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Is Raw Cacao or Dark Chocolate Really Healthy?

Raw Cacao and Dark Chocolate Powder, Bars and Beans

Many people have been misinformed and confused by the big movement in the raw cacao and dark chocolate food industries to believe that these substances are some of the healthiest foods in the world you can eat and you should eat as much of them as you like. These statements are simply not true, and in my opinion, are motivated by addiction and money.
Manufacturers of raw cacao and dark chocolate are making a great profit on this healthy marketing hype and charging top dollar for something that really isn’t much better for you than a cheap chocolate bar from the grocery store. Chocolate addicts, like all addicts, are always looking for a way to justify the usage or consumption of their drug of choice and get angry when you try to tell them otherwise. Just like alcoholics love to hear that a beer a day or a glass of wine has some health benefits when we all really know better. No matter how you cut it, eating chocolate, or raw cacao, on a regular basis is not healthy.

Proponents of raw cacao and dark chocolate will say that there is a difference between raw and refined chocolate. The primary difference is that raw cacao and dark chocolate contain high levels of antioxidants and minerals, while refined chocolate does not. However, the issues I am focusing on in this post are true regardless of whether we are talking about refined chocolate, dark chocolate or raw cacao.

Supporters of the raw cacao craze tell us that it is healthy for us because it is very high in antioxidants and magnesium. Well, that may be true, but you must look at the overall nutritional value of a food to determine its level of healthiness, not just one component. The negative aspects that are inherent in chocolate in any form far outweigh the positives.

Raw cacao contains over 300 naturally occurring chemicals and many of them are detrimental to the human body and mind when consumed on a regular basis. Many of them could be considered toxins. Some of the most potent, harmful and disconcerting include theobromine, theophylline, and caffeine. These chemicals have a devastating effect on the central nervous system, gastrointestinal system, cardiovascular and endocrine system and can result in depression, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, gastrointestinal disorders, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, nausea, nervous disorders, osteoporosis, heart and circulation disorders and many more. The chemicals in raw cacao are actually much more potent than processed chocolate because they are presented to us in raw form.

All chocolate is produced through fermentation, and any food that is fermented is high in glutamate and histamine, which can contribute to elevated levels in people with high histamine or glutamate.

It is also very high in mold and mycotoxins (toxins produced by certain species of mold) like aflatoxin and ochratoxin, which can lead to a wide array of neurological symptoms. Aflatoxin is also carcinogenic, and it can be found in peanuts, pistachios, rice, wheat, and corn as well. Chocolate is also high in oxalic acid which can inhibit the absorption of calcium.

In addition to that, raw cacao stimulates high levels of serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine, three crucial neurotransmitters involved in regulating mood, pain, sleep, and appetite, and the cycle of addiction, and has high levels of other chemicals like phenylethylamine and anandamide.

Serotonin is our natural anti-depressant, dopamine provides feelings of happiness, pleasure, focus, and attention, and endorphins are our natural pain relievers. Sufficient levels of neurotransmitters are needed for good physical and mental health, however, high levels of any of these neurotransmitters produce feelings of intense pleasure, euphoria, well-being, and reduction of pain. For example, people become addicted to opioids because they increase endorphins, amphetamines because they increase dopamine and alcohol because it increases dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.

Phenylethylamine is an amphetamine that stimulates dopamine receptors and increases pulse, blood sugar levels, alertness, and blood pressure. Phenylethylamine occurs naturally in our brain and is the chemical released when we fall in love and thus why many people are addicted to falling in love and have serial relationships. However, the phenylethylamine that occurs naturally is much lower in quantity and potency than chocolate.

Anandamide is an endocannabinoid, a neurotransmitter that is affected by marijuana use and addiction, thus, providing a similar kind of a high. Endocannabinoids affect sensory and time perception, pleasure, appetite, pain, coordination, concentration, memory, thought and movement and have a dampening effect on all other neurotransmitters. They, too, are naturally occurring in the brain, but marijuana and chocolate cause excessive stimulation, which produces the high. Additionally, other chemicals in chocolate decrease the breakdown of our neurotransmitter anandamide, which prolongs the euphoric effects of chocolate.

