I avoid processed chocolate and make my own from cacao nibs and cacao butter. This removes some potential concerns about quality, rancidity, and additives. Cacao is mostly half fat and half carbohydrate (by gram, not calorie), with some protein. The fat is half saturated.
Cacao has large amounts of some minerals like Mg, but a large amount of phytic acid that will inhibit mineral absorption. It also contains other phytochemicals that many people claim is good (anti-oxidant, etc), but I think most of those claims are on shaky ground. It also contains substantial amounts of theobromine (very similar to caffeine). There is a history of large amounts of cacao consumption in healthy cultures in Peru, which have lead to claims of health benefits of chocolate based on epidemiological evidence. Chocolate doesn't seem to be a paleo food- it requires fermentation.
Is chocolate a food of healthy cultures? Is it an optimal source of minerals, a compromise dessert, or bad for you?
I eat very dark chocolate (usually around 85% cacao). I don't care whether it is paleo, and I don't pretend that it is medicine. I eat it because it is an indulgence that has relatively little sugar while retaining the mouthfeel and intense flavor that make it sooo worth it. It's satifying but doesn't set me up for sugar cravings later. I'm using less and less artificial sweetener these days (used to love it in my tea) but allowing myself a few squares of chocolate several times a week. I figure I'm better off on balance.
I recently bought some nibs on a lark -- great flavor on their own (no sweetness of course). I'm thinking of making some dark chocolate truffles (solid chocolate + butter + cream) and rolling them in the nibs.
There's a good post about cacao over at Nephropal:
The evidence I've seen doesn't seem to indicate any adverse health effects. I consume a few teaspoons of unsweetened baking chocolate daily, mixed with homemade half-anf-half and sometimes a few chunks of 85% Lindt.
As with all things paleo, there is a dose response curve. There is an optimal amount of how much of anything you should take and how frequently you should take it. This will ultimately be a very individualistic thing, but you can apply some intuition. (BTW, paraphrasing McGuff). DeVany suggest a small amount of dark chocolate to address a sweet tooth. Obviously if you have a sweet tooth every day, then you should probably go back to the drawing board. In summary, chocolate can play a role in an otherwise healthy diet and active lifestyle.
Since it unfortunately tastes like crap unless accompanied by sugar, it's probably not paleo. Anything that needs something else to be edible probably isn't. That doesn't mean it's BAD though, it just means maybe we shouldn't have so much.
I like raw cacao nibs in my (un-paleo) greek yogurt, perhaps it's my peruvian heritage
I think it has a fine nutritional profile, bit high on carbs, certainly not un-paleo if you eat it raw (I also enjoy unsweetened organic chocolate)
I agree that cacao powder has got lots of uses as well
Well, this site is really turning into something great. I was looking for cacao recipes, not expecting to find too much with the search function, but there are several great suggestions here.
Let's congratulate Patrik, and ourselves, for really building this up!
Regarding cacao nibs, you might be surprised by how much variation there is in the flavor between brands. The tastiest nibs I've had were Scharffen Berger roasted nibs--Unfortunately, roasting deletes a lot of the antioxidants.
Among raw nibs I've noticed a big difference in taste between the pricey Navitas brand and the generic 10-pound bag of eBay nibs I bought (yes, I bought food on eBay). Eating the eBay nibs feels like taking medicine; Navitas are nearly a treat.
Mark Sisson got me focused on/obsessed with ORAC values, so it's hard for me to resist the huge ORAC "dose" offered by a dozen daily grams of raw nibs. But I miss my Lindt 99%!
So what's the verdict? Eat raw cacao nibs, grinding the nibs up, or just buy 90% chocolate bars? I can get either or relatively cheap. Which way is it best to consume to get full benefits of antioxidants and magnesium?
Hey everyone, new this board and just started doing Paleo a few months ago. Anyway I took some coconut butter and one piece of 90% dark chocolate and melted in microwave for 30 seconds. Then I put almonds, walnuts and blueberries in the bowl and it was a nice snack (could be breakfast too) I guess the chocolate isnt very paleo but its a small amout. Anyone got any subs I can use for it in a similar dish?