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Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes

Recipes for ways to incorporate cocoa into your diet without the saturated fat or sugar of chocolate.

September 20, 2007 |
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Supplementary Info

Sources Cited



So, turning the breakfast smoothie I described earlier into a chocolate smoothie by adding cocoa powder makes it even healthier. Here's my annual recipe for the year. Dutch processed cocoa (try to find fair-trade of course). date sugar, frozen dark red cherries and unsweetened or DHA fortified soy milk  Now date sugar is not sugar. It's a whole food, whole dates just pulverized. So that and black strap molasses are really the only two healthful sweeteners. So cocoa, date sugar, frozen berries and plant based milk. And you can put the ground flax seeds in for a nutrient boost and to thicken it up. Put that all in a blender and we have a chocolate milkshake that's actually good for us. Literally health promoting. Meaning the more chocolate milkshake you drink, the healthier you'll be. Take out the berries and you can heat it up for healthy hot chocolate. Or instead of the soy milk try silken tofu and you've got instant chocolate pudding. The more chocolate pudding you eat, the healthier you are. Kids absolutely love it. It's been a good year in nutritional science.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by veganmontreal.

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Dr. Michael Greger

Doctor's Note

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 theprequel 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!

  • 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!

  • 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!!

  • becochic

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

    • Michael Greger M.D.

      Good question becochic! Milk does seem to block the beneficial effects of both tea and chocolate (and even berries, see, but though soymilk may block the benefits of tea (at least in a petri dish, see, no word on its effects on other foods. Until we know more, another plant-based milk (such as almond) is a reasonable choice. The calcium, though, would not be expected to interfere with phytonutrient absorption.

  • 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…

    • 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.

  • Anthony Luke

    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!

  • Emma Feigenberg

    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.

  • 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!