Chocolate

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Chocolate

Postby Gwen » Wed Mar 12, 2008 12:02 pm

Hi Jeff,

What's the scoop with chocolate? I like to have a little piece of really dark chocolate after dinner.

Thanks,
Gwen
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Postby JeffN » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:30 pm

Gwen wrote:Hi Jeff,

What's the scoop with chocolate? I like to have a little piece of really dark chocolate after dinner.

Thanks,
Gwen



Hi Gwen

Chocolate is made with cocoa which comes from the cacao bean. The cacao bean, like all beans (including the coffee bean, kidney bean and all others) are a rich source of many nutrients, flavonoids and phytochemicals

Because they are rich sources of these beneficial nutrients, when you use them as a base of some food product or beverage (coffee, chocolate), and feed them to people, these foods may show some benefit.

The cacao bean has even become a health fad amongst certain fractions of the health food movement which is unfortunate as it is not a health food.

Unlike most other beans, it is also high in fat with most of the fat being saturated fat. It has a little bit of caffeine, a stimulant, and some theobromine, a mood elevator, which are why people like it so much. It is the number one craved food item in the world.

However, it is also very bitter & because it is so bitter, you would never eat the bean as-is. To make it palatable, we grind it up and then mix it with sugar and an emulsifier and often add more fat &/or dairy to make chocolate or other candies.

When you remove the fat from the cocoa bean it is called cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is 120 calories per Tbsp, 100% fat and is 61% saturated fat with only a trace of Vit E and K

The benefit you most hear in the news, and the one shown in a few studies, is that cocoa has been shown to lower blood pressure though the effect is very small (an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure). In addition, to get this mediocre benefit, the subjects had to consume 100 grams of dark chocolate each day, which is the equivalent of 3.5 ounces which is 500 calories.

Chocolate is over 50% fat with about 60% of the 50% being saturated fat, which means 32% of the total calories in cocoa are saturated fat. In addition, because of the high fat content, it is very high in calorie density/calories.

So, in order to get the small benefit to blood pressure, the subjects had to consume 500 calories a day from the chocolate, and they also took in around 19 grams of saturated fat from the chocolate each day.

Cocoa (and the chocolate made from it) may also contains a small amount of caffeine and few people eat pure cocoa as it is very bitter. So to eat it, they mix it with sugar and sometimes milk or cream.

In addition, dutch processed cocoa powder, which is very common in the USA, is cocoa that is processed with alkali. This greatly reduces the antioxidant capacity as compared to "raw" cocoa powder. Cocoa powder is also over 50% fat of, of which 60% of the 50% is also saturated fat.

A recent peer-reviewed publication found significant amounts of lead in chocolate.

Rankin CW, Nriagu JO, Aggarwal JK, Arowolo TA, Adebayo K, Flegal AR. (2005) Lead contamination in cocoa and cocoa products: isotopic evidence of global contamination. Environmental Health Perspectives Oct;113(10):1344-8. [2]

So we have lots of Americans eating lots of chocolate thinking they are getting some sort of benefit, but do not understand the real story behind the news and the potential health concerns.

If someone wanted to include some cocoa, the safest way might be to find some pure cocoa powder that is not processed with alkali and limit its use to a serving (1 tbsp) per day. You can add it to hot water with your sweetener of choice (go easy) and have a hot cocoa, or add it to your non dairy milk.

I once tried an experiment with some clients as they wanted to include some cocoa but did not want to use any sweeteners, natural or artificial. So, I mashed up a large banana (or 2), added in a tbsp of pure cocoa powder, and mixed them together. Then I added in some fresh blueberries, and it was fairly good. Then, the next day, we did the same thing but this time topped it with some toasted oats (regular rolled oats we toasted) and then some cinnamon. This was also fairly good.

Almost to good, though, as now they wanted to go top it with some ice cream. :)

However, as I said in other threads, these 5% exceptions can add up fast and if you add in enough of them (oil, chocolate, wine, cheese, etc) the next thing you know they are making up the majority of your calories and the real food has been pushed to the side.


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Postby JeffN » Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:29 pm

See the study below....

A double bind placebo controlled study is one of the highest quality studies.

The only used about 1/3 of the amount then in the study I mentioned earlier in this thread, but it was still about 1.25 ounces, which is still about 200 calories.

Not only was there no benefit, increased pulse rates may not be a good thing.

