Healthiest Chocolate Fix

Healthiest Chocolate Fix
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Which has the highest levels of beneficial phytonutrients: baking chocolate, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate?

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Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The phytonutrients in soy responsible for lowering cancer risk are called isoflavones—a type of flavonoid. 

There are also flavonoids in chocolate, but where are they found the most? According to a new study this year, in terms of phytonutrient content, is the healthiest chocolate fix baking chocolate, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips?

Here’s the graph. Which one takes the cake? Cocoa powder is definitely the best way to get your chocolate fix.

You know how dark chocolate is like 70% cocoa solids? Well, cocoa powder is like 90+% cocoa solids—that’s basically all it is!

#2 is the baking chocolate. Which is #3, though? The semi-sweet chips are actually #3, with dark chocolate #4.

Any guess as to last place? Well, they’re both pretty useless, but the hint is the “genuine chocolate flavor.”

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Below is an approximation of this video’s audio content. To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video.

The phytonutrients in soy responsible for lowering cancer risk are called isoflavones—a type of flavonoid. 

There are also flavonoids in chocolate, but where are they found the most? According to a new study this year, in terms of phytonutrient content, is the healthiest chocolate fix baking chocolate, chocolate syrup, cocoa powder, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, or semi-sweet chocolate chips?

Here’s the graph. Which one takes the cake? Cocoa powder is definitely the best way to get your chocolate fix.

You know how dark chocolate is like 70% cocoa solids? Well, cocoa powder is like 90+% cocoa solids—that’s basically all it is!

#2 is the baking chocolate. Which is #3, though? The semi-sweet chips are actually #3, with dark chocolate #4.

Any guess as to last place? Well, they’re both pretty useless, but the hint is the “genuine chocolate flavor.”

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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Doctor's Note

Interested in more about cocoa/chocolate? Check out these videos:
Cocoa Good; Chocolate Bad
Dark Chocolate & Artery Function
A Treatment for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

And check out my other videos on cocoa

For more context, also see my associated blog post: The Best Foods: test your nutrition knowledge.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

54 responses to “Healthiest Chocolate Fix

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    1. My question is regarding potassium and phosphorus content on cocoa powder, as it may relate to a patient with kidney disease. Is cocoa processed with/without alkali higher or lower in potassium? I understand the phosphorus content would be pretty consistent in either, but does the processing lower or raise the potassium content for either product?

      Thani you so much for any information you can provide.
      Blessings,
      Lorrie in Seattle




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  1. Is it more healthful to mix cocoa powder with milk or milk alternative or with water when making a chocolate drink? I am a chocoholic but I want to consume it the most beneficial way.




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    1. If I want a drink I’ll mix cocoa powder with rice milk which is pretty widely available but the best I’ve tried so far is with millet milk (Isolabio makes it but it’s more difficult to find). It doesn’t have any added sugar but tastes quite sweet. I mix cocoa powder with a smushed banana and enjoy that as a snack fairly often. You can also make fake nutella by mixing cocoa with hazelnut butter and adding a sugar replacement like stevia. (As you can tell, I’m a chocoholic too) ;-)




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  2. yummy: The main concern in the chocolate is the saturated fat and the sugar. If you consume cocoa powder, you will receive all the benefits without the saturated fat or sugar. The recipes and ideas are endless, but I doubt that cocoa powder and water would be a very palatable beverage. A milk alternative with added cocoa is an excellent idea. Try this recipe! http://nutritionfacts.org/videos/healthy-chocolate-milkshakes/

    Here’s a video on sweeteners as well: http://nutritionfacts.org/topics/sweeteners/




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    1. Hey, I beg to differ about the cocoa and water. I had something in a children’s museum once that was just cocoa, water, and cinnamon. They were demonstrating something like the original Mayan’s chocolatl. It was very good. I still make it that way sometimes.




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      1. I make mine with mostly water but heaps and heaps of dutch cocoa powder – 4 heaped teaspoons. I also add sugar and cinnamon to mine




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  3. Cocoa powder with almond milk is delicious! I like to make a smoothie with the cocoa powder, almond milk, ground flax seeds, a little vanilla, and coconut oil. You can also change it up by adding a banana and/or peanut butter! Very good, filling and healthy! You don’t need to sweeten it – the almond milk has a some sugar in it.




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      1. Thanks for your comment. I’ve seen Dr. Greger’s video on coconut oil. There are conflicting opinions out there… I think an occasional tablespoon or so is not going to be life-threatening. It adds a nice flavor and texture. I am not afraid of some healthy saturated fat in moderation as long as you compensate for the fat and calories in your daily intake.




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        1. There are many opinions out there indeed on coconut oil. It has become over hyped by the media with little scientific backing, as has olive oil. Do not be fooled. A tablespoon of coconut oil has 12 grams of saturated fat, and since we have no dietary need for saturated fat and our intake should stay as close as possible to zero, the intake of this oil can only be considered harmful. The more saturated fat you take, the more you increase your risk for developing heart disease, there is no “healthy” saturated fat.

          I could see the inclusion of this oil on rare occasions if one is already eating a low fat whole foods vegan diet, but other than that, Americans do not need anymore saturated fat in their diet.




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    1. Thank you for the link to this recipe…have been wanting to try the black bean brownies for a while now…will bring to work also to see if folks will eat them (not telling them about the beans though)…hee hee!




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  4. What about raw cacao beans?
    You’ve mentioned that cocoa powder is nutritious, having had the fat removed, so would that mean that whole, unprocessed cacao beans would be a case where the whole food is actually bad for you and the processed, isolated food is good? Just wondering — should I stop using raw cacao beans? raw cacao nibs? raw cacao powder?




