Doctor's Note

For some of the most recent videos on the health benefits of cocoa:

How dates can contribute to our cardiovascular health:

And for more on the health benefits of cherries:

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  • Michael Greger M.D.

    Please feel free to post any ask-the-doctor type questions here in the comments section and I’d be happy to try to answer them. And check out the prequel to this video. Also, there are 1,449 other subjects covered in the rest of my videos–please feel free to explore them as well!

    • Jack

      Hi, can you help on the sugar question. I know you have lots of videos on the topic but I am a little confused. What is the best thing to use in recipes…is it date sugar or erythritol?
      And is xylitol ok to use after you eat in mints or gum (just about 5 grams a day total)? I heard it is good to help prevent cavities. Thanks for any help!!

  • yummy

    In a previous video, it was stated that “regular” cocoa powder was healthier than the processed “dutched” cocoa powder, but this recipe states dutched. I prefer the unprocessed which I believe to be healthier.

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Yummy–what a great name to post under a video on chocolate! :) You are absolutely right that alkali-processed “dutched” cocoa is not as healthy (See Update on Chocolate for the graph and Healthiest Chocolate Fix for some other chocolate comparisons). Dutched cocoa can have as few as half the phytonutrients, but that just means you have to use 50% more! Making things even more chocolatey has never been a problem for me, and I just like the taste so much better that my household uses Dutch, but if the taste of regular cocoa works for you, then go for it–you’re getting even more benefit per spoonful!

      • LynnCS

        Great info. I am not a chocoholic, but it is fun to have something like this now and then. Nice to find a healthy recipe. I don’t like to use the non dairy drinks so whiz up a couple frozen bananas and spring water to simulate milk. I bought a bag of powdered carob. So far I am not impressed with the “chocolate” flavor. Maybe I didn’t use enough, but thought you might have some experience in using it in a similar drink. would love an idea about how much to use if you or anyone has some experience. Thanks, Lynn

      • Linda

        Thanks, Dr Greger for this video!!

        I agree with yummy, and go for the natural non-alkalized cocoa powder… more of the phytonutrients!!

      • Math police

        Don’t you mean twice as much?

      • chef

        you have to use 100% more.

  • becochic

    Doesn’t milk block the good benefits in chocolate and tea? Could the calcium in soy milk also block the beneficial stuff?

  • Kmbrly

    Does anyone have a recipe for this or approximate amounts? I am really bad at just throwing things together – I need a jumping off point! Thanks in advance.

    • DrDons

      You can go to the more recent video, A Better Breakfast aired on 1/19/12 see under Amla under browse all topics. Rough start for you 1 cup of plant based milk(soy, almond, rice, etc.), 1/2 cup frozen berries(cherries, blueberries), 2 tsp of cocoa powder and if you add sweetener consider date sugar. The series on Amla suggests you add 1 tsp of Amla powder(we ordered ours online as had trouble finding in our location) plus 1-2 tsp of ground flax meal. Hope this proves to be a good start. Keep tuned to for the latest in ideas for your smoothies…

      • Imu2day

        How much date sugar? I made this and it was terrible but I didn’t add the fruit and guessed on the sugar. I’d like to try it again with some more accurate measurements. I’m terrible at cooking. haha

    • hey.jude

      I used one cup of vanilla flavored unsweetened almond milk, 4 fresh Rainier cherries, 2 rounded TB cocoa powder, one dried medjool date and two small ice cubes, blended it and it was delicious.

  • How do cacao nibs factor into this healthy chocolate discussion? I use them in smoothies and baking

  • Eva

    You say “without the saturated fat of chocolate”, but cocoa powder is still high in saturated fats. Could you explain why it’s ok to eat cocoa powder even though it contains saturated fat?

  • Vegetable Man

    I came up with this Vegan Chocolate Shake years ago as a way to meet daily Omega-3 needs, and would never go a day without having one:

    2 tbsp. Whole Organic Flax Seeds
    1/4 cup Whole Organic Raw Almonds
    2 heaping tbsp. Ah!Laska Organic Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
    1/8 rounded tsp. NuNaturals NuStevia Pure White Stevia Extract
    (Baker’s Cocoa and Stevia… a marriage made in Heaven!)
    1 cup cold Edensoy Organic Unsweetened Soy Milk
    2-1/2 cups Distilled Water (for soaking the nuts & seeds)

    Soak Flax Seeds 12 hours in 1 cup water, last 2 hours in fridge
    Soak Almonds 12 hours in 1-1/2 cup water, last 2 hours in fridge
    Pour Flax Seeds, soak-water and all, into blender and start blender
    Drain, rinse & drain the soaked almonds and add to running blender
    Add remaining ingredients to running blender and blend till smooth

    Pour and enjoy right away, while the oils are fresh. Mood boost guaranteed!

    • Linda

      This is right up my alley… and I use the stevia product you mention above!! I love it and use it in cooking, baking, beverages, deserts, bbq sauce, etc… yummy!

    • betsmc

      I’m wondering why you soak the flax seeds and almonds. I put them directly into smoothies. Is there a nutritional benefit?

      • Vegetable Man

        Soaking activates the enzymes, making them more digestible. They also blend a little smoother. I skip the soaking when I’m away from home, though, for the sake of convenience. (Apologies for the delayed response!)

        FYI, I’ve modified my recipe since first writing this: Can no longer get the purest Stevia extract, so I double up on the Stevia and add a heaping tbsp. of Date Sugar. Also, instead of 2 heaping tbsp. cocoa powder, I now use 1 heaping tbsp. cocoa powder + 1 heaping tbsp. raw organic cacao nibs, for a deeper chocolate flavor.

  • Hello! This sounds delicious. What are you views on combining sweet and fat? Many will tell you it is not a good idea… Would love to know what you think… Thank you for all the very very helpful info on this fine page!!!