Sorry. :)

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Jeff


A double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of the effects of dark chocolate and cocoa on variables associated with neuropsychological functioning and cardiovascular health: clinical findings from a sample of healthy, cognitively intact older adults Am J Clin Nutr 2008 87: 872-880.

ABSTRACT

Background: In recent years, there has been increased interest in the potential health-related benefits of antioxidant- and phytochemical-rich dark chocolate and cocoa.

Objective:
The objective of the study was to examine the short-term (6 wk) effects of dark chocolate and cocoa on variables associated with neuropsychological functioning and cardiovascular health in healthy older adults.

Design:
A double-blind, placebo-controlled, fixed-dose, parallel-group clinical trial was used. Participants (n = 101) were randomly assigned to receive a 37-g dark chocolate bar and 8 ounces (237 mL) of an artificially sweetened cocoa beverage or similar placebo products each day for 6 wk.

Results:
No significant group (dark chocolate and cocoa orplacebo)-by-trial (baseline, midpoint, and end-of-treatment assessments) interactions were found for the neuropsychological, hematological, or blood pressure variables examined. In contrast, the midpoint and end-of-treatment mean pulse rate assessments in the dark chocolate and cocoa group were significantly higher than those at baseline and significantly higher than the midpoint and end-of-treatment rates in the control group. Results of a follow-up questionnaire item on the treatment products that participants believed they had consumed during the trial showed that more than half of the participants in both groups correctly identified the products that they had ingested during the experiment.

Conclusions:
This investigation failed to support the predicted beneficial effects of short-term dark chocolate and cocoa consumption on any of the neuropsychological or cardiovascular health-related variables included in this research. Consumption of dark chocolate and cocoa was, however, associated with significantly higher pulse rates at 3- and 6-wk treatment assessments.
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Re: Chocolate

Postby BarbG » Mon Jun 01, 2009 9:25 pm

Jeff,

I was at McDougall's April 5 day and according to my notes you said that cocoa butter, palm oil and palm kernel oil are worse than butter and lard. After reading what you wrote above and wanting to avoid cocoa butter I found one dark chocolate that did not list cocoa butter as an ingredient.

Is that what you mean?

Thanks,
Barbara
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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Tue Jun 02, 2009 8:56 am

username wrote:Jeff,

I was at McDougall's April 5 day and according to my notes you said that cocoa butter, palm oil and palm kernel oil are worse than butter and lard. After reading what you wrote above and wanting to avoid cocoa butter I found one dark chocolate that did not list cocoa butter as an ingredient.

Is that what you mean?

Thanks,
Barbara


Hi Barbara,

In the lecture you mention, yes, I said to avoid products that have cocoa butter, palm oil, palm kernel oil or coconut oil listed as an ingredient.

In addition, cocoa butter is "extracted" from the cacao bean so it also exists naturally in the cacao bean and anything made from it unless the cocoa butter has been extracted/removed first. So, whether a product lists cocoa butter or not, if it is made from Cacao or chocolate it has the cocoa butter in it. If you check the ingredient list and let me know the numbers off the Nutrition Facts label (calories, fat, sat fat), then we can know for sure.

I do not recommend cacao, cocoa or chocolate for several reasons. :)

Mainly because, as I said earlier in this thread...

"these 5% exceptions can add up fast and if you add in enough of them (oil, chocolate, wine, cheese, etc) the next thing you know they are making up the majority of your calories and the real food has been pushed to the side."

My purpose here is to help people focus on the 95% and make sure they get that right and try to not to spend to much time, if any at all, on the 5%. That 5% is at your discretion. Choose wisely :)

When you remove the fat from the cocoa bean, you get cocoa butter.

Cocoa butter is 120 calories per Tbsp, 100% fat and is 61% saturated fat with only a trace of Vit E and K. Not a health food.

In regard to the chocolate bar, it is not really something I would recommend. It is high in calories, calorie density, fat, sat fat and is difficult for most people to have around and limit the consumption of. I am not even sure it is available anymore.

However, I will stay with my other comments, as the serving of cocoa powder is much harder for someone to overdo than a chocolate bar...

So, having said all that...

If someone wanted to include some cocoa, the safest way might be to find some pure cocoa powder that is not processed with alkali and use a tbsp on occasion. You can add it to hot water with your sweetener of choice (go easy) and have a hot cocoa, &/or add it to your non dairy milk.

