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Monday, September 23, 2013

Why Chocolate is Good for You--Hallelujah

natural cocoa powder

When I read that chocolate is good for weight loss, I rejoiced. Actually, years ago I lost 46 pounds in three months, AND I ate a Hershey bar every day.

There is one caveat I would add: Don't eat chocolate processed with alkali if you can help it. Your brain health and cardiovascular health are at stake.

Here are four reasons why chocolate is good for you and below why you should avoid Dutch Processed, made with alkali.

"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." You can read the rest of the study here.

I started buying cocoa that is not processed with alkali. While I have not tried it in a recipe, I am quite sure I will love it because I just love chocolate. You might want to read this about baking with the two kinds of chocolate or cocoa. Even "natural" chocolate has been processed but not with alkali.

Don't get me wrong, I will continue to eat chocolate in small amounts that has been processed with alkali. I like a Hershey bar and cannot afford to eat Lindt.  Besides the cost, I rarely find Lindt in small portions.

Your turn
Do you have a relationship with chocolate as I do? Do you try to avoid the "Dutch processed" chocolate?


  1. My relationship to chocolate is not as strong as it used to be. I'm not sure what "Dutch processed" chocolate is -- what brands, that is. I prefer dark chocolate, especially the European chocolate that many people think is bitter. Perhaps you can tell us specific brands that are healthiest.


  2. Hershey bars are processed with alkali. Anything that is advertised as Dutch Chocolate has been processed with alkali. I just look for the words "natural" or "Dutch" and choose. I, too, prefer the more bitter chocolates. Just turn to the ingredients and look if all else fails. That is what I do.

    Even Hershey's baking cocoa has a cocoa that is processed with alkali and another that is natural. They are side by side on the shelf. I'm sorry I don't have a list of brands.

    Even after I look for the words on the front, I turn to the ingredient list. The healthier cocoa will have one ingredient: cocoa.

    1. Thanks. I had no idea Hershey's had different baking cocoas. I don't buy much chocolate these days, but I'll start checking ingredients.

    2. Janie,
      I don't buy much baking chocolate because I don't cook or bake with it as much as I did. Just look at the ingredient list.

  3. Would it be labeled "Dutch processed"? I understand that chocolate is good, but that sugar is bad, which means that the very thing that makes chocolate enjoyable is to be avoided to the extent that one can bear the taste of sugarless chocolate. At least, I do enjoy dark chocolate dark rather than milk chocolate.

    1. Snowbrush,
      Exactly! "Dutch processed" is processed with alkali. The more bitter, darker chocolate is the one that is better for you. I just eat less chocolate, never eliminating it. I always add another Tbsp of chocolate to my chocolate pound cakes. I think sugar when put in chocolate is good for you. Well, that's my truth and I'm sticking to it.

  4. Thanks for posting. I will now be sure to double. Check the ingredients.

    1. J and M,
      This all came as a great surprise to me. I am glad you can use the information.

  5. This is an interesting post. I buy free trade organic baking cocoa by Just Us! (a local company) or Camino. I didn't know about alkali being used in the process destroying flavonoids. I just read the Camino label. It has alkali. I'll be reading the Just Us! label next. Thanks for the information!

    1. Sue,
      It is amazing what we think is good for us. I actually read about this about two years ago and have not bought cocoa processed with alkali. If we eat chocolate expecting health benefits, we should eat chocolate that is processed by the other way, just not Dutch processed or Dutched.

      You are welcome.


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