Chocolate contains another substance called epicatechin that has morphine-like activity. In Breaking the Food Seduction, Dr. Neal Barnard states “the truth is that chocolate is, in essence, an addictive drug. It targets the same spot on your brain as heroin or morphine.” This is demonstrated partly by the fact that studies have found Naloxone, an opiate-blocking drug that is used to reverse the effects of a heroin overdose, has been found to also eliminate cravings and desire for chocolate. As a matter of fact, Naloxone will make chocolate completely unappealing. Thus, demonstrating that the brain is affected by chocolate in the same way as opiates.

He states, chocolate does not stimulate opiate receptors to the same degree as narcotics, but it is a similar effect and this is the driving force of what keeps us coming back for more chocolate. According to Barnard, cravings for chocolate can also be eliminated with some other drugs that target neurotransmitters like Wellbutrin and Topamax, again demonstrating chocolates influence over neurotransmitters

Barnard, explains “chocolate is not just a single drug-like compound, it’s basically the whole drugstore, traces of mild opiates, caffeine, amphetamine-like components, and the equivalent of a slight whiff of marijuana,” all wrapped into one. However, just as the “taste of sugar touching the tongue appears to send a signal to the brain that triggers a virtually instant opiate effect, chocolate likely does the same in addition to the effects of its chemical cornucopia.” If chocolate is combined with a 50/50 mixture of sugar and fat, (substances that also affect neurotransmitters) it “reaches its point of maximal irresistibility.”

Additionally, in a review of the literature, researchers deduced “chocolate may evoke similar psychopharmacologic and behavioral reactions in susceptible persons” as drugs and alcohol.” They explain that “Chocolate contains several biologically active constituents (methylxanthines, biogenic amines, and cannabinoid-like fatty acids), all of which potentially cause abnormal behaviors and psychological sensations that parallel those of other addictive substances. It may be used by some as a form of self-medication for dietary deficiencies (eg, magnesium) or to balance low levels of neurotransmitters involved in the regulation of mood, food intake, and compulsive behaviors (eg, serotonin and dopamine).” They alert dietetics professionals that they “must be aware that chocolate cravings are real. The psychopharmacologic and chemosensory effects of chocolate must be considered when formulating recommendations for overall healthful eating and for treatment of nutritionally related health issues.”

This is why chocolate makes you feel so good and is so addictive. You are essentially high when you eat chocolate. The presence of these chemicals actually indicates that raw cacao is a mind-altering, addictive drug. Raw cacao overstimulates or mimics neurotransmitters in the brain, just like hard drugs like cocaine and morphine. Overstimulation or mimicking of neurotransmitters causes the brain to cut back on production as it is tricked into thinking it has too many and this leads to depletion of neurotransmitters and tolerance.

Depletion of neurotransmitters leads to addiction, as well as a variety of other health issues like neurotransmitter imbalances, insomnia, depression, anxiety, obesity, hyperactivity, chronic pain, fatigue, nervousness, adrenal fatigue, and violence. Chocolate in any form stimulates feelings of euphoria, which keep us coming back for more. If high dosages of raw cacao are consumed, hallucinations can occur.

When you eat chocolate or raw cacao, it’s as if you have toked a little off a joint, drank a bit of wine, snorted some cocaine and meth, and shot up some heroin all at the same time, because it stimulates endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and anandamide in the same manner as these drugs. It is somewhat less potent than the harder drugs, but still the exact same process in the brain. It is no wonder the world is in love with chocolate.

Many of these chemicals are also overstimulating to the autonomic nervous system and thrust the body into a state of fight or flight. If eaten on a continuous basis, it can lead to chronic dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system, which results in a wide array of psychological and physiological symptoms like high blood pressure, anxiety disorders, heart-pounding, inability to sleep, depression, headaches, migraines, tachycardia, overactive bladder and much more.

All this impact on neurotransmitters and the autonomic nervous system has a detrimental impact on the adrenal glands because they cause overstimulation to this organ as well. When the adrenal glands are overstimulated, they are called upon to continually release cortisol and other stress hormones, this is what results in the feelings of alertness and energy when raw cacao is consumed. Over time as the adrenal glands are called upon continuously to release these hormones, they burn out. They no longer produce cortisol as they should, which leads to adrenal fatigue and eventually exhaustion. Adrenal fatigue or exhaustion leads to many chronic health conditions and symptoms like excessive fatigue, inability to handle stress, anxiety, depression and many more.

