Is chocolate really bad for you?

Raw chocolate bars

Homemade raw chocolate bars.

For years marketing teams have been working hard to convince us that some forms of our favourite chocolate bars are actually good for us. This is usually done by suggesting that because a chocolate bar now comes in a 70%-cocoa form, the high cocoa count somehow cancels out all of the other nasties that come with it. Unfortunately, that’s just not true.

Most of the chocolate you’ll find at the supermarket or servo is made from cocoa beans that are sourced incredibly cheaply from countries, like Africa, that have a nasty little insect called the Capra beetle. To ensure all of these insects are killed before the cocoa beans are sent to be turned into chocolate, the beans are sprayed heavily with methyl bromide gas. According to the United State’s EPA government site, ethyl bromide “is highly toxic. Studies in humans indicate that the lung may be severely injured by acute (short-term) inhalation of methyl bromide.” The site goes on to say that it can cause neurological effects in humans. Not nice at all. To make doubly sure that you aren’t going to end up with some extra crunch, in the form of beetle shell in your chocolate, the beans are then irradiated.

It doesn’t get any better from there. The beans then have the absolute bajeezus processed out of them. They are cooked, drenched in chemicals and mixed with copious amounts of sugar (just one serve of Cadbury chocolate contains 34% of your daily recommended sugar intake!). By the time the poor old cocoa bean gets to your mouth, it has been so abused that it lacks almost all of its former health benefits and now will actually damage your body.

It’s not all bad though. In its raw, un-bastardised form, cacao (its true name) is actually one of the most potent superfoods on the planet. It contains all of the essential trace minerals, like magnesium (which most Australians are hugely deficient in), that have been depleted from our soil through conventional farming practises. It is also very high in iron, has off-the-chart antioxidant levels and is jammed full of vitamin C.

Still not convinced? How about this: it contains phenylethylamine, which is a chemical that the brain creates when we fall in love (awww). Ever wondered why chocolate is the gift of lovers all around the world? Well now you know.

Raw chocolate is becoming increasingly easy to come by. My favourite brand, Pana Chocoloate, is made in Richmond, Melbourne, and I have seen it stocked at a few different places. If you are ever in Richmond, I highly recommend stopping by their flagship store to try a piece of the white chocolate and raspberry cake. To. Die. For. The other brand I like is Loving Earth, who are also based in Melbourne. They have a big range and you can order their chocolate online.

Once you go raw, you won’t want to go back.

Laura

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