OK boys and girls, let’s talk CHOCOLATE! I say boys and girls because for many of us chocolate brings out our big kid and our inner sweet tooth. But there’s so much confusion about chocolate. We’ve talked about it before and we will undoubtedly talk about it again but today let’s clarify the differences between cacao and cocoa.
Cacao and Cocoa both start off in the same place – from the seeds or beans within the seed pods produced by the cacao tree in South America. The raw bean is very bitter and is usually fermented and dried first.
To maintain the health benefits of the cacao bean manufacturers heat them at a low temperature, which separates the fatty part of the bean from the rest of it. And now it gets chopped up into nibs, just like healthy chocolate chips!
I say healthy because cacao really is! It is one of the most powerful superfoods known to man, that not only boosts our Feel Good hormone levels, but it can also lower our blood pressure, control our appetite, regulate insulin levels, boost our good gut bacteria and so much more!
Cocoa starts the same way cacao does. However, during processing, it’s heated at much higher temperatures. This results in a slightly sweeter flavour but, unfortunately, a lessening of its health benefits because of the change the high temperatures cause to the bean’s molecular structure.
So it doesn’t essentially mean cocoa and chocolate made from cocoa is bad, it just doesn’t have the same integrity and is therefore not nearly as beneficial for our health.
Plus in regular chocolate, a lot of other things are often added, like dairy products, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers and those dreaded unknowns called FILLERS. Urgh!
So when that chocolate craving kicks in look for a good quality dark chocolate or take time to seek out some cacao nibs for a purer source of chocolate.
Then you’ll be surprised how satisfying chocolate can be because of its many benefits, including stopping other cravings and helping you get a good night’s sleep.