October 20, 2015

Is Chocolate Good For You or Just Another Health Food Hoax?

When we lived in the U.S we knew someone who liked to tell us that Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups were good for you, after all they had chocolate in them and the new rave is “chocolate is good for you”.  It’s funny what (some) people actually believe. Where on earth did they hear or read that chocolate is good for you?

Is Chocolate really good for you? If there were ever a hoax about something being good for you than this one is it.  First of all, we shouldn’t confuse chocolate with cocoa. Pure cocoa is what’s good for you, not chocolate. Chocolate is a sweet, tasty concoction that is made from the COCOA BEAN. And not a surprise, some of the best tasting cocoa is grown right here in Ecuador! 

Having a cup of hot cocoa in Cuenca Ecuador

Chocolate vs. Cocoa 

The amount of cocoa in a chocolate candy bar is very scant, which if you look at the list of ingredients in a popular candy bar the first ingredient is usually sugar and then wheat flour and then hydrogenated oil!  In fact, cocoa powder comes in somewhere between sixth and tenth place in the ingredients list.

Hydrogenated oil is in almost all popular candy bars. Hydrogenated oil is refined (cooked) oil and it cakes up in your veins and causes high cholesterol, high blood pressure and disease. It is one of the worst foods you can eat. It is found in many of your processed snack foods as well.

Since the amount of cocoa in a candy bar is so scant you would have to eat quite a lot of chocolate candy bars to receive any antioxidant effect from the cocoa. But by then imagine what all of those other ingredients are doing to your body?  When the ingredients sugar, cocoa butter, hydrogenated oil, wheat and milk are added with some cocoa it is then called chocolate.  hehehe.

Nutrition of Cocoa Powder


The nutritional value of pure cocoa shows to have high levels of antioxidants, which are the flavonoids found in the nonfat portions of the cocoa bean.  Cocoa powder carries a generous amount of minerals such as magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, potassium, and manganese.  This article will tell you more about the nutritive qualities of cocoa.

Where to Buy Cocoa Powder in Cuenca Ecuador

Not all cocoa powder is the same, however. We have only found one brand (except for Hershey’s) here in Cuenca that is sugarless. All the rest have sugar added to the powder. The sugar mixed in with the powder makes the mineral content counterproductive to your health. Supermaxi sells the brand we use called ”Bios Cacao”  Ingredients: 100% Cacao. It costs $5.05 for 500 grams of cocoa powder. Watch our video below about cocoa products produced in Ecuador!!

                      
Bottom line: Don’t fall for the “chocolate is good for you” advertisements. No amount of chocolate is good for you. Buy some cocoa powder where the ingredients list only “cocoa powder” and have a cup of hot cocoa with raw honey instead and stay/be healthy. 
Brandon, Angelo and Alex (our sons) enjoying a cup of hot cocoa too!
And maybe some day I'll talk Frank into revealing the ingredients of his homemade cocoa (not baked) squares made with all natural/healthy ingredients! They are delicious. There is no reason to deprive your sweet tooth, simply eat healthy sweeteners with pure cocoa!
 We're an Expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

3 comments:

  1. Hmm, now I would like to know more. How do you prepare? Do you boil it or do you just put powder into hot milk or water? I am buying those brick of cacao from mercado. It is dark and it already looks like chocolate but it does not have any sugar in it. I dump it into hot milk and boil it and add panela sugar to it. Sometimes I cut it up for faster melting. I know it must have cacao butter in it too, but I think it is OK, it comes from cacao beans.

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    1. Yes, we mix the powder with hot water and a little honey. I do not know about the block of cocoa you are buying so we can't really say anything about it. They sell honey laced with corn syrup at the mercado so it's risky.

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  2. Do you use maca?It is 4 dolla5rs and I am tempted to get it to put a teaspoon or half (does not taste that great) in my smoothies for energy. Once I read that Chinese came to buy out all of the Peruvanian maca they could. So it must be something about it.

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