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    1. I was thinking the same thing and would love and answer. raw cocoa beans are a wonderful snack and (I always thought) a “superfood” as well.
      I must admit that I am quite disappointed in that Dr. Greger didn’t even mention the whole natural food. I get that the flaw was in the study, as most people wouldn’t recognize a cocoa bean anyway. However, I would have expected Dr. Greger to at least mention the whole raw unprocessed version of the food.




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  5. In Dr. Greger’s video, it shows 70% as the dark chocolate…what about 90% dark chocolate? That’s what I’ve been eating when I want a chocolate treat…the cocoa powder shown is described as having 90% cacao solids…is the same true for a 90% dark chocolate bar? (Lindt is my usual go-to but I also love a Polish brand called Wawel which I believe is pronounced “Vavel”) thanks so much!  I ♥ Dr. Greger and his work!




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  6. Hello Dr. Greger! 

    Thank you so much for all the incredibly informative and interesting videos you make for us. 
    I have stopped consuming whey protein after workouts. I’d like to know if you have a suggestion to replace the protein shake. Also, can my wife and I have too much soy protein isolate? We are currently blending 1/4 cup of raw oats, half banana, vanilla soymilk, 1/2 tbsp of sugar free peanut butter and 20 grm of soy protein isolate with ice and water. Thanks!




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    1. Thanks for this. Odd that it’s got milk choc so high up the list after we’ve learnt the goodies in milk choc are not bioavaialbe. I guess the list doesn’t take that into account, but then it is the only food on list that is mixed with anything else! :O)




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  7. Use this guilt-free, nutritious, and delicious dessert to incorporate the bean with the most antioxidants (http://nutritionfacts.org/video/the-best-bean-2/)
    and the healthiest chocolate fix into your diet.

    Black Bean Brownies

    -2 cups cooked black beans
    -1 large very ripe banana, mashed
    -½ tbsp vanilla extract
    -1/3 cup cacoa powder
    -pinch cayenne pepper
    -pinch sea salt

    Mash beans to desired consistency. Mash banana in a separate bowl and add to beans. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Stir in cacoa powder, cayenne pepper, and sea salt until thoroughly mixed. Spread mixture in a glass baking dish and cut into squares. No baking necessary.




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  8. I created this recipe a few years back and it satisfies my daily chocolate fix. So delicious yet so simple.

    Happiness By Chocolate
    – ½ banana, mashed
    – 2 ½ tablespoons cacoa powder
    • Simply mix two ingredients together and enjoy. Makes one serving.
    • Depending on the consistency you prefer, vary the ratio of banana to chocolate. For a more pudding-like consistency use a whole banana and use less banana if you would rather a fudgier texture. The banana’s ripeness will
    also dictate the consistency.




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  9. What about raw chocolate, such as cacao nibs? Usually, the rule is that the less processed a food is, the better it is for you. Since raw cacao is much less processed than cocoa powder, does it have more beneficial properties?




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  10. I would like to know to what extent the flavanols in cocoa powder are destroyed by adding hot water during the making of a hot cocoa beverage. I assume it would be better to consume without adding any heat, but I really like preparing it in the same way as matcha – this method works really well. Thanks,




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    1. There may be some loss but just making an assumption, it doesn’t make a difference in the big picture. There may be some loss but not complete loss, and we should eat these types of foods in whichever way entices us to eat them the most.




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    1. Cocoa from bars have a lot of fat, some added sugars and milk as well in some cases. I don’t think this is necessarily applicable.




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      1. However, his study singles out theobromine in cocoa specifically. The paper mentioned that there were other studies done on theobromine. Any chance we could get a word from Dr. Gregor about it?




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        1. This study is a correlation between testicular dysfunction in males and chocolate consumption by country. They cite other research of the effects of theobromine in rodents, but no evidence in humans. They propose that chocolate consumption by pregnant women carrying male fetuses and by very young males could effect testicular function later in life, but they do not have evidence or mechanism. Eating chocolate as an adult male does not seem to be related to any testicular issues (according to this article), and they acknowledge that milk and sugar go along with human consumption which is how they proxy cocoa use at a country-wide level. Considered alone, this study is pretty weak.




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  11. My understanding is that raw cacao is made by cold-pressing cacao beans. It
    keeps the living enzymes in the cacao while removing the fat (cacao
    butter).
    Cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been
    roasted at high temperatures. I believe that roasting changes the molecular
    structure of the cacao bean, reducing the enzyme content and lowering
    the overall nutritional value somewhat. I trust that Dr. Greger will address this difference when he gets back to this subject.




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  12. I recently heard that raw cacao is toxic to the liver, is highly addictive, and can even become a hallucinogen. Yet lots of people in the raw community believe raw cacao to be an amazing super food. Dr. Gregor, can you set the record straight?




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  13. After reading How Not to Die, The China Study, Eat to Live, The Campbell Plan, Smart Fat, Salt Sugar & Fat and Eating Animals I believe Dr. Gregor’s guidelines are by far the most compelling and incidentally part of the reason I became vegan in 04-2016. Being vegan unfortunately comes with it’s own issues and for me gas is one of them. Dr Gregor defers to Dr. Michael Klaper regarding probiotics and green tea is listed as being not friendly to gut flora which is something I (did) drink a lot. There is a lot of what not to drink from Klaper but little in the way of what promotes good bacteria. I understand cocoa is a promoter of good bacteria.




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    1. Kimmer,

      I want to address your issues with gas. Have you tried any of the plant enzyme combination products or just plain HCL ? In clinical practice this is not an unusual response to the vegan diet. A easy trial of some digestants, and yes there are a ton of em…..I apologize for not diving into a full discourse, however this simple trial might solve your gas issue. Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger




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