People become dependent on raw cacao or chocolate because now their neurotransmitters and adrenal glands don’t function properly on their own, they now need the raw cacao to perform their duties. They experience fatigue, lack of concentration, depression, anxiety, etc. when it isn’t eaten, so they eat it all the time.

Furthermore, anytime the stress response system is activated, as it is from the caffeine in chocolate, epinephrine triggers the liver to release sugar that it has stored into the bloodstream, thus increasing blood sugar levels, which then leads to an insulin response and then the inevitable of storage of excess sugar as fat. This means that chocolate can contribute to insulin resistance, hyperinsulinism, type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart disease, etc.

Both raw unfermented cocoa beans and your regular cocoa powder contain exceptionally high levels of phytic acid and so does processed chocolate to a slightly lesser extent. Phytates are antinutrients that bind to your minerals and make them unavailable to your body and decrease the activity of important digestive enzymes like amylase, pepsin, and trypsin, which means they may contribute to mineral deficiencies, gut inflammation, leaky gut, and autoimmune disorders.

Not only that, many brands of cacao have high levels of heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and copper. All of which can have a profound negative effect on neurotransmitter production and function and thus emotional health. High levels of heavy metals are implicated in numerous mental health issues.

Other symptoms or conditions that can develop from the overconsumption of raw cacao may include abnormal growth of glands, panic attacks, irritability, headaches, outbursts of unexplainable anger, mood swings, impaired colon functioning, birth abnormalities, irritated kidneys, trembling, damage to the liver, violence, paranoia, PMS, OCD and dizziness.

We could sum this up simply by saying that raw cacao over stimulates the heart, mind, nervous system and body. Overstimulation is never a good thing. It leads to burn out, malfunction and degradation. To say that it is a healthy Superfood is simply ludicrous.

If you’ve visited me before, then you know that I am a strong advocate of the Paleo diet. Unfortunately, many people in the primal community are also under the false belief that eating dark chocolate or raw cacao is healthy. You will find dark chocolate in the ingredients of many Paleo recipes. I urge you to not get caught up in this misinformation. In addition to all that we’ve already discussed, our caveman ancestors were not indulging in anything that resembles chocolate. Keep in mind that most Paleo recipes are written for the general population, not people with chronic mental or physical health conditions. Yes, someone who is generally in good health can get away with indulgences in some unhealthy behaviors like eating chocolate without too many consequences. At this site, we are dealing with things like addiction, mental health disorders, gastrointestinal issues, autoimmune disorders, endocrine system disorders, candida overgrowth, autonomic nervous system disorders and much more. For this group of people, you do not have the same luxury or freedom for indulgences. The Paleo people feel that chocolate is a sensible indulgence, but for many people, this would not be sensible.

If you do indulge, consumption should be restricted to special occasions and should be done so with your eyes wide open and aware of the facts, not in a veil of delusion and lies. Not under the false assumption that you are eating something healthy and not in a state of denial and justification to continue a harmful addiction. An occasional piece of organic cacao or chocolate that is sugar-free is not going to do any long-term damage in most people, (unless you are in recovery for addiction, in which case, it can lead to relapse) however it should not be part of the diet on a regular basis.

In my personal experience, it does not matter if it is organic processed chocolate, dark chocolate, or raw cacao, they all have the same negative effects. If I would eat any of them they give me a headache, anxiety attacks, hyperactivity, trembling and nervousness, racing heartbeat, irritability, and I’d be up all night. Not only that, my addiction to chocolate comes back full force. If you have a chocolate addiction, it is just like any other addiction, and it will return if you engage with the substance. Knowing what I know about raw cacao and chocolate makes it something that I couldn’t indulge in with good conscience and the price I would pay in symptoms is simply too high. So I steer clear of it completely. If I’m in the mood for a creamy chocolate experience, I will indulge in carob instead. Carob is just as satisfying and doesn’t come with any of the negative effects of raw cacao or chocolate, other than the fact that it is a legume. But an occasional indulgence with a legume is not too detrimental.

Some other very important and rather repulsive facts about chocolate you also want to be aware of are revealed to us in “Poison with a Capital C.” “Every time you eat a chocolate bar, it may contain a rodent hair and 16 insect parts and still carry the blessing of the FDA.” And, “For chocolate powder or cakes there must not be more than 75 insect fragments in three tablespoons of powder.” And, “Four percent of cacao beans may be infested by insects. Animal excreta (such as visible rat droppings) must not exceed 10 milligrams per pound.”

