How to Recognise Good Chocolate (and Why You Should Care)

Aug. 29, 2016

I will send the first 100 people that leave me a 5-star review on iTunes (video instructions) a bar of Fruition 100% dark chocolate. Please send your US shipping address to

Chocolate is awesome! Everyone knows that. Less well known is cacao’s (we use the terms chocolate, cocoa, and cacao synonymously in this podcast) blood pressure lowering and insulin signalling effects. The interest in the effect of cacoa on blood pressure started with the discovery that an island population of Kuna Indians suffered much lower incidence of hypertension and age-related rise of blood pressure. The people that returned to the mainland enjoyed no such benefit, even after correcting for salt intake. Island-dwelling Kuna Indians consume about 3-4 cups of cacoa drinks on average per day, while the mainland-dwelling Kuna Indians consume up to 10 times less cocoa.

Christopher Columbus in 1502

Explorers like Columbus brought cacoa to Europe but people didn't like the drink without it first being sweetened. Subsequent roasting (up to 120 °C), mixing (conching), alkalising (dutching), adding sugar, milk, vanilla and lecithin emulsifiers make chocolate as we know it today. Unfortunately, much of this processing removes the flavanols that are the compound of interest.

Flavanols are also found in other plant-derived produce, including beans, apricots, blackberries, apples and tea leaves, but in a lower concentration than in cacoa.

More trouble for chocolate

As with many crops grown in third-world countries, there are ethical concerns, especially child labour. “Bean to bar” chocolate may be nothing of sort, and some manufacturers may be in the remelting and wallpaper business.

Know what you’re buying!

As with most things in life, you pay for what you get, and the very best is not available in your local supermarket. That’s why you should listen to this podcast and consider joining a buyer’s club like the Chocolate Garage.

Here’s the outline of this podcast with Toréa Rodriguez, FDN-P:

0:00:30    Toréa has been on my podcast twice before [1, 2].

0:02:56    The Functional Diagnostic Nutrition certification program.

0:03:05    Fabian Popa interview.

0:03:57    Jeremy Powers interview.


0:06:30    Video instructions for leaving me a review on iTunes.

0:07:25    Buy Fruition 100% dark chocolate direct from me.

0:09:22    Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews: Effect of cocoa on blood pressure.

0:10:08    Cocoa, Glucose Tolerance, and Insulin Signaling: Cardiometabolic Protection.

0:11:37    Khan Academy video: Enzyme Linked Receptors.

0:15:32    A randomized, controlled, double-blind, crossover showed for the first time that the intake of just 10 g of cocoa with a very low caloric (38 kcal) and flavonol (80 mg) content per day was already significantly ameliorating arterial function in healthy subjects.

0:18:15    PHAT FIBRE MCT oil powder.

0:21:59    Cyrex Array #4 Gluten-Associated Cross-Reactive Foods and Foods Sensitivity.

0:30:58    The Meadow and Cacao in Portland.

0:32:31    Sunita De Tourreil from the Chocolate Garage.

0:33:27    Mutari Chocolate.

0:33:59    Francois Pralus Chocolate.

0:34:27    Domori Chocolate.

0:34:31    Grenada Chocolate.

0:35:01    Marou Chocolate.

0:36:35    Dick Taylor Chocolate.

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