Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes

Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes
4.38 (87.69%) 65 votes

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


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 blackstrap 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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 blackstrap 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.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

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:

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

76 responses to “Healthy Chocolate Milkshakes

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    1. 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!!

    2. Hello Dr. Greger, I have recently watched your healthy milk shake recipe video and wanting to try it.. Is it healthy to use Almond or cashew milk instead of Soy Milk. I am concerned about the estrogen in Soy milk or soy products. You have recommended date sugar and I would appreciate it if you could please answer whether stevia and xyletol are also equally healthy like date sugar. Thank you.

      1. Hi,
        Estrogen in soy products is not harmful unless you eat very high amounts and it becomes an excess. Date sugar has antioxidants whereas stevia and xylitol has not. Stevia and xylitol are more helpful with loosing weight.

        I hope this helps

        Yared, Health Support Volunteer

        1. Thank you Yared for your response. Could you also advise me about Cashew milk. Is it equally healthy as almond milk? I have never tried soy milk and yesterday I checked the “Silk” Soy milk nutrition label to compare with “Silk” cashew milk and almond milk. Soy Milk has added sugar whereas cashew and almond milk do not have added sugar. So if I have an option I prefer cashew milk. I have been taking organic 0% cow’s milk to get my calcium but now avoiding it because many advise against drinking cow’s milk. Would love your comments. Thank you.

          1. Silk has an unsweet, organic Soy milk. It’s carton has a tealish or turquoise color on it. West Soy has unsweetened. The cartons are on on the shelf, not in the refrigerator. Trader Joe’s has organic unsweetened Soy milk on the shelf with no extra ingredients for a very reasonable price. They all taste so good. They are so great in place of coffee creamer.

  1. 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.

    1. 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!

      1. 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

      2. Thanks, Dr Greger for this video!!

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

      3. Dr Greger! As resourceful as you are, how can you even suggest Silk Milk? Here is a link-

        Commitment to Organics and Sustainability:

        Recently, Dean Foods reformulated their Silk product line converting almost all their products to “natural” (conventional) soybeans. They did this, quietly, without telling retailers or changing the UPC code numbers on the products. Many retailers have reported to us that they didn’t find out about the change until their customers noticed and complained.
        To add insult to injury, not only did the price of Silk products not go down when they switched to cheaper conventional soybeans, but they now reintroduced three products with organic soybeans and raised the price on those. Greedy profiteering plain and simple.
        Dean Foods tells its customers that it partners with Conservation International to source soybeans that are produced in a sustainable, socially responsible and ethical manner. Dean Foods has not made these standards of sustainability available to its customers-unlike the USDA organic standards, customers have no way of accessing their exact definition of sustainability, which remains unclear. We question why they do not simply purchase USDA-certified organic soybeans.
        Production with a Neurotoxic Chemical:

        Silk’s Light soymilk, as well as its “Heart Health” soymilk, is made with hexane-extracted soy flour instead of whole soybeans. Hexane is a highly explosive volatile solvent. It is a byproduct of gasoline refining and a neurotoxin. Soybeans used in Silk’s Light and Heart Health soymilk are immersed in this neurotoxic petrochemical to make soy flour, which is listed as the main ingredient in these Silk products.
        Hexane is classified as a “hazardous air pollutant” by the Environmental Protection Agency and emissions are regulated for their contribution to air pollution. Food processors are the country’s major hexane emitters. When The Cornucopia Institute sent samples of hexane-extracted soy flour to an independent lab for residue testing, residues as high as 21 parts per million were found. The effects on consumer health of repeated and long-term consumption of hexane-extracted soy ingredients have not been thoroughly studied. An extraction process that does not involve hexane is available, but using hexane is cheaper for the processor.
        Silk’s creamers and Silk Plus Omega-3 DHA contain other minor hexane-extracted ingredients-soy lecithin and algal oil, respectively. Moreover, the Cornucopia Institute has received reports from parents of toddlers and children who experienced diarrhea and stomach upset from the DHA used in Silk (Life’s DHA by Martek Biosciences Corporation). This is the same additive, found in infant formula (extracted from algae and soil fungus), that has been linked to severe adverse reactions in infants. (Cornucopia has obtained adverse reaction reports from the FDA verifying this unfortunate health side-effect.) The FDA has never tested the safety of Life’s DHA, relying instead on safety data supplied by the same corporation that has a financial interest in selling and placing these additives in foods. The FDA did, however, indicate serious reservations regarding the safety of these additives.