So that may be something you want to think about every time you have a craving for a chocolate bar. On the other hand, I’m sure that this is true of many mass-produced foods like nuts, seeds, and grains and we aren’t aware of it. The mass processing of food would make it inevitable that insects, rodents, and their fecal material would make it into our food supply. Disgusting to think about, but probably a reality.

Here are a few other web pages you may want to visit for more information on raw cacao toxicity:

Proponents of raw cacao like to leave me comments and adamantly proclaim they have no problems eating it and provide me with a list of “so-called” benefits, but that is beside the point. As we have already discussed earlier, we must look at the entire nutritional picture to determine whether something is truly healthy. The existence of some benefits in a food does not override the existence of clear and present dangers. This page does not exist to discuss the benefits, it exists to educate people about the risks and dangers and to validate the experiences of those who are having these negative effects.

Of course, there will be some people who see no negative impacts from the consumption of any form of chocolate. Some people can smoke cigarettes like a freight train and drink alcohol like a fish for their entire lifetime and see no negative results either, but that doesn’t mean it’s something we should all do. If you happen to be blessed with a magnificent set of genes and an autonomic nervous system made of steel, then you might be one of the lucky ones, but not many of us are. By making simple changes in our diet, we can alter the way our genes will express themselves and thus make improvements in our health.

Some people are more sensitive to the chemicals found in chocolate and raw cacao than others. It is typically people who have a very hypersensitive sympathetic nervous system and/or neurotransmitter imbalances, or problems in their detoxification system and these are the people who need to restrict consumption the most.

Anyone who lives with the challenges of any of the following conditions should severely restrict their consumption of chocolate or raw cacao or avoid it all together, because they are some of the most vulnerable to these negative effects: sugar or carb addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, caffeine addiction, nicotine addiction, PMS, irritable bowel, leaky gut, food sensitivities, Candida overgrowth, neurotransmitter imbalances or deficiencies, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, chemical sensitivities, hyperactivity, attention deficit, diabetes, type 2 diabetes, depression, compulsive overeaters, anxiety disorders, mood swings, heart disease, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, migraine headaches, hormone imbalances, Tourette’s, autism, anger management issues, outbursts of rage, violence or any other mental health issue or autonomic nervous system disorder.

However, sometimes it can take a while for symptoms to develop. The human body can take a lot of abuse before things go awry. So, if you happen to be someone who eats chocolate with no problem today, it doesn’t mean it will always be that way. Things change as we get older, as we face different stressors and environments and go through other life events. Most people would do well to restrict their consumption regardless of their health status, as the autonomic nervous system can become sensitized and neurotransmitters disrupted over time.

Just because raw cacao or dark chocolate contains antioxidants and minerals like magnesium doesn’t mean it should be eaten. The extremely bitter taste of this substance is nature’s way of providing us with an indicator of the toxins it contains and is supposed to serve as a deterrent. Antioxidants and magnesium can be found in a variety of other healthier foods that don’t contain the dangerous and harmful chemicals that cacao contains. We can get those benefits elsewhere without the risks and negative health effects.

If you need help overcoming your addiction to chocolate or raw cacao, you’ll want to take a look at this page for a summary of the steps necessary.

Drewnowski, A., Krahn, D. D., Demitrack, M. A., Nairn, K. & Gosnell, B. A. (1995) Naloxone, an opiate blocker, reduces the consumption of sweet high-fat foods in obese and lean female binge eaters. Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 61:1206-1212.

Drewnowski, A., Krahn, D. D., Demitrack, M. A., Nairn, K. & Gosnell, B. A. (1992) Taste responses and preferences for sweet high-fat foods: evidence for opioid involvement. Physiol. Behav. 51:371-379.

Bruinsma K, Taren DL. Chocolate Food or Drug? J Am Diet Assoc. 1999 Oct;99(10):1249-56.

Ashley N. Gearhardt, MS, MPhil; Sonja Yokum, PhD, et al. Neural Correlates of Food Addiction Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2011;Volume 68 No.(8):808-816.

Jennifer A. Nassera, et al. The Neural Basis of Feeding and Reward: A Tribute to Bart Hoebel. Physiology & Behavior, Volume 104, Issue 1, 25 July 2011, Pages 117–121.