Or, you can blend a tbsp of cocoa powder with a very ripe banana or a very ripe mango (as I showed in my recent recipe pictures on facebook) and have a chocolate like pudding or sauce.

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Postby BarbG » Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:11 am

Thanks, Jeff.

I will choose wisely with little nibbles of chocolate in my 5%.

In health, with a little chocolate sprinkled on top :)

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Fat in cocoa

Postby Softpaw » Thu Aug 20, 2009 9:24 pm

Jeff wrote:

"Cocoa powder is also over 50% fat of, of which 60% of the 50% is also saturated fat."


I'm not sure that is accurate.

According to Wikipedia

...[Cocoa paste] can be separated into cocoa powder and cocoa butter using a hydraulic press or the Broma process. This process produces around 50% cocoa butter and 50% cocoa powder. Standard cocoa powder has a fat content of approximately 10–12 percent."


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_bean

That 10-12% figure is repeated in numerous other sites discussing cocoa.

The online nutritional information given for various organic, non-alkalized cocoa powders seems to confirm that figure.

Apparently, while 10-12% is standard, there also exist de-fatted cocoa powders (0-.5%) and higher-fat powders (12-24%).


Wikipedia also provides the following information under the heading "Health benefits of cocoa consumption":

"Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health.[6][7][8] The ingestion of flavonol-rich cocoa is associated with acute elevation of circulating nitric oxide, enhanced flow-mediated vasodilation, and augmented microcirculation.[9]

Prolonged intake of flavonol-rich cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits,[6][7][8] though it should be noted that this refers to raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes. Milk chocolate's addition of whole milk reduces the overall cocoa content per ounce while increasing saturated fat levels, possibly negating some of cocoa's heart-healthy potential benefits. Nevertheless, studies have still found short term benefits in LDL cholesterol levels from dark chocolate consumption.[10]

Hollenberg and colleagues of Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocoa and flavanols on Panama's Kuna Indian population, who are heavy consumers of cocoa. The researchers found that the Kuna Indians living on the islands had significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to those on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as on the islands. It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavonol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs. In particular, the benefits may extend to the brain and have important implications for learning and memory.[11][12]

Cocoa also contains large amounts of antioxidants such as epicatechins and polyphenols. According to research at Cornell University, cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea.[13] Cocoa also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, vitamin C, zinc and others.

Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine,[7] one of the JAMA/Archives journals.[14]

A 15-year study of elderly men[15] published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality for the men regularly consuming the most cocoa, compared to those consuming the least cocoa from all sources"
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Postby JeffN » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:50 am

Softpaw wrote:
JeffN wrote:"Cocoa powder is also over 50% fat of, of which 60% of the 50% is also saturated fat."


I'm not sure that is accurate.


Thanks for bringing this up and yes, it is accurate.

The quote you are referring to is giving the numbers by weight. So, for 100 grams of cocoa powder, there should be about 10-12 grams of fat.

If we go the USDA database, we find that 100 grams of cocoa powder has 13.7 grams of fat per 100 grams of cocoa powder. So, technically, it is 13.7% fat by weight but these are all averages.

When we do the math, by calories, which is what my numbers refer to, this equals 54% fat and 31% saturated fat. So, about 60% of the fat is saturated fat. That was my original comment and still stands.

However, as you said, there are some cocoa powders sold as fat-free or de-fatted and they actually have ~1-2% fat but again, this is by weight and when we figure it by calories, those are usually about 10-20% fat also.

Softpaw wrote:According to Wikipedia


While I appreciate your efforts to try and clarify the data on cocoa and chocolate, and while Wikipedia can be a valuable tool, it is not a reliable source of health information. The accuracy and reliability of the information depends on who had authored the page, who has contributed the info, and who is verifying its content. While some pages are highly accurate, many are not. It is important to know the difference and understand the implications of this.

To aid in this, Wikipedia rates the content of its pages. The highest rating is a "featured" articles. According to Wikipedia, "A featured article exemplifies our very best work and is distinguished by professional standards of writing, presentation and sourcing." It is also well-written, comprehensive, well-researched meaning it is a thorough and representative survey of the relevant literature on the topic, and neutral.

The second highest rating is "good." According to Wikipedia, "A good article is a satisfactory article that has not met the criteria for featured articles. The good article criteria measure decent articles; they are not as demanding as the featured article criteria, which determine our best articles.

This page has been reviewed and is not rated either "good" or "featured" which means the information presented may not be factually accurate, verifiable or without bias.

