September 17

Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant?

Filed under Caffeine and Stimulants by Frederic Patenaude



– Frederic’s Update

–  Raw Cacao


I’m here in Calgary getting ready for a raw food event called “High Fat or High Fruit?”, put together by the wonderful Diana Stoevelaar from Awesome Rawsome, who’s also contributing a great article on cacao for this issue of the ezine.

If you’re in the Calgary area and would like to attend, the event is on September 23rd at 7 p.m., on “High Fat or High Fruit”, that is the question! For information about attending, go to:


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Today is the last day left to sign up:

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yellowarrow.gif To order the Low Fat Raw Vegan DVDs, click here.


Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant
By Diana Stoevelaar of

Is raw cacao a superfood or harmful stimulant? Although some raw food leaders highly promote cacao as something that should be revered as a food of the Gods, others have spoken out against raw cacao and raw chocolate. Who should you believe? Don’t be fooled by all the hype!

“Many people are being mislead to believe cacao and other foods are healthy. Many of the people who promote it, have a good heart and really feel it is a good food, but I know there are many who sell this product knowing it is toxic and addictive, just to make money.”

Many raw food leaders including Victoria Boutenko, Dr. Doug Graham, Frederic Patenaude, Paul Nissan, Jeremy Safron, Dr. Fred Bisci, and Dr. Brian Clement, have already come to the conclusion that raw cacao is not a superfood but an addictive stimulant. What do they know that you perhaps don’t yet know?

They probably have discovered what Dr. Neal Barnard says in his lecture, Breaking the Food Seduction, namely that, “Chocolate, just like sugar, elicits an opiate reaction within the brain that trips the dopamine receptors and gives us a pleasure response…I don’t mean to say that chocolate is a drug. What I mean to say is that chocolate is the whole darn drugstore!”

When Narcan or Noloxone, the drugs used to block opiate receptors for those suffering a heroine overdose are used in research studies for those with a chocolate addiction, test subjects lose their desire for chocolate.

Jeremy Safron’s findings were as follows:

  • Cacao is one of the most addictive substances known.
  • In some cases of long term use there are also psychological effects that range from addictive tendencies, sexual dysfunction, violent outbursts, lack of reasoning, and decreased will.
  • At mega does of 40 plus beans it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish.
  • Cacao is super toxic to the liver.
  • The result of long term use is a high level of liver and blood toxicity which can cause extreme: mood swings, angry outbursts, violence, depression, paranoia, and dizziness.
  • It is extremely clogging due to the toxins carried in the oils contained within. Plus the fat chains are highly complex and require tons of work to break down.
  • It acts as a stimulant and agitates the kidneys and adrenal glands this can cause: insomnia, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night, shakes, and extreme energy shifts.
  • No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar.
  • If you can convince an animal to eat it then it greatly shortens their life span if it doesn’t kill them immediately. (as with dogs)
  • The native people who ate it only ate the fruit of the theobroma (which contains all the benefits and none of the detriments) and only used the cacao seed as an addition to their psychedelic brew ahyuwascaand as a medicine in emergences.
  • Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, but only for sacred use.
  • When Native people did eat it, they only ate the fruit which contained the benefits without the detriments.

Jeremy Safron’s final stand on cacao is that it is for medicinal, sacred and for entertainment usage only; it is not a health food!

Paul Nison says, “The processing of cacao beans into powder and chocolate is an unsanitary, risky procedure to say the least. To be blunt – chocolate and cacao are laced with animal feces and hair, insects, and molds. The carcinogenic mold called aflatoxin has been found in large quantities on cacao beans.” and continues…

Watch Paul Nison in this very informative 9:33 minute video of with references to the scientific research regarding the harmfulness of raw cacao/chocolate:

Doctor Fred Bisci, a raw foodist for about 40 years also confirmed what Jeremy Safron and Paul Nison suspected; cacao is toxic!!!

You can hear him speak about his findings and personal experience with raw chocolate here in this 3 minute clip:

Listen to Dr. Brian Clement explain in this short clip why he does not recommend raw chocolate:

Cacao is a Dangerous Heart Stimulant

Just last week I was visiting a health food store to purchase my greens (nature’s best source of minerals, trace minerals and magnesium) all without stimulants, addictive substances and high amounts of saturated fat, when I got into a conversation with a very health conscious gentleman who asked me what I thought about cacao. I told him that I agreed with Dr. Neil Barnard and others, that chocolate is harmful to our health. Chocolate contains caffeine, theobromine, as well as phenylethylamine which slows down the breakdown on anandamide just as with the use of marijuana. Now you can understand why it’s so addictive!