DiFeliceantonio AG, Mabrouk OS, Kennedy RT, Berridge KC. Enkephalin Surges in Dorsal Neostriatum as a Signal to Eat. Current Biology. Published online September 20 2012

Dr. Nora Volkow, director of NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Chocolate, A Dangerous Drug.

Ecuadorian Cacao Powder Heavy Metals Lab Test

Barnard, Neal, M.D. Breaking the Food Seduction: The Hidden Reasons Behind Food Cravings. St. Martin’s Griffin (September 23, 2004)

di Tomaso E, Beltramo M, Piomelli D. Brain cannabinoids in chocolate. Nature. 1996 Aug 22;382(6593):677-8.

Panneerselvam M. et al. Dark chocolate receptors: epicatechin-induced cardiac protection is dependent on delta-opioid receptor stimulation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Nov ;299(5)

{ 87 comments… add one }
  • Susan January 12, 2015, 3:23 pm

    Thank you, so very helpful and motivating.

  • Jane April 26, 2015, 12:35 am

    Hello Cynthia – quite an eye-opening article – yikes!
    Was wondering if you have any data on the chemicals in cacao butter? I was wondering if it was less harmful than the cacao powder? I am partial to a raw caramel chocolate that uses cacao butter, cashews and coconut sugar.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins May 20, 2015, 9:27 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Cacao is cacao. For the most part, it doesn’t matter what form it takes, the effects mentioned above are going to occur. However, the raw form is more potent.


  • Lee June 19, 2015, 11:38 am

    This article came at the right time – thank you.
    I’m currently on the candida diet and have been turning to cacao to consume as a “rare sugar free treat” but recently it has now turned into a daily addiction. I make myself a cacao treat every evening and now I have trouble sleeping, rashes on my fingers and have an overreactive bladder. Your article has given me a wake up call.

  • Valll July 10, 2015, 8:33 pm

    Oh my. I keep thinking I’m doing healthy things, but learn I continue to do myself in. This is depressing. I have a daily smoothie that contains both cacao powder and cacao nibs. I’ve been off coffee for a year and a half, stopped refined sugar at the beginning of June; little to no dairy, but have been juicing with kale and spinach. I was recently diagnosed with adrenal fatigue and hypothyroid autoimmune, which I’m trying to correct with the aid of a naturopathic doctor. I’m now off gluten. Stopped the juicing because kale and spinach must be cooked and not eaten in raw form. I am constantly adjusting my diet. It’s overwhelming because I truly, TRULY, keep thinking I’m doing good things. There is SO much conflicting information out there. Okay, suck it up, Buttercup. We start fresh again. Out goes the cacao. 🙁

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins July 18, 2015, 9:12 pm

    Hi Valll,

    Yeah, refining the diet is an ongoing and lifelong process. And yes, it can be maddening with all the misinformation that is passed around. But, you’ve got the right attitude. LOL We just have to suck it and start again.


  • Kay July 30, 2015, 10:27 am

    Wondering if there is any exception with Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof brand chocolate powder that has supposedly been put through a very selective process and lab tasted to bear none of the toxins that most cacao’s do?


  • nick September 1, 2015, 9:29 pm

    I decided to stop consuming raw cacao a couple days ago due to suspicions about the negative effects it might be having on my health. I have been consuming quite a bit on a daily basis in my smoothies for an awhile, and now that I’ve stopped cold turkey i’m having some pretty intense withdrawal symptoms. After reading this article I can see why. Any idea how long it takes to detox from this stuff?