On that basis alone, this information is not even worth reviewing.

However, because cocoa and chocolate are so popular and because everyone want to "hear good news about their bad habits"...... :)

..... I will comment on it.

The studies you are discussing are mostly observational and were done earlier than the studies I have discussed. Therefore, they are nothing new and (as you will see) were taken into consideration when I made my above comments in this thread. So, while interesting, it does not done prove or change anything that has been said here.

It is important to understand that observational studies can only show associations and point in certain directions but they can not prove cause and effect. So, while they are interesting, they only make associations but do not prove anything.

It is randomized controlled trials (RCTs) that take the associations that were seen in the observational studies and try to prove direct cause and effect. Therefore, RCTs are of a much higher standard.

The last study I referenced and quoted in this thread was a recent randomized double blind controlled study, which is the gold standard. As noted, the effect was minimal at best even with larger amounts used.

More specifically in regard to the information you posted...

Softpaw wrote:A 15-year study of elderly men published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality[/b] for the men regularly consuming the most cocoa, compared to those consuming the least cocoa from all sources"


According to the study, the median cocoa intake among the users was 2.11 g/d in 1985, 2.30 g/d in 1990, and 2.36 g/d in 1995. This is about .4 TB to .47 TB which is way below the amounts used that were later shown to have an effect. So, to attribute such a large effect to such a small amount of cocoa is questionable right from the start.

These authors also cautioned against the results because of the inherent problems in observational studies (as I mentioned above) and said..

"A major concern in observational studies is the possibility of residual confounding. In our study, cocoa users consumed less meat and coffee;..."

"..cocoa intake was positively associated with calorie intake. However, we did not observe a positive association of cocoa intake with BMI or physical activity. Because BMI was measured accurately, we cannot rule out that residual confounding by physical activity, and by dietary factors, may partly explain our results."

"We considered the possibility of reverse causation, ie, that healthy subjects consume more chocolate confectionery than those who are not healthy" (and not the reverse)

"Also, the association between cocoa intake and cardiovascular mortality did not differ between subjects with a high and low level of physical activity"


The authors also acknowledge in reviewing other studies..

"However, daily consumption of 46 g of dark chocolate did not affect blood pressure after 2 weeks in healthy subjects."

So, to think that the 2.5 grams consumed in this study had such a large favorable effect, is highly questionable, which the authors also agreed with in discussing the overall body of work..

"In summary, these studies suggest that large amounts of dark chocolate lower blood pressure, whereas a smaller amount appears to have no effect."

However, as we have seen, these "large" amounts are not so large after all.

Softpaw wrote:Hollenberg and colleagues of Harvard Medical School studied the effects of cocoa and flavanols on Panama's Kuna Indian population, who are heavy consumers of cocoa. The researchers found that the Kuna Indians living on the islands had significantly lower rates of heart disease and cancer compared to those on the mainland who do not drink cocoa as on the islands. It is believed that the improved blood flow after consumption of flavonol-rich cocoa may help to achieve health benefits in hearts and other organs. In particular, the benefits may extend to the brain and have important implications for learning and memory.


Observational and so again interesting, but controlled studies have not proven it to be so.

Softpaw wrote:Prolonged intake of flavonol-rich cocoa has been linked to cardiovascular health benefits.


Again, observational...

Softpaw wrote:"though it should be noted that this refers to raw cocoa and to a lesser extent, dark chocolate, since flavonoids degrade during cooking and alkalizing processes. Milk chocolate's addition of whole milk reduces the overall cocoa content per ounce while increasing saturated fat levels, possibly negating some of cocoa's heart-healthy potential benefits. Nevertheless, studies have still found short term benefits in LDL cholesterol levels from dark chocolate consumption."


I agree with the comments about cocoa and purer or "dark" chocolate vs milk chocolate and made similar comments above earlier in this thread.

JeffN wrote:If someone wanted to include some cocoa, the safest way might be to find some pure cocoa powder that is not processed with alkali


There was one study cited that did show a reduction in LDL of about 10% (from mid 100's to mid 90s). However, the subjects in the study referred to consumed about 400 calories worth of chocolate to get this effect, which is a substantial amount. In addition, these results are in direct contrast with those of a similar study Wan et al. (2001), and other studies (Mathur et al. 2002).