He relayed an interesting story to me that clearly illustrates raw chocolate’s stimulating effects. He told me how he had recently started adding chocolate to his energy sports drink to help his energy and recovery. He rode his bike to the Blood Donor Clinic as he does every two months and tried to donate blood.

Unfortunately he couldn’t pass the screening test because his heart rate was too high! They asked him to sit for 15 minutes to allow his heart rate to normalize but it was still too high. He was shocked since this had never happened to him before!

Adding raw cacao was the only thing he had changed in his diet. Now, you might wonder why chocolate would make his heart race? Its due to the caffeine and theobromine, a sister molecule to caffeine, the same chemical that kills many dogs when they eat chocolate! The adrenal glands rev up metabolism so as to quickly eliminate the offensive substance. This is called stimulated energy which is always followed by fatigue, and therefore a desire for more of the stimulant.

My Personal Experience with Cacao

I never bought into the raw cacao craze; I was forewarned by knowledgeable people who knew the truth, but when a friend of mine wanted me to import some for her a few years ago, I obliged after trying to persuade her not to buy it. When it arrived I asked her if I might sample some so I could have a personal experience with it. She offered me a few nibs which I popped into my mouth. I chewed them a few seconds and felt compelled to spit them out into the kitchen sink. They were so bitter I couldn’t stand them and I used to be a dark chocolate fan! Apparently no animal in nature will eat them either unless you fool them into by combining the raw cacao with milk or sugar. So ended my desire to ever try it until…

I had the opportunity to try a raw chocolate dessert (a brownie made with raw cacao powder) for the first time at a raw food potluck. After just a few bites I felt a strange trembling sensation throughout my entire nervous system and then faintness came over me. I became very weak and had to be supported to walk. I linked the experience with the raw chocolate and decided not to touch it again until…

I worked for Avena Originals and they begged me to try their chocolate saying it was more “pure” than the cacao I had imported from a supplier in California. So after much coaxing I agreed to their request – to test their cacao by consuming just 2 tablespoons daily in my banana smoothie at lunch instead of the usual carob. After adding twice the amount of dates to the smoothie that I usually used, it was actually quite delicious.

The first thing I noticed was that I always wanted more after I had consumed the last drop, unlike the satisfied feeling I had with my banana –carob smoothie.

Secondly, I found it difficult to sleep through the night and suffered from insomnia. My gums started bleeding after about a week of consuming cacao daily, but the most unbearable side effects I experienced were the excruciatingly painful leg cramps in my calves that occurred nightly after about 2 weeks of consuming cacao. It was then that I abandoned my experiment and decided that cacao was definitely harmful for me. It appears that the cleaner one’s body the greater the sensitivity, which explains why long term raw foodists tend to experience the worst side effects. Fortunately all of these symptoms disappeared when I stopped consuming cacao.

I know you probably don’t like to hear that your favourite raw food is not good for you. That’s why I’ll never be as popular as those you try to convince you that it’s a SUPERFOOD. But then I am only doing my best to educate you; I’m not trying to convince you that the chocolate addiction you brought with you from the cooked food world is now actually good for you and that you should now consume cacao or raw chocolate with reckless abandon because it’s a SUPERFOOD! No, I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, not due to cacao’s stimulating effects (I don’t eat it!) but because I have a conscience.

costa_rica_bribri_cacao.jpgPlease note that I stand nothing to gain by telling you not to consume cacao except knowing that I did the right think to inform you so hopefully you would not be led astray and lose what health you’ve gained by consuming more raw food. Reserve your money to buy real superfoods – leafy greens!

“Greens are nature’s true superfoods.”~ Sergei Boutenko


Some people claim that raw cacao is perfectly healthy because it’s a fruit. Because I live in Costa Rica half the year, I know what a real cacao fruit is. In fact, I often buy it at the supermarket. There’s a sweet/acidic pulp surrounding the seeds, and the way to eat the fruit is simply suck on the seeds like a candy, and then throw away the seeds! Why? They are not edible and taste horrible in their completely raw, natural state.

On the right is a photo of a Bribri native in Costa Rica, eating Cacao fruit.

What is your experience with raw cacao? What do you think?  Let me know with your comments below!