  • Cathy September 17, 2015, 3:45 pm

    Thank you so much for providing information about the possible side effects of raw cacao powder. I have advanced lupus and I’m on immunsuppressant drugs to help control control symptoms. I’ve been hospitalized a few times due to overstimulation of the immune system resulting from inflammation gone out of control which resulted in infections that have lead to necessary surgery. On top of this, fybromyalgua symptoms are present if an out of control lupus flare occurs. When this takes place, I’m at my absolute worst and am miserable from head to toe. Eating a healthy diet, taking good care of myself and watching my stress levels are crucial in maintaining and managing any disease. I recently purchased a Nutribullet and it came with a coup,e of recipe books. Raw cacao powder was a listed ingredient in many Nutriblast (smoothie) recipes and I wondered what it might do to my body if ingested. After visiting my local health store and seeing the high cost of raw cacao powder, I conferred with a store employee who told me that cacao helped balance hormones in the body. which promoted towards good health. She was unable to tell me, however, if cacao powder stimulated the immune system even though I already suspected the correct answer. After doing more research and coming across your website, I am happy that I didn’t add this ingredient to any of my smoothies because with any overstimulation of my nervous system, I tend toI go into an immediate lupus flare. Continual usage of cacao would have more than likely led to infection(s) and possible surgery at a later date. Thank you so much for educating me on raw cacao powder and I urge everyone to research any advertised healthy food iproduct before putting it into your body because it may be harmful instead of helpful to your system. This is especially important to those of us who have food sensitivities and/or compromised immune systems.

  • Ronald E September 25, 2015, 3:35 pm

    How long does it take the body to recover from a 2-4 year daily 85%-100% cacao habit? Is exercise, then, truly the only healthy, sustainable way to get that jolt we all crave?

    I am currently experiencing intense withdrawals as a result of cutting back on cacao. Inability to digest, tension headaches, anhedonia, lethargy, lack of appetite, you name it.

    As soon as I indulge in a piece of 100% baking bar it all goes away.


  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins October 16, 2015, 11:05 am

    Hi Kay,

    No, it wouldn’t really make any difference. Dave Asprey’s Bulletproof chocolate is removing the mycotoxin content (toxins produced by mold), which eliminates only “one” of the problems. Eliminating the mycotoxins does not change the fact that chocolate contains hundreds of naturally occurring mind-altering chemicals that are addictive, can increase glutamate and histamine levels and lead to all the problems we have discussed on this page.



  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins October 27, 2015, 12:16 pm

    Hi Nick,

    Sorry for the delay in response, you are likely doing better by now. However, for future reference …

    It is hard to say. The worst of it should subside in about a week or so, but may take 30 days to complete. However, there can be many long-term effects that could linger indefinitely. If doesn’t get better in month, then may want to consider things on the following page.



  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins October 27, 2015, 12:27 pm

    You’re welcome Cathy. All the best, Cynthia

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins October 27, 2015, 12:33 pm

    Hi Ronald,

    The worst of withdrawal should subside in about a week or so, but it may take up to a month. However, there can be long-term damage that can take much longer to correct. If you’re still having problems after a month, then you should take a look at the following page.

    No, exercise should not be used to get a “jolt.” That would be an addiction as well. Using exercise excessively is just as bad as not enough, which you can read about on the following page.

    You shouldn’t crave a “jolt.” If you crave a jolt, that indicates there is a problem. Most likely this problem is occurring from neurotransmitters in the brain, which you can learn about on the following page.



  • Frank Urro November 1, 2015, 12:18 am

    Great article, I feel your information is very much correct. I was recently given as a gift a bag of cacao powder which this morning I added some to my morning green smoothie and around 4 o’clock a migraine started to which I have not had a migraine like this in probably 10 years. I remember the feeling of this sort of migraine well because way back when I used to not eat as clean, my diet included coffee and chocolate and wheat, this was the type of headache I used to get on a regular basis. To substantiate the theory I did a quick search on the web for cacao and headache and it led me to a number of articles very much like yours . So I certainly hope people that read your article believe in your assembly of what I believe is very good information. Thank you! Frank

  • stephanie Lee January 30, 2016, 5:22 pm

    OY!What an epic bamboozlement these so called health food corporations have done us!Wow, the clarity and research of your article horrified and helped me,Thank you for your steadfast tell it like it is ness
    whatta HEALTH FOOD /SUPPLEMENT mine field we are trudging accross. All the conflicting info’s and notions, what a challenge to be able to figure out whats real and whats not!Thank you for your article.

  • michelle March 2, 2016, 7:26 pm

    Thankyou. Very helpful. Won`t be reintroducing cocoa into my diet, then. I had been considering it, even though I tried a very little recently and had anger management issues the next day.

