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.

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  1. P. Grossmann
    Reply

    What about carob? I cannot drink or eat chocolate because of acid reflux. However, carob doesn’t seem to bother me. Are there any health benefits for carob? It makes a good replacement cocoa.

  2. MR
    Reply

    After breakfast I love to make sort of an unsweetened chocolate “pudding”. I mix a heaping teaspoon of cocoa powder into a tiny bit of green tea left in my cup, and add a rounded teaspoon of maca powder. Maca is a very healthy root from S. America. Amongst other things, it gives energy and helps regulate hormones. Anyway, to this I mix in about 1 Tablespoon of coconut oil. Then I pour a small amount of hot water on it, mix it slightly, and dig in. I really like it, and sweetening it with anything at all would ruin it for me.

  3. mer
    Reply

    Additional about health benefits of coconut oil, I purchase a quality label through my DO, who practices ‘functional medicine’ (also on the Web) and is very knowledgeable about nutrients, thus my confidence in using it in most of my cooking. Also, my dog loves it so I believe it’s helping his health too!

  4. William
    Reply

    In reference to your okay on Cocoa instead of Dark Chocolate, are you saying that cocoa has the 72% of Dark Chocolate or is there a Dark Cocoa with that amount?
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THE 72% IS THE PROPORTION OF DARK CHOCOLATE THAT IS COCOA SOLIDS; MILK CHOCOLATE HAS MORE SUGAR AND, OF COURSE, MILK, SO THE PROPORTION OF COCOA SOLIDS DROPS. COCOA POWDER IS BASICALLY 100% COCOA SOLIDS, EXPLAINING WHY IT IS BITTER WITHOUT SWEETENING. IF IT HAS BEEN PROCESSED APPROPRIATELY (NOT DUTCHED), IT SHOULD HAVE PLENTY OF BENEFICIAL FLAVONOIDS.

  5. fbl
    Reply

    By cleaning out your liver I mean that your bowel movements will be very black, shiny and smelly. Fortunately this process doesn’t last long.
    What the coconut oil does for me personally is to satisfy my hunger for something really wicked- like hot chocolate, yet leave my skin as soft as a baby’s bottom. Yes, even at age 65 and in the pool daily (non chlorine pool of course)!

  6. paul43
    Reply

    They are good for playing BOCCE.

  7. C.H.
    Reply

    I have found the best way to get the daily, healthy, dark chocolate cardiovascular benefit is to add pure cocoa to my coffee in the morning with stevia, NO milk or cream because it binds to the chocolate and reduces the benefit…. this is why milk chocolate is not as good for you as dark.

  8. mer
    Reply

    Mega info available on the Web about the health benefits of a ‘quality’ coconut oil.

  9. RES
    Reply

    I can’t quite figure out why some people are using coconut oil———-why is it good? And what health benefits does it have? I know that coconut macaroons are high in fat——–so what’s the deal with coconut oil?

  10. jk
    Reply

    What does “clean out your liver mean”? ….. in reguards to coconut oil is it similar to coconut milk?

  11. Jessica Y
    Reply

    He was probably referring to things like Aspartame, Splenda, etc, but you could ask.

  12. RM
    Reply

    “Killjoys?” Since when are scientific study criteria labeled “killjoys?” Chances are you owe your health (and perhaps your life) to drugs that were given to you as a result of tightly controlled studies. The tighter the controls, the more certain we can be about the results when the medicine is given to a wide spectrum of the population. You don’t cite any data about the outcome of “clinical trials” — we could use some figures in order to see if the results were minuscule or major. How much cocoa do you have to take to make a difference? Don’t be a killjoy — please give us the full story about drugs and supplements you’re recommending.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: The article in the BMJ is a meta-analysis of a number of studies including cohort studies and a cross-sectional study. You can read it yourself: http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d4488
    Perhaps the critics who are warning that people should stay away from chocolate should not be termed killjoys. Certainly there is danger in consuming too much sugar, but there is quite a bit of research supporting some benefits of cocoa flavonoids. It is worth noting that, although some of the randomized trials demonstrating an effect on blood pressure used a very large dose (100 g/day =a Ritter Sport bar), many of the cohort studies suggest that a much smaller dose is effective, roughly 5 g/day.

  13. Donna
    Reply

    I have been enjoying cocoa for the past few winters with no sugar and love it. I simmer a cup of milk (dairy,rice or almond) with a tablespoon of cocoa for five minutes. I add a teaspoon of vanilla, pour it into a mug and enjoy. The taste is richer than any other cocoa I have had the pleasure of drinking.

  14. fbl
    Reply

    My daily afternoon treat is a cup of hot chocolate made with organic cocoa, coconut oil and cream. I have lost 100 pounds in the last 11 years so I can vouch for it not adding weight.
    I am a protein type so if someone else was a mixed or carbohydrate type (Metabolic Typing Diet) then they should use milk instead of cream. I mix the organic cocoa powder with the coconut oil to a creamy texture then add a pinch of Celtic Sea Salt and a bit of cinnamon. I pour boiling water into the cup, mix and then add stevia and cream to taste.
    Start very small with the coconut oil because it will clean out your liver! I use two TB now per cup but don’t start wit that much. Use just a teaspoonful of coconut oil to start.

  15. Karen
    Reply

    >The stevia you will be using to sweeten your drink doesn’t have calories so it won’t contribute to weight gain.
    A reputable health care practitioner told me recently that non-caloric sweeteners trigger the “sweet reflex” (my label, don’t recall his exact words) in our intestines. After consuming non-caloric sweeteners, we then ABSORB a higher % of calories from the foods we eat.
    a) he wasn’t sure how long this effect lasted.
    b) at the time, I didn’t think to ask if it affected only carbohydrate absorption, or fat and protein as well. I suspect it may be carb-only.
    c) he was quoting a diabetes / sugar researcher at UNC-CH, so I have reason to believe it’s a valid point, within the limits of “b.”
    Bummer, IMO. I suspect I’m still better off with the non-caloric sweeteners, but not as far ahead as I would like to be.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE DO HAVE “TASTE BUDS” IN OUR INTESTINES, AND THEY DO HAVE AN IMPACT ON NUTRIENT ABSORPTION. NOT SURE HOW THAT AFFECTS THE BALANCE ON NON-SUGAR SWEETENERS.

  16. Sandy
    Reply

    Great idea! I’m a trying-to-be-reformed chocoholic (dark). I use Stevia for anything prepared at home. I don’t usually eat anything not prepared at home. This would fit right in. Thanks!
    I need extra protein which I get from whey protein powder. I’m supposed to be avoiding milk/milk products and eggs. Any suggestions how to make this higher in protein?

  17. photorick
    Reply

    How does cocoa powder compare in the amount of sugar found in chocolate? I gave up eating chocolate a long time ago when diagnosed as pre-diabetic, and I would like to know if I can safely get away with using cocoa powder.
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: IF YOU ARE USING PLAIN COCOA POWDER, WITHOUT SUGAR, IT SHOULD NOT AFFECT YOUR BLOOD SUGAR ADVERSELY. IT IS BITTER, SO YOU WILL WANT TO USE YOUR FAVORITE SUGAR SUBSTITUTE TO MAKE IT PALATABLE.

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