42 Responses to “Is Raw Cacao a Superfood or Harmful Stimulant?”

  1. Holly says:

    Hi Frederic,

    I have been a chocolate addict for 3 years…I definitely believe it is a drug! How do I know? Because I crave it as if it were cigarettes. I had been away from it for nearly 3 weeks, but recently had some emotional stress and ate a chocolate bar – 2 days in a row. Today I have not had one but I was JUST about to leave for the store when your e-mail came through! Talk about divine synchronicity! Glad I read this, although it was painful 😉 …sometimes reality is that way.


  2. Dawni says:

    Hi Frederic…

    Thanks so much. It funny how long I’ve had Cacao on my list to try out. I have put it in my cart and taken it out so many times. Nice to be able to let it go.

    I notice people are having strong reactions to it. Kevin Gianni is not eating it nor chocolate period. Matt Monarch was racing yesterday on his video and attributed it to a very small amount he had sampled in a raw chocolate bar he is carrying now. He had not eaten any in weeks. Perhaps reason will prevail.

    Shocking to learn much of it is tainted. Keep it simple. It’s the greens I love and want to experience.

    Your food preparation DVD looks yummy!


  3. Lauren says:

    Frederic, I am so grateful you sent this url for us to read. I had been heading down the slippery slope lately by eating cacao, and I began experiencing horrible mood swings and depression, which frightened me as I am usually always naturally upbeat! Plus I was experiencing a lot of unusual bloating and stomach cramps as well. Thank you so much for giving us the heads up about how dangerous this stuff really is.

  4. millie rivera says:

    i have raw cacao smoothies all the time and i have never experience what you have experience.

    Why do i not feel the same

    I eat mostly raw, i juice very single day, i have smoothies, veggie salads of all kind, plenty of water, plus i drink lots of lemon water with honey.

    i do not eat meat

    i do eat some cook soups

  5. Fern Rancourt says:

    Wow! What an eye opener this article is! Thank you, Frederic for this valuable information.
    I am just starting to get into the living raw food diet and I was thinking of making cacao one of my “superfood”. But now I see another side of the story.

  6. Erika Shaw says:

    Hi, I figured out a long time ago for myself that chocolate is an unhealthy food and a stimulant.
    I became a raw vegan seven years ago. I obtained some raw cacao beans when they first where offered in the raw food market place. I ate about 10 of them at bed time and could not go to sleep that night.
    I tried them again a second time during the day and I had the most profound negative experience from the toxins including my legs becoming real heavy and I felt unpleasantly stimulated. I do not tolerate cafein at all and so I have since stayed away from raw cacao and the various raw chocolate concuctions offered by raw food chefs with the exception of a few isolated incidences, where I would have just a very small helping.
    Thank you for the article. I’ll never eat it at all from here on. Erika

  7. Warren says:

    Hi! Frederic

    I am very sensitive to caffeine, it gives me severe migraines. I was tempted to try some after hearing David Wolfe talk about it saying that it was one of the most important superfoods that we can get. So I was tempted to give it a try. I bought some raw organic cacao powder at my local health food store. I got the same hyped up feeling followed by a severe migraine that last three days, that I get from any cup of coffee or supermarket chocolate bar. As far as I am concerned it is poison and I won’t be touching it again. I like to eat what is raw and natural that I can pick up and enjoy just as it is.


  8. Personally, I do eat cacao sometimes, but definitely not every day. I think that’s what a super food is, it’s a food so concentrated that we only need small amounts of it in our diet.

    I have to wonder why some people get so sick from it though. I occasionally have cacao in a smoothie, and occasionally make a dessert with cacao. At some point, I had a little every day. I never got problems like bleeding gums (all the dentists I have seen are in love with my teeth and gum), I’ve never had trouble sleeping (I fall asleep within minutes of hitting the pillow, and wake up a little before my alarm clock — I need one to track my fertility cycle) etc.

    I have a very clean diet, lots and lots of greens, a fair amount of fruit, some seeds and fewer nuts (it depends on the days), lots of vegetables etc. I’m not 10% fat, so that may be related, I don’t know. But if people are so sick from small quantities of one ingredient, then there may be underlying health conditions that need to be addressed.

    Again, I don’t have more than 2 T a day, and not everyday. I’m grateful for the choices David Wolfe brings us, even though I don’t agree with all he says or promotes. Many people became very interested in raw food after tasting my raw desserts with sometimes contain cacao, and this kicks an endless cycle of craving leafy greens and ingredients that are good for us. I think is a valuable transition tool, and a food to be enjoyed in moderation.