Lastly, all the subjects consumed 400 calories worth of chocolate yet maintained their weight over the 14 days. This means that they had to remove 400 calories of other foods which, would could possible have had a huge contributing effect. Therefore, without knowing what these foods were that the cocoa ended up being substituted for and what their nutritional composition was, it is really difficult to make any concrete conclusions on the effect of chocolate on LDL.

For the record, published data has shown that following the guidelines recommended here can result in decreases in LDL from 30% on average to over 50% in just 14 days.

Softpaw wrote:Chocolate and cocoa contain a high level of flavonoids, specifically epicatechin, which may have beneficial cardiovascular effects on health. The ingestion of flavonol-rich cocoa is associated with acute elevation of circulating nitric oxide, enhanced flow-mediated vasodilation, and augmented microcirculation.


Softpaw wrote:Cocoa also contains large amounts of antioxidants such as epicatechins and polyphenols. According to research at Cornell University, cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine, and up to three times the antioxidants found in green tea. Cocoa also contains magnesium, iron, chromium, vitamin C, zinc and others.


Interesting information but does not prove or really mean anything. Red wine and green tea are also not required or essential to this program, so to show that something is better than them, means nothing to my recommendations.

Also, cocoa comes from a bean and all beans are good sources of nutrients so to show that the cocoa bean is rich in many nutrients is nothing special.

However, as I always say, we must look at the total package of the food and what other components it has (good and bad) and any other factors that may come into play.

The program recommended here has more than enough antioxidants, magnesium, iron, chromium, vit C, zinc etc, and, more above and beyond that which we get from food, is not always better. This program also elevates circulating nitric oxide, enhances flow-mediated vasodilation, and augments micro-circulation in and of itself, to levels that reverse heart disease, "as-is", and greater than any isolated component of any food (or substance) can do on its own.

In regard to the antioxidant (and flavanoid) theory, while they are interesting, neither has been proven out in studies to matter in regard to any endpoints. Therefore, they may only be markers of certain healthy foods. So, again, evaluating a food by any one aspect, even antioxidant content, is not the way to choose or recommend food as discussed here on many occasions. Food must be evaluated from its total picture.

Recommended foods here are not recommended because they are high (or low) in any one component but because they are an excellent food as evaluated from the standpoint of their total food package.

Softpaw wrote:Foods rich in cocoa appear to reduce blood pressure but drinking green and black tea may not, according to an analysis of previously published research in the April 9, 2007 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.


This was a review of randomized controlled trials, which, as mentioned, is a much better measure than observational studies, so lets look closer at the results.

They found 5 studies to review.

Of the 5 cocoa studies, 4 reported a reduction of SBP and DBP after cocoa consumption. Compared with the cocoa-free control, the average decrease in the 5 studies was –4.7 mm Hg in SBP and –2.8 mm Hg in DBP for cocoa intake.

These numbers represent virtually the same effect I was referring to earlier, so again, this is not new news.

JeffN wrote:The benefit you most hear in the news, and the one shown in a few studies, is that cocoa has been shown to lower blood pressure though the effect is very small (an average of 5 points for systolic and an average of 2 points for diastolic blood pressure).


In addition, the authors agreed with me and said..

"Their results cannot simply be translated into long-term outcomes, that is, the prediction of beneficial treatment effects. In particular, it has to be considered that the short-term administration and the calorie-balanced study design prevented a potential weight gain with the high-caloric cocoa diets;however, a concurrent increase in body weight may reverse any blood pressure reductions during long-term habitual intake of cocoa products."

So, having to consume that many calories from chocolate to get the small reduction in BP may be soon overcome if the chocolate results in an increase in weight.

And they then concluded..

"The findings of favorable hypotensive cocoa actions should, however, not encourage common recommendations to consume more cocoa. We believe that any dietary advice must account for the high sugar, fat, and calorie intake with most cocoa products."

I agree. :)

So, in the end, nothing has changed and my comments still stand and my recommendations still apply. :)

In Health
Jeff

PS For those who want, I have added a chocolate recipe to my Facebook page under the "Photo's" tab under the "my simple recipes" album.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid ... =3&theater
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Postby Softpaw » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:36 am

Thanks for the follow-up.

As far as cocoa/chocolate is concerned, I agree with your position completely-- on the dietary dangers as well as your suggested "safest way" to include it via pure, non-akalized powder.
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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Mon Sep 01, 2014 1:22 pm

For all the cocoa lovers...

Recent report..

