Q. Is it ok to get your daily chocolate fix from cocoa powder instead of part of a candy bar? Like maybe mix it with a little stevia and some hot water and drink it?
A. You have hit on a great idea. In fact, it comes far closer to the original way that ancient cultures used chocolate. They drank cocoa without sugar. The stevia you will be using to sweeten your drink doesn’t have calories so it won’t contribute to weight gain. Cocoa powder, unlike a chocolate bar, has very little fat, but it has the same antioxidant compounds.
A recent analysis of seven studies found that people who consume chocolate frequently have a lower risk of heart disease and stroke (BMJ, online Aug. 29, 2011). Some killjoys have criticized this report because none of the studies were randomized controlled experiments. Nonetheless, clinical trials have shown that chocolate or cocoa can help lower blood pressure and may also reduce the risk of blood clots.