  • Lisa April 24, 2016, 8:12 pm

    Thank you! Your article confirmed what my brain was telling me. I used to be involved with a magnesium group that promoted dark chocolate. I was practically vilified when I explained to them how chocolate (especially dark chocolate) made me severely depressed and gave me horrific anxiety. I was not taken seriously. The group kept promoting it. Many people remained stuck. I left the group and avoid chocolate. I have no control over it. Once I start, can’t stop eating it until it’s gone. I continued to eat it long after I stopped enjoying it. I no longer wish to have anything have that much power over me.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins April 25, 2016, 11:22 pm

    Thank you Lisa. Good for you.



  • Tanya May 24, 2016, 3:37 pm

    Yes yes yes ! Thanku for this article To me its right on. I have lots of health problems from ibs to endometreosis and im healing myself through paleo diet and lots of rest and prayer I cant eat any chocolate. Milk chocolate bloats me and dark chocolate gives me heavhaces and nausea and now i know why! I wont be eating them my body hates it ! So thankyou :). Also have you heard of anyone healing endometreosis with paleo? All i read about is vegan or vegatarian diet to cure it but i cant eat those ways they bloat me. Thanks !!

  • leonardo July 2, 2016, 12:59 am

    Hi Cynthia,

    Congratulations for your complete and clear information about this drug called chocolate. You know, I know a lot about these kind of subjtes, even I am writting a book, but I didnt know “nothing” about chocolate, as you do. Thanks and take care…


  • Annie November 26, 2016, 10:31 pm

    Dear Cythnia,
    I really appreciate your efforts to make this article. I just noticed that I have leaky gut about three months ago. I love to eat chocolate even though I know that chocolate bar contains sugar, wheat, casein/milk, artificial flavors and are contaminated with heavy metals (which all are highly inflammatory). So recently I have thinking or considering buying cacao power, cacao butter etc. to make my own chocolate. But thanks so much. I am not going to do it.

    I also don’t quite understand why I have insomnia, heart palpitation, joint pain, alertness, dizziness and skin problem after I eat chocolate. I never really have these kind of problem until I have leaky gut. Now I understand.
    Last year, I had an organic pack of cacao. I ate it all by myself. I had serious brain issue which I did not correlate that the raw cacao contributed to my issues.
    I will print your article and stick it on places to remind myself not to eat chocolate again. Million thanks again. Annie

  • Madrugada March 7, 2017, 5:36 pm

    I was just drinking my daily (sometimes 2x) glass of hot raw cacao, and I am almost finished the bag. I had a strong taste of mold in one sip, so I started searching the ole interweb which brought me here. I am sad to say that I have been aware that I am addicted to this raw cacao ( and since it’s supposed to be so healthy, refused to really pay attention to how terrible it actually makes me feel), and quickly over the last two months since I have had this bag. I guess this explains my migraines, indigestion and most notable, irrational irritability, anxiety and depression that has spiralled in the last two months.. Of course drinking the cacao lifts me out of it, for a bit, but I have been so speedy I feel like I am a rocket ship that is about to take off…very unpleasant.

    Thank you for the wake-up call, now let’s see how long I can stop for.

    Any suggestions on effectively kicking this habit?

  • Lorraine May 19, 2017, 2:49 pm

    Thankyou for the information I have leaky gut and have been eating my home made date balls use img cocao powder almond meal dates coconut oil and ect .. And never feel to well have a lot of sleep problems.. I’ll stop now can I substitute for something else

  • Kay May 23, 2017, 12:15 pm

    Hello, would you PLEASE answer this question for me. I have tried researching for the answer and not come up with anything definitive. Is “raw cacao” fermented or not?

    Thank you.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins May 26, 2017, 6:36 pm


    Yes, most raw cacao is fermented. Some more so than others.

  • mark June 3, 2017, 11:57 pm

    Thank you for debunking this. I guess I not only believed all this media hype, but since i wasn’t gaining weight although indulging every day, I thought it was OK. Im not OK and found this by searching the possible causes. I have been eating 1/2 a bar of 86% dark choclate for 4 years now. Every day. Im 10% bodfat. but my energy levels have declined over these years despite being an accomplished, fit CrossFit athlete. Add to this a daily habit of 2 coffees, poor sleep, and a nervous type temperament, i can see now that my indulgences although not leading to weight gain have had severe consequences. I will from today take a long break from coffee and chocolate, but i wonder since its been so many years that my energy will correct itself or i need more intervention and if so, from who and how? Any help is great, thank you very much.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins June 26, 2017, 8:22 am
  • Frank C July 20, 2017, 2:07 pm