ConsumerLab.com Finds Popular Cocoa Powders Contaminated
High Concentrations of Cadmium Raise Concern

August 5, 2014

http://www.consumerlab.com/news/More_Po ... 8_05_2014/

"Following up on its discovery in May of high levels of the toxic metal cadmium in several cocoa-based products, ConsumerLab.com recently tested additional, popular cocoa products sold in the U.S. to assess the extent of the problem. The independent testing company now reports the problem is widespread among cocoa powders,involving nearly every brand of cocoa powder tested. "


The original report from May..

Your Cocoa May Be Contaminated!
ConsumerLab.com Reveals What's Really in Cocoa and Chocolate Products

May 21, 2014

http://www.consumerlab.com/news/Cocoa_C ... 5_21_2014/

" Cocoa powders, dark chocolates, and other products made from cacao beans can be rich in flavanols -- which may help with blood flow, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. However, they may also be contaminated with the toxic heavy metal cadmium, according to recent tests from the independent testing group, ConsumerLab.com."


As I said above...

If someone wanted to include some cocoa, the safest way might be to find some pure cocoa powder that is not processed with alkali and limit it to a serving (1 tbsp) per day. You can add it to hot water with your sweetener of choice (go easy) and have a hot cocoa, or add it to your non dairy milk.


However, with these recent reports, I would recommend some added caution as most all brands were contaminated.

Caveat Emptor!

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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Sun Nov 02, 2014 11:04 am

Analysis of Elemental Content in Commercial Chocolate Bars
http://www.spexcertiprep.com/knowledge- ... colate.pdf

Abstract:
Chocolate has been harvested for human consumption for thousands of years. The Mayans used cocoa beans as currency. Present day consumption of chocolate is measured on a global scale. In the US, Americans consume over 11 pounds of chocolate per person per year.

Cocoa plants are native to tropical climates with high levels of humidity and rainfall. This climate increases the need for pesticide application to protect the cocoa bean crops. Heavy metals from pesticide and fertilizer applications can accumulate in the soil and add to the possible accumulation of those metals in the cocoa beans.

This study examined the elemental composition of several types of chocolate products from chocolate liquor to milk and dark chocolate bars.

Conclusions
Heavy metals were detected in all of the chocolate bar samples with the highest concentration of elements found in the dark chocolate bars. The labeling information reported levels of sodium, calcium and iron. The levels of iron detected did fall within the reported range, but there was some discrepancy between a few of the samples and the reported levels of sodium and calcium.



From the study

Toxic Elements
Toxic elements, including heavy metals such as mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium, [Table 3] were all detected in varying amounts in all the chocolate products. The lowest concentration of elements was found in the chocolate liquor. The highest levels of heavy metals were generally found in the dark chocolate products. All brands of the chocolate bars studied had approximately 1μg or more of lead with the highest concentration of lead of 3 μg found in one of the dark chocolate servings.


Also

LEAD AND CADMIUM IN FOOD
February 12, 2014

Responding to published research showing high levels of heavy metals in commonly eaten food items, As You Sow began extensive independent laboratory testing of 42 chocolate products for lead and cadmium. We found that 26 of the chocolate products (~62%) contain lead and/or cadmium at levels in which one serving exceeds the California safe harbor level for reproductive harm. We filed notices with 16 manufacturers, including See’s, Mars, Hershey, Lindt, Godiva, Whole Foods, and others, for failing to provide required warnings to consumers that their chocolate products contain lead, cadmium, or both.


http://www.asyousow.org/our-work/enviro ... m-in-food/


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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Wed Jul 19, 2017 12:07 pm

The most recent analysis by Consumer Lab didn't approve any cocoa powder. None of the 14 tested, including several organic ones passed. They either were contaminated with cadmium, lead or both, some at some fairly high levels.

The full analysis is behind a paywall

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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:49 am

UPDATE:

Unfortunately, unlike ConsumerLab, the FDA didn’t name names.