  9. Courtney (C.M.P.) says:

    I have always loved chocolate. But when I became a raw foodist, I noticed that I only liked chocolate when I don’t have enough greens in my diet. When I have enough greens, I do not like or enjoy the taste of it. So interesting and makes a lot of sense.

  10. Lorraine says:

    I definitely used to be a moon cycle chocolate addict but that pretty much went away when I decided there was an addiction involved (I shun anything I think I am addicted to quite effectively sort of a self brainwashing thing, I suspect). I have yet to try raw cacao. This and some other things that have come across my desk give me reason to just skip it.

  11. Melodic Vessel says:

    And here I thought my Raw Revolution (Chocolate & Raspberry) bars were “safe”. Yeah, chocolate is addictive. I need to up my greens intake. Thanks Frederic!

  12. radha klemes says:

    Sorry Fred, this isn’t what you want to hear. I am 65 and do not have caffeine stimulants, so a little of it in cacao is welcome; I find the best way to eat nibs is with raisins, the combination of the bitter and sweet flavours and the crunchy and chewy textures is to me better than any of the raw chocolate bars on the market that I have tried. I do not experience negative effects, and even though I have addictive an personality I find that I only need to eat a small amount of this food and I feel satisfied; it doesn’t cause me to have mood swings, the opposite.

  13. Phyllis says:

    Frederic, thank you for the information in this article. I am very sensitive to caffeine, chocolate, sugar and other foods/compounds. I tried cacao a couple of years ago before I knew it wasn’t good for me, but my body told me after a few days to stay away from it. I had the shakes, couldn’t sleep and my heart was racing. I cannot even tolerate a little. I don’t consider my sensitivity a problem, but rather as a barometer or signal. Some people can tolerate caffeine (or are addicted to it) so they are able to consume cacao and chocolate on a regular basis. More power to them. It’s just not for me.

  14. Dorota Zuzanna says:

    I’ve never experienced serious ill-effects like the ones you describe, but I’ve only had raw chocolate in small amounts at a time. I have however experienced its stimulating effects. I don’t mind having a little bit once in a while, but, yeah, it has to be in a recipe, otherwise, it does not taste very good at all! Cacao nibs are so bitter.
    I usually just use carob; I actually prefer the taste of carob over raw cacao.
    What I do like about raw chocolate is that non-raw people get so excited about it when they find out that they can eat chocolate on an all raw diet.
    Aside from being a stimulant, doesn’t raw cacao have a lot of antioxidants? How can one person suffer after eating it, and some people totally swear by it(like David Wolfe)?

  15. Frederic says:

    Thanks for everybody who left comments and shared their experience! I’m definitely not against using some foods like cacao on an very occasional as long as you’re aware of their effect on your body. Personally I never eat it anymore as I know all of my experiences with it have been bad, and I know it’s simply not a healthy food, and I also never crave it. As Dorota said, I prefer the taste of carob (it’s sweet) over cacao (bitter).
    Cacao may have a lot of antioxidants, but so do every single fruit or vegetable on the planet, including all the toxic ones!
    It’s not a new thing to praise stimulants. Coffee is certainly an item that is often promoted as a health food.
    Of course, think for yourself and decide 🙂

  16. Helena says:

    Thank you for your valuable information. You and Wolf are very convincing with your knowledge of the raw food diet. It is so difficult to decipher what is right. I definitely know raw fruits and greens are the way to go but, it’s the additional foods such as gogi berry, acai, cacao, etc. that is causing confusion. These foods just add more variety to the diet and I do want to know which of those are worth eating. I eat cacao occasionally and haven’t noticed any bad effects, yet I would imagine foods can be harmful without us even knowing.

  17. lola says:

    I can not eat chocolate because it gives me insomnia. BUT I do have some every now & then on special occasions… I tried to add 1/4 tsp raw cacao to my morning smoothie but after a few days I was a nervous wreck. I can’t even do green tea, caffeine has a terrible effect on me.

  18. Marguerite says:

    Hi Frederic

    Thanks for this article. I think it widens knowledge of cacoa.

    I had a helpful positive experience with cacao. I was living in the Caribbean for 12 months. After one month I began experiencing terrible abdominal pains which were there constantly. This continued for 2-3 months. I visited 2 doctors who both advised it was due to climate/food change living in a new country and nothing could be done about it. As the weeks rolled by I was just getting tired of it and wishing it would go away. One day while walking along the street I suddenly felt like eating a whole block of chocolate – I had to have it and nothing else. So I walked into a supermarket, bought a block, walked out and ate it immediately, the whole block! Within minutes the abdominal pains disappeared. I was healed and the pains never returned. At that time, the current hype of cacoa wasn’t around – I had no knowledge of it having antioxidants, health benefits or anything else – it was just a delicious treat. In any case, the experience remains imprinted clearly as to how my body just wanted me to eat a block of chocolate and by following the instinct at the time, the problem was resolved! I agree it is ‘powerful’ . At this point in time I don’t rule it out.
    Best wishes !

