For many years, I’ve strongly recommended ConsumerLab.com for evidence-based and trustworthy advice about purchasing or ingesting herbs, vitamins, or supplements. This week I’m running some samples of their wares and encourage you to subscribe to this great site if you take or are considering any natural medicines. Oh, by the way, I have no financial connection to ConsumerLab at all.
This is the “Executive Summary” of ConsumerLab’s recent article: Is Your Chocolate or Cocoa Healthful or Toxic? Find the Best Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, and Cocoa Supplements Based On Our Tests.
- Which dark chocolate and cocoa products are best? Be careful! Several cocoa powders, cacao nibs, and some dark chocolates failed to pass our review due to contamination with high levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal (see What CL Found). Furthermore, levels of potentially beneficial cocoa flavanols ranged from just 1 mg to 374 mg in cocoa powders and mixes, 2 mg to 351 mg in dark chocolates, and 2 mg to 993 mg in supplements. Among products that minimize heavy metal exposure, maximize flavanol content, and offer superior value without sacrificing flavor, we selected our Top Picks among supplements, cocoas and mixes, dark chocolates and chips, and cacao nibs.
- Are dark chocolate and cocoa safe? Although cocoa and dark chocolate products are generally safe, it may be best to limit the consumption of products due to contaminants as well as calories (see How much of a danger is cadmium from cocoa and chocolate?). Be aware that the caffeine and theobromine in cocoa products may cause side effects as well as interfere with the actions of certain drugs. Cocoa and dark chocolate products may also trigger migraine headaches in some people and allergic contact dermatitis in nickel-sensitive individuals. People with milk allergies should be aware that dark chocolate bars may contain milk (see Concerns and Cautions).
- What are the health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa? Cocoa-based products contain flavanols, associated with modest, potential benefits regarding blood flow, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, exercise, memory/cognition, skin wrinkles, and blood sugar control (see “What It Does”).
- How much cocoa or dark chocolate do I need? This depends on two things: The amounts used in various clinical studies (summarized below), and the actual amounts of flavanols that we found in a serving of each product, which is provided in the 2nd column in the Results Table.
© Copyright WLL, INC. 2022. This blog provides healthcare tips and advice that you can trust about a wide variety of general health information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment from your regular physician. If you are concerned about your health, take what you learn from this blog and meet with your personal doctor to discuss your concerns.