(From Consumerlab)
In December 2017, researchers from the FDA published test results for 144 cocoa and chocolate products (not identified by name) sold in the U.S. Similar to CL's results in this Review, the highest cadmium concentrations were in cocoa powders (averaging 0.7 mcg/g). This was followed by cocoa nibs (0.62 mcg/g — about twice that found by CL), dark chocolates (0.27 mcg/g), and very low levels in milk chocolates (0.06 mcg/g). Lead was also highest in cocoa powders (0.11 mcg/g) with only negligible amounts in other products — the lowest being cocoa nibs (0.003 mcg/g). Higher concentrations of cadmium were in products from Latin America than from Africa. It was noted that although most of the world's cocoa beans come from Africa, only the varieties from Latin American produce the "fine cocas" (i.e., those having desirable flavor and color) that are used to make specialty dark chocolates and many cocoa powders. (Abt, Food Add & Contam 2017)

Cadmium and Lead in Cocoa Powder and Chocolate Products in the U.S. Market
Eileen Abt, Jennifer Fong Sam, Patrick Gray & Lauren Posnick Robin
Food Additives & Contaminants: Part B Vol. 0, Iss. ja, 2018

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1 ... 17.1420700

Abstract

Cocoa powder and chocolate products are known to sometimes contain cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) from environmental origins. A convenience sample of cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and cocoa nib products was purchased at retail in the U.S. and analyzed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry to assess Cd and Pb concentrations. Cd and Pb were evaluated in relation to the percent cocoa solids and to the reported origin of the cocoa powder and chocolate products. Cd ranged from 0.004-3.15 mg/kg and Pb ranged from <LOD-0.38 mg/kg. Cd and Pb were significantly correlated with percent cocoa, with correlations varying by product type and geographic origin. Geographic variation was observed for Cd, with higher Cd concentrations found in products reported as originating from Latin America than from Africa. The influence of percent cocoa solids and cocoa origin on Cd levels are relevant to international standards for Cd in chocolate products.
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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Thu Jan 18, 2018 11:35 am

I have received several emails telling me that, as I recommended in this thread, people are using Hersheys 100% cocoa.

To clarify, I have not recommended the use of cocoa powder, let alone Hershey’s. What I did say, was Hershey's was an example of a common cocoa that is processed without alkali. I did not recommend and due to the confusion, removed the reference to Hershey's.

When ConsumerLab tested Hershey's 100% dark cocoa powder, they found 4.3 mcg cadmium per serving (0.85 mcg per g) which is above above the California limit of 4.1 mcg of cadmium, and the Canadian limit of 0.6 mcg per g, which is also the proposed limit of the European Union. These numbers were fairly consistent over 2 tests several years apart (2014, 2017).

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Re: Chocolate

Postby JeffN » Sat Jul 21, 2018 7:07 pm

Chocolate intake and heart disease and stroke in the Women's Health Initiative: a prospective analysis

Background
Three recent meta-analyses found significant prospective inverse associations between chocolate intake and cardiovascular disease risk. Evidence from these meta-analyses suggests that such inverse associations may only apply to elderly individuals or those with pre-existing major chronic disease.

Objective
We assessed the association between habitual chocolate intake and subsequent incident coronary heart disease (CHD) and stroke, and the potential effect of modification by age.

Design
We conducted multivariable Cox regression analyses using data from 83,310 postmenopausal women free of baseline pre-existing major chronic disease in the prospective Women's Health Initiative cohort. Chocolate intake was assessed using a food-frequency questionnaire. Physician-adjudicated events or deaths were ascertained up to 30 September 2013.

Results
After exclusions, there were 3246 CHD and 2624 stroke events or deaths, representing incidence rates of 3.9% and 3.2% during 1,098,091 and 1,101,022 person-years (13.4 y), respectively. We found no association between consumption of chocolate and risk of CHD (P for linear trend = 0.94) or stroke (P = 0.24). The results for CHD and stroke combined were similar (P = 0.30), but were significantly modified by age (P for interaction = 0.02). For women age <65 y at baseline, those who ate 1 oz (28.35 g) of chocolate <1/mo, 1 to <1.5/mo, 1.5 to <3.5/mo, 3.5/mo to <3/wk, and ≥3/wk had HRs (95% CIs) of 1.00 (referent), 1.17 (1.00, 1.36), 1.05 (0.90, 1.22), 1.09 (0.94, 1.25), and 1.27 (1.09, 1.49), respectively (P for linear trend = 0.005). No association was apparent for older women.

Conclusion
We observed no association between chocolate intake and risk of CHD, stroke, or both combined in participants free of pre-existing major chronic disease. The relation for both combined was modified by age, with a significant positive linear trend and an increased risk in the highest quintile of chocolate consumption among women age <65 y. This trial was registered at clinicaltrials.gov as NCT03453073.
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