November 8

Raw Cacao and Raw Chocolate: Is it Good For You?

Filed under Caffeine and Stimulants, Superfoods Review by Frederic Patenaude

I often get asked what I think of the whole “raw cacao” craze. If you don’t know about this, there are some people who currently claim that raw chocolate is the ultimate food of mankind and that we should eat as much as possible to benefit from the high levels of anti-oxidants, magnesium and other trace minerals.

Truth is, their claims are completely flawed and wrong.

But, it doesn’t mean that you should stop eating chocolate altogether.

Let’s take a honest look at the issue, by looking at some claims made about cacao:

“Cornell University food scientists found that cocoa powder has nearly twice the antioxidants of red wine and up to three times what is found in green tea.”

MY COMMENTS: Yes, cacao contains lots of antioxidants. But the question is not “what is the highest source of anti-oxidants” but “what is the “healthiest source of antioxidants”.

Cacao is rich in fat and contains some caffeine and theobromine, which is a stimulant alike caffeine. Therefore, one should not eat too much of it. But blueberries and other berries are free of these concerns and also contain lots of anti-oxidants. In my opinion, they are a much *healthier* source of anti-oxidants.

“As we have noted, cacao is one of nature’s richest sources of magnesium, which is a heart as well as brain mineral.”

Same here. Cacao may be rich in magnesium, but that’s not a reason good enough to make it a main part of your diet, when it’s rich in fat! Other foods contain lots of magnesium, including green vegetables.

“Cacao, because it is unadulterated, has an even stronger love energy. In ancient Aztec wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would exchange 5 cacao beans with each other.”

What can I say here except that I’m surprised people buy this kind of non-sense. Lots of very unhealthy foods have been praised throughout the world for their “magical” qualities that it’s not surprising to find cacao among them.

The bottom line about raw cacao and raw chocolate is that it’s not the healthiest source of anti-oxidants or nutrients, and it’s no “magical” food.

I’m all for enjoying food and life and having some cacao as part of your diet occasionally and enjoying some health benefits that way is perfectly fine. But to make raw cacao an important part of your diet, as is recommended by some people, is completely ridiculous and unhealthy.

11 Responses to “Raw Cacao and Raw Chocolate: Is it Good For You?”

  1. victoria kocher says:

    Hello, I’m not for or against raw cacao and I see and understand what you wrote here but what seems to be lacking on your part is scientific evidence to show what you are saying is true and cacao is harmful. without that it would be difficult to convence someone of what you are saying . can you come up with some? victoria

  2. WigNSword says:

    I confess, I’m Mr. Militant Garlic-Head! WELL…let’s not get off on the wrong foot. I have the greatest admiration for you and I have all the original editions of JUST EAT AN APPLE. But I’m more on David Wolfe’s side with this one. “One person’s panacea is another person’s poison”, some should avoid Raw Chocolate like the plague, others (frankly) will be fine eating 20 to 80 beans a day (with natural breaks of a week or month of course). I like to fly into a theatrical 🙂 simulated rage over how you caution against so many Raw Foods like Garlic et al. In a Raw Food Paradise we would have chocolate and garlic gorgers, and (heck!)people like me have better things to worry about, like cooked flour-product addiction (ouch!). Thanks for cautioning but with raw chili, habanero, garlic, cacao…*I HAVE NEVER COMPLIED, DO NOT COMPLY AND WILL NEVER COMPLY…unless my stomach hurts* But I think your great, man! 😀

  3. Frederic says:

    Hey guys! I wrote previously about this: http://www.fredericpatenaude.com/articles/rawcacao.html
    In this article I expand on the scientific reasons.
    Truth is… I’m no militant 🙂
    But when someone comes and say we should make Cacao “the main part of our diet” (as I have heard)… I have to react!

  4. HFT says:

    I have to say that I agree with Frederic on this one. I think eating raw cacao is not healthy, just like drinking red wine is not healthy (and you can protect your heart some other ways), and just like eating fish is not the best way to get healthy fats in your diet. Yes, there are some good things about raw cacao, but you have to consider the whole, not just the parts. Also, like one of my favorite doctors said, “people love to hear good news about their bad habits.” This is one of those.

