Cacao Vs Cocoa – Which Chocolate is Healthy For You?
Cacao is processed in five main steps. The beans are fermented, dried, roasted, crushed, and then ground. I think it’s easy to see how they lose their nutritional value. The fermentation process is where the flavor and smell we associate with chocolate begins. Once the beans are dry, they are sold to various chocolate makers, to become either raw cacao products or continued processing to eventually become cocoa powder. From there, on the way to become cocoa, the beans are roasted. This brings out more of the sweet flavor. The roasted beans are crushed, producing chunks that are sold as cacao nibs. Cacao nibs have become more popular as an alternative to chocolate chips or added to protein shakes for the benefits. The cacao nibs are ground up and pressed to remove the fat, leaving behind cocoa powder.
Everybody is different. Just like having a gluten sensitivity, anyone can also have reactions to chocolate or cocoa. We test for sensitivities and intolerances to over 500 food items, including cocoa powder, as well as six different preservatives (listed on our website as E 380, E 442, E 524, E525, E 526, and E 560) found in chocolate products. If you believe you’re having symptoms of an intolerance to chocolate, or symptoms of a nutritional deficiency (i.e. magnesium, iron) it only takes 10-15 strands of your hair to find out!
I stood in the candy aisle in Trader Joe’s for about 30 minutes deciding which chocolate to buy as research (and motivation) for me to write this post. It’s hard enough not to buy everything in the store, but to examine all of the different chocolate products without buying all of them took a lot of self control. I had to remind myself of all our blog posts from last month to keep myself accountable for my health goals. Go check them out!