  19. Sarah Edmonds says:

    I really appreciate reading this article, as I was one who converted to raw chocolate after being addicted to dark (non-raw) chocolate. I got turned onto it through hearing David Wolfe speak and buying his Naked Chocolate book. Many of the effects you mentioned I have noticed in myself, and the potency seems to depend on the brand of raw cacao powder I use. I’m wondering now if some of the problems I have which I never attributed to chocolate have been exacerbated by my use of it for such a long time. I’m going to try carob in my smoothie tomorrow!

  20. Jannette says:

    I am shocked to hear all your reactions to the cacao. Personally I am extremely sensitive to cocoa, but never had any negative effect from raw cocoa nibs (we soak them). It also does not have the stimulating addictive effect for us. We take a little every day, one heaped teaspoon of the nibs, and we LOVE the taste! May be the problem for others is the dosage? And are you sure what you buy in the store is really truly raw?

  21. Kyala says:

    Hi – someone bought me the raw cocoa nibs and I tried to eat them but they made me SO SO ill. I tried to forcr myself as i thought they a super food. But they made me sick..just my experience! And I tolerate almost any foods! – K.

  22. Jannette says:

    OOPS, meant to say: I am extremely sensitive to caffeine!

  23. andy says:

    Having listened d.wolfe i tried cacao beans and soon realised that it is a poison, i couldnt sleep for few hours. SO its definitely not a supperfood but a stimulating poison.
    ANd wolfe talks about it coz he need to sell his books and also beans on his website.

  24. Kathy says:

    I bought some cacao nibs a while ago, after being told that there were a good source of minerals. I don’t like chocolate, but didn’t find them bitter, just boring. However, I did discover that they can help if I’m having a mild asthma attack (that’s the caffeine and theobromine, I suppose.) – I grind a large pinch into powder and add it to a drink.

  25. Jill says:

    I’ve been a raw vegan for about 10 years..A few months I decided to give raw cacao a go..I felt like I was on something. It gave me such a high!.. You should have seen me grocery shopping. I was zooming around the supermarket with my shopping trolley at such high speed. I felt like the “roadrunner”.(cartoon) .lol..The next day, I felt horrible.. – Emotional, cranky, mild depression, it also gave me horrible nighmares! I dont like the next day after affects of cacao! NEVER again! I’m sticking with Carob from now on!…

  26. Johnny Gregory says:

    Having been on a very pure organic vergan diet (plenty of raw foods and green smoothies), my experience with cacao is that it makes me dizzy in my SLEEP, the time we need to be recharging our etheric body. It’s not for me regardless of health claims. Too many former cacao enthusiasts and raw food gurus stand against its regular consumption as well. Please take my opinion and experience as one more.

  27. Johnny Gregory says:

    vegan diet of course, misspelled above due to typo

  28. Marta says:

    hi frederic,

    I have been adicted to chocolate all my life, and this have been the most dificult thing to stop. Since early childhood I was drinking bottles of milk chocolate, and then eating chocolate everyday, many times a day, also as biscuits, icecream, etc.etc… many years after that, when I started slowly a change for health in my life, turning to vegetarian, stoping junkfood, then stoping smoking, drinking… chocolate was always the most dificult thing to stop. I succeeded 3 or 4 times to stop eating chocolate. When I succeeded, I felt much much better, but I had enormous cravings. I have managed to stay away from chocolate once for 1 year or more, than for 2 years, and one bite would put me in the adiction again, I mean in a week I would eat almoust half kilo per day of milk chocolate! The last time I succeded one year without chocolate, it was about one year ago – and it was as always superdificult to keep it, I had a raw chocolate brownie, then I was told that raw chocolate was not the same thing, that in fact it was good… And it all started again! Only that each time, I feel the side efects much harder, almost all that you described above! When I tell people that I am a “chocaholic”, most won’t believe how adictiv and harmful it is… maybe some people don’t feel the same. I had a boyfriend that would offer me chocolate even after I explained my adiction!… These last weeks have been specially dificult, since I have been trying to eat more raw, but can’t stop the chocolate. I wish there was something, like the patchs they use for nicotine adicters!

    thank you for your article, i will print it and carry it to help me focus when I have the cravings!