    1. 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.

  2. 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.

    1. 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…

      1. 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

    2. 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.

  3. 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?

  4. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. 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.

  5. 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!!!

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

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

  8. 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!

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

    1. 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!

  12. 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.

    1. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. Hi!

    I keep asking this question about the saturated fat in cocoa, and I am not getting any answers :(

    In “How not to die” dr. Greger says that refining cocoa beans is actually a good thing, because it removes the saturated fat. But in one of his videos here he says that processed cocoa is not so good and he recommends raw cocoa powder.

    So I bought some raw, unskimmed cocoa, and I checked the nutritional information, and it does contain saturated fats, around 30%. So my question is: what kind of cocoa should I be using to get all the good stuff and antioxidants from it but not the saturated fat?

    I’d really appreciate a straight-up answer.

    Thank you.

    1. Hey Peter, thanks for writing, and sorry for the delay in response. We Moderators answer as many questions as we can with the volunteer time we donate :)

      It’s been known for a LONG time that the fat in cocoa does NOT have a cholesterol-raising effect; when compared with the saturated fats found in animal products; therefore, there is little to no reason to be concerned about which cocoa you use. Thanks again for your patience, and keep well!

  15. DR. JOE GONZALES R.D. in the UPDATE on CHOCOLATE VIDEO . DR. G. state process cocoa is less healthy the process cocoa ex dutch cocoa.. This is not followed in the video HEALTHY CHOCOLATE MILKSHAKES. In this one he is proposing fair exchange dutch processed cocoa. Please explain.

    1. Dr. Joe Gonzales R.D. was a person that Dr. G ( Greger) had hired to field questions for him. My questions were for him or you Ben about the 2 videos that were put out by Dr. Greger that seem on the surface to be stating 2 opposite things about cocoa the being that we should not use dutch processed cocoa and the other where he states he uses dutch process cocoa

  16. In his video “Dark Chocolate & Artery Function” (June 27, 2014) (, Dr. Geger notes: — Sugar isn’t good for us, either. Sugar impairs arterial function. … That’s why sugar-free cocoa improves arterial function better than the same amount of cocoa with sugar added. — So how does date sugar compare to added refined sugar, in their effects on cocoa powder’s effects on arterial function?

  17. Hello, is there a video regarding lead levels in blackstrap molasses? Proposition 65 in california has a warning label on the jar.
    Thank you for your time.

    Is cocoavia the same as raw cocoa powder? I would like to have a little chocolate in my daily food plan, and I use just one half tsp cocoavia in my oatmeal or steel cut oats or oatbran with almonds, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, and hempseeds to increase omega 3 fats. I use one tablespoon each of the last 3 ingredients. An omega 3 and 6 ratio was done in a blood test, and the results were not great, since I am vegan. I also eat one ounce of nuts each day, which consists of about ten almonds and 6 whole walnuts. I wanted to take an EPA DHA supplement, as recommended by the cardiologist who recommended Dr Greger’s book which I love and also Dr Fuhrman who discusses the EPA DHA supplement in his book, but I recently was told by the cardiologist that this supplement may cause bleeding. Any info on this? I usually buy from Pure Encapsulations which was recommended to me by a professor of healthcare who is very familiar with the integrity of this company. Thank you

  19. Rivka,

    Indeed your CocoaVia is a cocoa extract.