  5. WigNSword says:

    Garlic-Head Speaks (dodge the breath!): I don’t know what to say, Mr. Patenaude. One’s love of a food that’s naughty can be psychologically beneficial, and foodstuffs like Raw Cacao are overwhelmingly better for sin than Red Wine. The fundamentals of diet are as much about flavour as nutrient, have always been and will always be. Man is too clever not to cultivate the Cacao bean in an extremely primitive nudist raw-foodist (that’s the way its meant to be folks!) setting (!our past and our future!), for we are creatures of tool and artifice! THE RIGHT OR WRONG OF CACAO AND, IN THE EXTREME, RED WINE CAN NEVER BE RESOLVED IN THE ABSTRACT PRONOUNCEMENT BUT IN THE *REAL SCENARIO* OF *CONCRETE LIFE* If a food hurts the stomach, joints or depresses the mood…STOP! 🙂

  6. Pete Vincent says:

    What conventionally trained or natural health “experts” say or claim is not the issue here, the same goes for all other aspects of diet and nutrition. It is what is going on at a cellular level in YOUR body that ultimately counts. It is how YOUR body can cope with the foods you are feeding it. The state of YOUR internal environment when you begin making healthy changes. It is how YOUR body is able to get rid of the excess stuff it doesn’t need or want. YOU are completely unique.

    How well YOUR body functions depends on your genetics, your emotional set up, your environment, level of microbial infections, the quality of foods you are eating, and a thousand other yet to be discovered factors besides.

    The truth is that nobody really knows what is exactly right or wrong for each individual. The trouble is you can’t make money telling people that and to market yourself and make a name, you have to have a plan and a theory on which to base all your marketing material and books and make it look like your wy is THE way. People don’t want to buy a book that says YOU ULTIMATELY HAVE TO FIND OUT WHAT WORKS FOR YOU YOURSELF AND THERE ARE NO MIRACLE OVER NIGHT DIETS THAT CAN CORRECT THE DAMAGE CAUSED BY GENERATIONS OF INCORRECT LIVING.

  7. Rashnu says:

    Just eat what makes you feel good. If a bar of chocolate makes you happy, enjoy it! Food is more than just nutrients that may be harmful or beneficial, it is also a source of pleasure. And if you are sensitive to your body you’ll know what to avoid.

  8. WigNSword says:

    THAAAANK YOU! Pete Vincent and Rashnu expanded on the dictum mentioned before and in which my heart believes: “one person’s panacea is another person’s poison”. Nothing exhibits this better than Raw Cacao (or garlic :D), which is why I back fully and dogmatically the ‘raw chocolate revolution’. That said, there are probably 20-40% of people for whom Raw Chocolate is poison and they ought to go for carob or anything else instead. So far as I’m concerned the goodness or badness of a food or even the debatable term ‘addiction’ itself revolves around INDIVIDUAL cases, not aery abstractions. …and THANK YOU! raw cacao is a very nice source of fat and magnesium…….and theobromine, and caffeine (666 Satan Speaketh…:D)

  9. Johannes says:

    Personally I find Raw Cacao to be of great importance in my diet, its makes me feel great, and the antioxidants is much felt when arising in the morning, my chest and whole system feels stronger and lighter and faster and better. I also love to munch on garlic, and I am probably eating half a garlic a day. Since I started eating Raw Cacao, the ideas are flowing forth and the putting my ideas into motion has become much more fun and easy. I believe there is magic in all types of raw foods, and cacao is one that can benefit some constitutional types, those that tend to love high fat diets and have the metabolism to follow this kind of a diet will probably have no problem with some raw cacao, maybe every day. You must also remember that there are many out there that will benefit from substituting their cooked milk chocolate with raw chocolate with coconut as milk substitute.

  10. Emanuela says:

    I have been eating uncooked vegan food for about seven years. I love to prepare raw recipes and making my own dressings. At that time, I was using apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, extra virgin olive oil. In 2005, my friends took me to the hospital, being very sick. A few months after leaving the hospital, I met my husband who had been studying the writings of Herbert Shelton. He is very sensitive. During my hospital stay, I gained a belly that I couldn’t lose afterwards. On Thomas’s suggestions, I stopped eating all the cited above. And I lost eighteen pounds in three months and regained my slenderness previous to the hospital. I learnt that fermented food, such as vinegar, sauerkraut, pickles, any kind of organic oil becomes oxidized, unless it is freshly squeezed unlike juiced bottles and garlic and onion, even though they don’t contain caffein, it prevents the quietness of the mind. I had to eat, supposedly odorless garlic in capsule, just for three weeks. Thomas and his son could smell my breath and had to stop before the end of the treatment. It was making me sick and disturbing my digestive system.
    Concerning the cacao, it is true that it contains a lot of caffeine. David Wolf, despite the great work he does promoting uncooked food, makes good money with it, enhancing the qualities of the cacao.
    When I started eating that way, I bought books full of information with recipes. I didn’t question them. I suggest for starters to question everything. I also found answers in the book about the Hunzas concerning their secret of longevity.

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