’ve been a chocolate nut since the day I was born. Dark is my favorite, the darker the better. I do remember a time I tried to eat my moms baking chocolate squares, all I can say about that, no more.
    Everyone have a great time

  81. Can’t help but to be unfairly judgemental and think, “man, if these people put their minds to the slavery problem rather then into their own health obsessions and insecurities, the world might be lovely.” I live in a very low income area, so paleo is out of reach for most people here. The whole foodie movement growing alongside food insecurity in the U.S. Is pretty unsettling in general.

  82. I tried to like dark chocolate when the hype started about 15 yrs ago, believing the darker the chocolate the more antioxidants it has and better for me. I did ate 70% and 85% and even 90%. But I didn’t like it, so then I settled on 70% and gradually on 60%.
    So, yes, I do not like dark chocolate, because it has very little taste to really like it. It is BITTER. Is bitter tasty ? No. So now for the last 4 years I get Villar’s, Cote D’Or with hazelnuts. No almonds, because they might be from California, and all almonds in California go thru chemical “pasterization”. But my favorite is RITTER’s Cocoa Mousse. One square with cup of black coffee(no sugar of course).
    Now, there is a very serious chemical in chocolate and in cacao bean called THEOBROMINE. Especially in Dark chocolate.
    Two ounces of dark chocolate contain about 400 mg of theobromine, but only about 35 mg of caffeine. Milk chocolate contains much less of both. This is from Youngagain website, run by Roger Mason, who is a chemist and author of seven books sold on Amazon. There are a lot of articles, some are very controversial to what is being preached today by so called “gurus” like mercola and mike Adams from naturalness and many others. He also says that “Theobromine is a very powerful alkaloid, and in any dose over 100 mg a day, is going to have serious side effects. Eating chocolate regularly over time has serious deleterious effects on your health. Again, this is especially true as you age”. I want to believe that it is indeed true.

  83. I just posted about dangers of any chocolate, especially the DARK. The comment is hidden, click “read more”. Basically it’s about THEOBROMINE, which is much more in dark chocolate than caffeine. Read what Roger Mason says about it in my comment and on his site young again. I believe the hype about “antioxidants” in dark chocolate started by those who were interested in creating it, to make money.

  84. Yes, from my experience, dark chocolate in small amounts can be healthy and beneficial.
    What effects have people seen with their skin?
    In ‘excess’ chocolate is not healthy, from my experience, and can cause a ‘palor’ of the skin, and also ‘non vital’ accumulation of the ‘chocolate fat’, as I found with my experience with a pussy development in my toe a few years ago, and a dark blotch under my thumb at during that same time.
    But, with ‘lite’ use of dark chocolate, it does seem to cause benefits of more youthful skin and vitality.

  85. If you get migraines from chocolate like I do, it could be from the mycotoxins. I’m highly sensitive to mold. Mold is present even on coconut, which I cannot eat also, and fruits that aren’t fresh. I even recently got a reaction from a sweet potato that I cooked! One thing most migraine sufferers do not know is that if mold is a trigger, watch out for the citric acid preservative in many processed foods. It is manufactured by growing mold on corn syrup and extracting the byproduct. Not from lemons and limes like one would imagine! And yes, I get migraines from that too!