    CocoaVia® is a daily cocoa extract supplement. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated that the cocoa flavanols in CocoaVia® products promote healthy blood flow from head to toe†. Through our patented Cocoapro® process, we gently preserve cocoa flavanols in their purest form, protecting them in the highest concentration available in a cocoa extract supplement today. By promoting healthy blood flow, the cocoa flavanols in CocoaVia® supplement help your cardiovascular system deliver oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. When your blood is circulating properly, vital organs, from your head to your toes, get the oxygen and nutrients they need to help you maintain who you are for years to come. CocoaVia® supplement comes in two convenient forms: capsules and powdered stick packs.

    Please see their site regarding the heavy metals issues and my findings in my answer to Panchito regarding the toxic metals found in numerous products. CocoaVia is high in a number of the toxins from the 2014 testing. (

    Dr. Alan Kadish moderator for Dr. Greger

  20. I have also tried making this breakfast smoothie with soy/almond milk of choice – frozen bananas – coco powder – and powdered peanut butter. Ice cubes if necessary for the right consistency. The bananas make it sweet enough – so delicious!

  21. While I find date sugar harder to find ; I have great success with just a mejool date or two (pitted) dropped into the blender along with the cherries, cocoa, ground flax, nut milk and occasionally hemp seeds and almond butter and avocado. The avocado makes it thicker and better for a smoothie bowl with granola or seeds etc on top!

  22. Hello,
    I would like to ask You about two things:

    1. About plant based milk, especially hemp milk, because I’m a little confused. I’m not sure if plant milks could be call whole foods? Are they good for us? In many videos You were telling that oils are bad for our health because they’re not whole foods, they haven’t got their natural packages etc. Is that not the same for plant milks? They don’t have all fiber, vitamines, microelements etc. Can You tell what’s Your opinion?

    2. About food sensivities. Ihave hashimoto disease and couple of food sensivities. One of them is gluten, especially from wheat, so I am on GF diet, and some other foods like quinoa, tomatoes, chickpeas, cachews… I avoid most of grains and all nightshades (for now), but I’m not sure I do right. Maybe my guts need some starch from grains to produce good bacteries and I should include some of those in my diet, ofcourse not wheat, but rye for example? Recently I’ve started reintroduce some products like lentils, pea, buckwheat, sweet patatoes. But I’m afraid of increasing my inflammation and reaction of my autoimmune system? Or is it possible to reverse these sensivities by following WFPB diet and once I heal my guts, there would be no inflamation and no food sensivities at all? Is that all about gut bacteries? Or food sensivities don’t reverse? I would be very grateful for Your answer!

  23. Plant milks are not whole foods and have many additives including sodium. There is no evidence that they promote health as well as whole plant foods. Please keep in mind that real milk was evolutionarily designed for infants. If you’re no longer an infant, then you don’t need milk.

    Without objective testing, there is no way to determine if you have food sensitivities. Dr. Greger has reported on gluten and wheat. I believe he stated there is a subset of people that are tolerant of gluten, but not tolerant of wheat. So there is some other component that is the problem.

    You have a long list of foods that you state you are sensitive to, many of which are known to support health and longevity. Assuming that you are sensitive to all of them may not necessarily be true. You might want to find an MD or DO doctor that is familiar with the unbiased research in nutrition that can objectively test you for food sensitivities, otherwise all your assumptions of these sensitivities may be more a placebo affect than anything else. It would be a shame to be missing out on the benefits of foods certain amazing plant foods that you’re really not sensitive too.

    1. Thank You very much for Your reply ;)

      I had been tested, that’s why I know about these sensitivities. But recently, I’ve been reintroducing some products, because of their health benefits. I believe, that once I heal my guts and bacterial flora, there will be no problem at all. Maybe besides few most reactive things. But now, I give myself time and I will see what happens. I just believe in plant-based diet ;)

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