    Very good read and information, thank you so much Cynthia. You have a great way of cutting to the chase and avoiding emotive dribble.
    I recently bought raw cacao after using small amounts of cocoa powder in fruit/nut deserts. The cocoa’s caffeic acid slowed digestion as I’m on now a super high fiber diet and have motile bowel tendencies anyway, and glued things together also with a mild drug like crutch as I was transitioning from other harder habits. However, even at small doses, raw cacao was very bad for my vulnerable genetic disposition. I think the heating that occurs when it becomes cocoa does destroy some of the harmful components. In a way it was a blessing in disguise to up to raw cacao then crash, as I dont need cocoa anymore due to further distance from past habits, and am now transitioned to a better space. Never again!

  • Donna July 26, 2017, 11:17 am

    Thank you. In the last paragraph, the “take a look at this” link actually leads to an article about ketosis. If that is ever fixed, I wonder if I could be informed by email…. I was hoping to read the article about addiction. Nevertheless I’m grateful for the information presented.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins July 26, 2017, 2:11 pm

    Hi Donna,

    I’m sorry about that. I was not aware the link was going to the wrong place. Thanks for letting me know. It is fixed now.

  • Sarah Holding October 15, 2017, 11:05 pm

    I’ve never had a problem with chocolate either dark or normal but recently I started eating raw dark chocolate bars because of the supposed health benefits. I actually found it to be quite a massive stimulant, I felt alert when I hadn’t had much sleep but not jittery during the day. However at night I couldn’t sleep, every time I felt myself nodding off I was jolted awake and felt like I was having a panic attack because of a weird sensation and felt like I was going to pass out. This went on for weeks before I figured out what was causing it. After stopping taking it the symptoms went away in a couple of days.

    But it was awful, I can’t tell you how bad that sinking feeling as I was falling asleep was, it literally felt like I was becoming unconscious and felt dizzy then I’d get an adrenaline rush and and my heart would race, nasty stuff.

  • Diane May 21, 2019, 12:52 pm

    This and your article about carob are amazing. It’s the final confirmation I need to put that chocolate addiction behind me! 🙂

  • Ophelia December 18, 2019, 10:27 am

    Well i found this after typing up does chocolate cause vertigo because i have been noticing that when i drink my cocoa which i make from dark cocoa powder iv’e been getting severe vertigo which i already deal with and can’t drink alcohol either but it was getting severe after drinking actually even while drinking the cocoa before i’d be finished i’d get dizzy and brain whooshing with the eyes kind of fluttering, like when you are coming down the roller coaster ride from up high at that very high velocity and your head is barely staying attached. I’m sure it’s the cocoa but had to look it up since like you said it’s supposed to be so good for you also something i noticed is that chocolate, any type of chocolate causes depressive thinking almost instantly,maybe it’s the sugar? but i am addicted to chocolate so do not buy it at all that’s why i thought the cocoa could be a good idea but obviously not.

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins December 19, 2019, 2:03 pm

    Hi Ophelia,

    Chocolate is cocoa. They are the same substance, just in a different form. So all forms need to be avoided. You may want to take a look at the following page, which gives tips on overcoming chocolate addiction.


  • Anne February 16, 2020, 6:59 pm

    Thank you so much for this info! I started using raw cacao everyday for several months, and was enjoying the taste and the energy boost. I tend to be a “happy” person and never feel the need for drugs/ alcohol, but cacao was promoted as “super food” and good for the heart/ I am always trying to eat healthy and my friends were really into it- so decided to try it. But then there were a few days when I felt horribly depressed for no real reason and then I realized that on those days I had skipped my cacao drink. The depression was quickly alleviated by a few squares of dark chocolate or raw cacao drink. Looking on the internet there are so many sites promoting the benefits of cacao, that I was thinking it must be in my mind. But seriously- the days I didn’t have cacao reminded me of how I felt after stopping narcotic pain killers after a surgery- complete sadness for no reason.
    So now, after reading your article, I understand what is really going on. I am going to throw out all the cacao in the house (and office- ha- thats a sign of addiction right) and try to move through withdrawals. Thank You again for writing the truth!!

  • Admin - Cynthia Perkins February 21, 2020, 9:55 am

    You’re welcome, Anne. You can find info on breaking that addiction on the following page:

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