  29. Avi Saha says:

    That’s too bad that you, along with some others are sensitive to cacao. That’s not the problem for me, and I don’t mind feeling “high” either. When I’m on cacao, my mental judgments are at their best, but anandamide and the other MAOs don’t dumb down brain function at all from cacao. It’s something someone should study soon. Not everyone can handle cacao. But I love taking it before workouts, the powder I mean, and a lot of beans before a social event or when I just want to have fun. I have no problems form cacao except that like any other drug that affects receptors int he brain, over time, I need more cacao to elicit the same effects. Which is why I’m taking a week at least off from all cacao at the moment and will start to cycle it.

  30. Jon Burch says:

    You know, I just put a few of the Nibs under my tongue for about ten minutes, and then spit out the stuff. It tastes nasty, kinda like Dirt.Horrid Bitter, but It gives me a little Buzz of sorts, Only after reading that article, I am not going to use it anymore. Great Eye opening information! Thanks so much Frederic.

  31. Me being a former war baby in Germany, I did not taste any cocoa until I was six; due to the generous Marhall Plan, we got a free cup of cocoa , ladled out of a huge cauldron early in the morning before school classes started; when the Marshall Plan got phased out after the first winter, and with it the cocoa rations, I fell into a deep depression; school wasn’t worth going to any more! My dopamin receptors suffered from withdrawal symptoms!

  32. Dale says:

    Hi Frederic! What do you think of goji berries? Are they healthy and considered a superfood? I like the taste and eat about a cup most days. My dog is a very picky and selective eater but he loves goji berries and will run way across the house from the other room as soon as I open the bag. So this appears to indicate that goji berries are very healthy. Thanks for all your insight. I have been on your version of the raw diet for almost a year and noticed a major improvement in my heatlh and well being.

    COMMENT BY FRED: Sure! I’m not against goji berries. However I warn against eating too much dried fruit. I prefer to reserve them for hiking trips and occasions when fresh is not available.

  33. Amber says:

    I tend to only want cacao when I am emotionally overwhelmed. That alone speaks volumes. When I am feeling good, I don’t tend to desire it. I have experienced tremendous benefit from consuming it for therapeutic purposes however. Though there is much evidence to suggest it is not desirable, I actually used it to assist a swift recovery from severe adrenal fatigue! It DID work. I used it for about two or three days in my smoothies, switched to maca powder, then went back to green smoothies from there. It gave me the energy I was so desperately lacking and I never did crash or crave it. Fortunately, it didn’t feel like a ‘high’ which is something I am uncomfortable with. Success! The adrenal fatigue, which was considered severe, was undetectable within a 3 month time frame.

    Prior to that, I was miserable and exhausted and even green smoothies weren’t helping (I haven’t eaten much in the way of fatty foods for years now. The source of the fatigue was from overworking at a job I didn’t enjoy, and from not eating frequently enough).

    Everything has it’s place as it turns out – even human inspired tampering. I feel fortunate to not be held in “Thoebroma’s” sway. It may not be the best food to eat on a daily basis, but lots of substances can be ‘super’ in their own right when used respectfully. The inspiration of humans to brew concoctions and to otherwise alter the composition of substances, is part of what makes us unique. We do a lot of things that none of the other creatures around here are drawn to do. We are not monkeys or dogs or cats. Cacao does not kill us on contact. And oddly, even though we have the teeth and digestive tract of an herbivore, we also have eyes on the front of our face – like a predator. A true paradox.

  34. Amber says:

    I would also like to point out that when I use cacao (as I still do occasionally), I use the powder which has the oil pressed out of it. I find that the nibs, with the oils still in them, tend to create much of the agitation that is common for this substance. This may be why the powder doesn’t create a ‘high’. I use it in one to two teaspoon size portions. My theory is that the oil is highly unstable and prone to rancidity. As I am extremely sensitive to oils, this makes a lot of sense to me.

  35. MOHAMMED says:

    Even the smell of chocolate gives me nausea.

  36. F. Epstein says:

    Its truly deplorable that fakes are allowed to get by with promoting cacao (a potentially lethal and addictive narcotic substance) as a “superfood” and making millions of dollars by preying upon the trusting, gullible public in the raw food movement. Hopefully, with future FDA rulings things will change.

    Its regrettable, though, that so great a number of earnest truth seekers have become plundering victims for a fringe element of unconscionable megalomaniacs.