    • Sacred Steve

      I make Sacred Chocolate and we use alternative sweeteners such as maple, Inulin, and Erythritol. So, there are alternatives out there.

  • Elley

    Oh I have to try that. yum chocolate healthy style

  • Elley

    what about peanutbutter and chocolate smoothy yummy

  • uma

    this is great doc…. soy is controversial and said to raise estrogen levels… can you please help. You make so many things clearer… it would be great if you could talk on this as well.

    • Thea

      uma: I agree that Dr. Greger does a great job of making things clearer. There are several videos on this site that covers this topic. Here is a list to get you started. You might want to start with the video: “Soy and breast cancer”.

  • Susan Gee Rumsey

    You suggest using soy milk here, but isn’t soy a problem in the USA because it is nearly all GM? How about if I use almond milk instead?

    • Thea

      Susan: I don’t think there is anything wrong with using almond milk instead. However, if you want to avoid GMOs and if you want to get a good serving of soy in your diet, you could get organic soy milk. That would(should) be free of GMOs.

      Also, if you happen to live near a stored called “Trader Joes”, they say that any food produced under their brand is free of GMOs whether the food is listed as organic or not. (At least this was true at the point I read it. Don’t know how far into the future this will be true.) I know that there is a Trader Joes brand soy milk. So, that is an option too.

      • Rebecca Cody

        I don’t think Trader Joe’s can be trusted not to have GMOs in foods that aren’t organic. Check out the Food Babe website ( for her report on Trader Joe’s items.

        I buy supplements from a company that sells many different brands, only to doctors, nutritionists, and other professionals and they even have some GMO items because of manufacturing processes. GMOs are everywhere, and almost impossible to avoid. Read totally impossible if you ever eat out.

  • Lynette

    Thank you for all your amazing work, facts, tips, humour and care!

  • Nate justice

    Awesome. I’ve been wondering how I could sweeten up the bitterness of my cacao powder without using processed sugars. Now I know how to and more. Thanks Dr. Greger!

  • David Pollock

    The healthy chocolate shake sounds great but do remember: cocoa powder contains caffeine. If you use more than about one tablespoon, then you are getting into the territory of coffee, as long as you know that and are ok with it.

  • Radonna Willis

    One frozen banana, one cup non dairy milk, one tablespoon cocoa powder. Blend. I use homemade cashew milk and sometimes I’ll add a couple of dates and some ice cubes to make it extra thick and rich.

  • Embarrassing! And have I read somewhere that this is a non-commercial site. And again, haven’t you heard about food combining?! Sugar with protein and… more protein (flax)?! Wholesome food indeed!

    • Joseph Gonzales R.D.

      Hello Predrag1970, I see how this can be misinterpreted, but please note we are not advising anyone to choose these brands of soymilk, date sugar, or cocoa powder. The idea is more about giving practical advice, with visuals, on how to include these healthful foods (and potentially cure a sweet-tooth). If you have others that you’ve found helpful and delicious you are free to discuss. I don’t care one way or the other what brands people choose, so long as they simply choose healthful foods.

      Thanks for your comment our member feedback is important!

  • C. Gavitt

    Please, just post the recipe in the usual recipe format and state how many servings: i.e. 1 T date sugar, 2 T cocoa, etc. Then the instructions. It really makes it easier. Also, I would vastly prefer the daily postings from Dr. Greger in transcript form, rather than video. Most of the time, there is now “see transcript” button. I absorb material better if it’s in writing. In this way, I can decide to skim the article, or else put it on my favorites — or post it on facebook. Thanks for your consideration.

  • C. Gavitt

    I meant “NO ‘see transcript button'”…Sorry

  • Zarwa Yaseen

    Dr Greger, are the sugars in fruits and date sugar safe to consume for insulin resistant individuals? Does it prevent weight loss?

  • Slawek Gromadzki

    Small doses of cocoa from time to time shouldn’t cause much harm but
    carob powder would be healthier solution since cocoa is high in
    theobromine which is linked to a higher risk of breast cancer according
    to some authors. Below I included link to my article with their quotes:

  • Travis J Silberstorf

    I make this cold and hot on the delicious

  • Mary Styer Schrock

    What is your opinion of omeprazole?

    • NFModeratorKatie

      Hi Mary – I thought you might the following info to be helpful. Dr. G discusses the use of proton-pump inhibitors in this video: Diet and GERD Acid Reflux Heartburn

  • Karolina from France

    Is really soy without dangers for women hormonal balance, please? I’m really confused about this subject!!!

    • Cathleen

      Dr. Greger has done videos on soy that may reassure you on its safety for most women. Here’s one: soy and breast cancer, but you can search in the search box at the top of this page for more. The bottom line is that non GMO soy is safe for women; in fact, in countries where there is high soy consumption, there are lower rates of breast cancer. Hope that helps!

  • Danielle Johansson

    Hi Dr. Greger – I’ve read that alkalizing (Dutch Process) cocoa takes away significant amounts of flavanol in chocolate. Here is a paper that talks about it. If you find it to be legitimate, you might want to alter your video to specify using non-Dutch process cocoa.
    J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Sep 24;56(18):8527-33. doi: 10.1021/jf801670p. Epub 2008 Aug 19.
    Impact of alkalization on the antioxidant and flavanol content of commercial cocoa powders.
    Cocoa is a food ingredient that is important for the contribution of flavor to foods but is also associated with potential health benefits. The chemistry thought to be responsible for its cardiovascular health benefits is the flavanol (flavan-3-ol) antioxidants. Evidence from the literature indicates that natural cocoas are high in flavanols, but when the cocoa is processed with alkali, also known as Dutch processing or Dutching, the flavanols are substantially reduced.