Dutch vs. Regular Cocoa

Image Credit: Sugar Sweet Sunshine / Flickr

Isn’t regular cocoa powder healthier than alkali-processed “dutched” cocoa?

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.

Yummy / Originally asked on Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes

Answer:

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 twice as much! 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 (like for our healthy chocolate ice cream recipe), but if the taste of regular cocoa works for you, then go for it–you’re getting even more benefit per spoonful!

Image credit: Sugar Sweet Sunshine / Flickr

Discuss

Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


18 responses to “Isn’t regular cocoa powder healthier than alkali-processed “dutched” cocoa?

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    1. Alkali isn’t a thing; it’s a process. They expose the chocolate to a base (in the chemistry sense), which changes the flavor and nutrient composition.

  1. MMM……enjoying some Dutched Cocoa as I have with so many of your recommendations. I don’t think many people really realize the benefits – though you gave us great insights from the Indians. May be time to revisit the subject. Thanks

    1. Dutch processed tastes better to me and still has many health benefits. Dutch has more iron than regular, for example. If one has an issue then blend the two. I’ve never had any problem using Dutch processed instead of regular in any recipe even though some will swear that it shouldn’t work, it does and it’s great.

  2. Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa is a blend of natural and dutched (alkalinized) cocoa. Natural is listed first on the ingredients. It is also delicious. I do like that Hershey is very straightforward on the label – they say “Dutch Processed cocoas are typically lower in antioxidant content than natural cocoa, and as a result Hersheys Special Dark cocoa provides few antioxidants than Hershy’s Natural Unsweetened cocoa”.

  3. WhatsOnMyFood.Org has an interactive chart that compares levels of various agricultural chemicals on specific organic vs. non-organic foods, by name of food and chemical. Some people are very sensitive to some classes of chemicals, such as salicylates and sulphonamides—especially after a history of having been dosed up, and undergone a series of serious side effects from drugs prescribed by by cardiologists— drugs within these same classes of chemicals. (Indeed some pharmaceutical corporations have agrichemical divisions!).
    Having learned that cocoa powder and other chocolate comes in organic as well as non-organic with agrichemicals sprayed on them, I have asked WhatsOnMyFood.org to include cocoa (and buckwheat) in their interactive chart. Organic cocoa is available online– e.g., from Vitacost.

    1. Hershey’s cocoa powder is unsweetened and 100% cacao.
      In reference to the bars and morsels, well then there are different types for all brands such as semi sweet, 100% cacao, white chocolate, etc.

  4. It doesn’t help much when someone who is an expert just doesn’t do enough research and gives too simple an answer. The health benefit depends on how much alkali processing. It is not consistent and heavy processing takes most of the health benefit away. Real research has an abstract. This is real easy to read and understand if you want a real answer. See: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18710243

    1. The issue with that though is that it is also subjective. Scientific studies are done with the basis of one’s hypothesis and they offer info to prove their point. There are just as many studies saying coffee, for example, is good for you as there are stating that it’s bad. The best thing is to gather data from many different and various sources, try the product, and see what works best personally for you.
      We’re not all standard textbook cases or fit specific lab criteria.

      I prefer the taste of unsweetened Dutch processed so it is what I use. I don’t care for the others so they offer zero benefits to me. The Dutch processed has more iron and I’ve never had any problem with substituting it for the regular in any recipe I’ve ever made.
      If you want both then mix them and that too would work and give you the benefits of both.

  5. Also if someone is trying to reduce acid forming food in diet then dutched cocoa is better as normal cocoa is listed as very acidic. Many green or protein powders that are choc flavoured have a mix of normal and dutch in so you get the full antioxidants from normal but the dutch helps balance acidic content so i put a bit of both is any cakes or smoothies etc i make.

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