  37. Chris says:

    I never bought into raw cacao either. Since I workout regularly I can feel the effects of everything I eat as it affects my physical perfomance. All these so-called superfoods only serve to detract from my strength, cardiovascular and flexibility. I never even wanted to eat enought of it to cause more deleterious effects!

    I see it at the local health food store and it sells like hotcakes however. Don’t wake them up. God bless the unaware.

  38. Dawn says:

    My spouse is the big chocolate eater. When I told him we can’t afford these treats, he said, “But you have some as well”. So I prayed to my Heavenly Father and asked God to take away every desire to eat chocolate in any way, cake, icecream, treats, etc. My Heavenly Father answered my prayer straight away and I have no desire to eat chocolate in any form, and I am way better off not having these indulgenses.

  39. Now I Know says:

    I am experiencing severe bloating, nasuea, vomiting and stomach pain. I can’t get passed the feeling that raw cacao is causing it, but I also use maca so I am quitting both until I find out what is going on. The suffering is horrible, which is why I am searching online right now in between trips to the bathroom!!! I think I have been overdoing the cacao in my morning smoothie because the stomach pain usually starts shortly after I finish drinking and lasts all day. Then I eat dinner and the real fun starts. Pain and vomiting amplifies. I thought I was detoxing, but this is true suffering!! No sweats or fever tho. I do experience insomnia. Hope we can all figure this out…

  40. Eugene says:

    Keep in mind that everybody’s biochemistry is a bit different
    from everybody else. That’s why some people can eat peanuts,
    others can’t even eat a single peanut without serious life
    threatening side effects!

    Most people can eat mangoes, but some have reactions to the
    chemicals on/in the skin and can NOT eat them without serious
    skin reactions! See
    “Allergic reactions can occur with any
    food, but mangoes are unique in that
    they belong to the plant family that
    also contains poison oak, poison ivy
    and poison sumac. Contact with the skin
    from mangoes, such as with eating a
    mango like an apple, can result in
    contact dermatitis around the mouth.
    These symptoms may include redness,
    itching and flaking on the areas of
    skin that the mango touched, and look
    much like a poison oak reaction.”

    See also
    “Mango peel contains urushiol, the
    chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac
    that can cause urushiol-induced contact
    dermatitis in susceptible people.

    During mango’s primary season, it is
    the most common source of plant dermatitis
    in Hawaii.”

    Also, if you GOOGLE the words “turpentine mango” or
    “kerosene mango”, you find out:

    “If the fruit smells like kerosene,
    avoid it; these are commonly called
    turpentine mangoes. All mangoes do
    naturally contain some amount of
    KEROSENE, but the best tasting
    varieties smell aromatic and sweet.”

    Now armed with this information, should we really be eating
    a food that contains KEROSENE and also URUSHIOL (the
    chemical in poison ivy and poison sumac)? Looks like we
    should give up mangoes. Looks pretty toxic regardless of
    how good they taste, right?

    I can’t imagine kerosene or urushiol belonging in anybody’s
    diet, ESPECIALLY the Raw Food Diet! So judging the mango
    on what I just found out (I did not know this until just
    now!), then maybe we should put the word out that mangoes
    are toxic and unhealthy and should NOT be eaten!

    Or perhaps we should say mangoes should be eaten in moderation
    and the SKIN should NOT be eaten? And you should search out
    the mangoes that have a minimum content of kerosene, as it
    differs from one type of mango to another. In fact, if it
    actually smells like kerosene, you should not eat it!

    If YOU have bad reaction to a certain food (pick anything),
    should you warn the world NOT to eat that food simply because
    YOU can not eat it?

    My brother couldn’t eat mushrooms or he would throw up.
    I could eat a whole bowl mushrooms, no problem, raw or
    cooked. Should he sound the warning, write books and
    put up websites warning the world that mushrooms are
    poisonous and you shouldn’t eat them,… simply because
    he can’t eat them?

    If I make a drink from water and 1 to 2 TBS of processed
    organic cacao powder sweetened with Stevia, it makes me
    VERY nervous. I can feel my heart beating harder and faster!
    I don’t like that effect, it is too unnerving, so I stopped
    drinking it. My mother can drink the same thing and she enjoys
    it even though coffee or tea makes her nervous/jittery and
    she won’t drink them. So do woman process cacao differently
    from men? (In case you haven’t noticed, women are different
    than men! LOL!) She tells me cacao doesn’t keep her awake
    at night like coffee or tea does.

    I didn’t notice the stimulating effect with the raw cacao
    nibs, but then I didn’t eat 1 or 2 full tablespoons of
    them either. Costs too much! LOL! A little bit goes a
    long ways.

    Everybody has to figure out during their life journey what
    foods are best for them. You will probably also find out
    that certain combinations of raw foods bother you terribly,
    yet eaten at separate meals, there’s no problem. Yet other
    people can eat that same combination and appear to tolerate
    it fine without the same problems you had. Once again, you
    have to learn what works for YOU and that applies to any
    diet. Your body is different. I suggest you keep a diet
    notebook. And when you find something that bothers you
    in some way, write it down. You’d be surprised what you
    forget after 2 or 3 years.

    I don’t know the full answer to cacao. Is it truly bad or
    not? Maybe it is really bad for some people simply because
    of their biochemistry? Maybe some people’s liver isn’t capable
    of detoxing certain chemicals due to their genetics. And maybe
    it is actually “good” for some people because their liver
    detoxes certain chemicals just fine. And everybody else
    is in the middle. All I can say is, if you have negative
    effects from eating cacao that bother you, then simply
    do NOT eat it. It is that simple.

    There is another problem with cacao. Some sources have high
    bacteria counts. BAD bacteria and that could be what is
    causing some people stomach/intestinal tract problems. So
    do your research regarding this and find sources that guarantee
    low bacteria counts.

    Oh, and I don’t eat chocolate very often. If I do, it is
    dark chocolate. I don’t eat processed cacao powder at all
    since it makes me so nervous. And I rarely eat the raw
    cacao. It costs too much. So this is almost a non-issue
    for me.

    I do think that if you have extreme cravings for chocolate
    and eating a small amount causes you to BINGE, that is, to
    LARGE amounts of it, that is very indicative of something
    strange. Such people are better off to just quit eating
    chocolate. Just like an alcoholic can NOT drink “moderately”,
    they must avoid all alcohol 100% or they go out of control
    again (BINGE). If any food or other substance does that to
    you, I think you will be happier to simply not eat it.
    There is some addictive factor there. After all, there’s
    MANY other foods to eat, you aren’t going to die because
    you deny yourself the “pleasure” of eating a food that causes
    you to binge.

    And remember, dosage does come into play with all things.
    Maybe a small amount of cacao is “good” for most people. But
    eating 2 TBS or more could simply overload your system and
    be actually “bad” for some, maybe most people.

    It is a known fact that you can actually DIE from drinking
    too much water in a 24 hour period! Just GOOGLE
    “water bingeing” or “water intoxication” to find out more.
    Drinking too much water in a 24-hour period causes your
    electrolytes to get seriously out-of-balance. And you can
    DIE! Seems impossible, after all, we all know that water
    is NON-TOXIC. So again, it is the DOSE that can turn something
    harmless or nontoxic into a dangerous thing that could make
    you sick or even kill you.

    I feel it is best to eat moderately of all foods that your
    body tolerates. In other words, don’t eat excessive amounts
    of any one food (like eating 18 bananas a day for example)!
    After all, variety is the spice of life! LOL!


  41. Peter says:

    Well! Perhaps one should also be aware of this fact as well. Carob, and I mean really RAW carob is is said by some who seem to KNOW?, to also be quite toxic!!! So….. what exactly are those who still wish to consume anything and I mean anything that is not eaten in it’s original state to do now?

    Buyer, always beware!

  42. Nutrition curious says:

    Hi –

    Can anyone make sense of something for me?

    I have read a lot of the side affects of Cacoa from this web entry. However, I have also read study after study about raw cocoa in scientific literature. The health benefits seem unbelievable, IE the San Blas Kuna Indian tribe that drinks 6 cups or more of essentially raw Cocoa each day. This is a Harvard study that compared the death rates of San Blas (heavy cocoa) and neighboring Panama with lower level of Cocoa consumption:

    The Cocoa drinkers experience unbelievable health benefits in regards to Cancer and Heart Disease. Many studies are long term.

    Other scientific literature seems to echo these results time after time:

    A 15-year study of elderly men[17] published in the Archives of Internal Medicine in 2006 found a 50 percent reduction in cardiovascular mortality and a 47 percent reduction in all-cause mortality for the men regularly consuming the most cocoa, compared to those consuming the least cocoa from all sources.

    Can anyone tell me if I missing something. Is Cacoa toxic and Cocoa ok?

    I want to reconcile the scientific literature with some of the issues suggested on toxicity etc in this blog.

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