Paleo Plan

Chocolate and The Paleo Diet


Chocolate is a relatively recent indulgence that is often labeled as off limits by people on the Paleo diet. Of course, if you’re a purist, there’s no denying the fact that our Paleolithic ancestors simply didn’t access this sinfully delectable sweet. However, chocolate can be good if eaten in moderation.

This article will look at a number of chocolate facts and go over its many pros and cons. Afterwards, you should be able to determine whether continuing to consume chocolate goes against or along with your goals of following the Paleo diet. Take note that the facts outlined here are general in nature, applying to most healthy individuals. Remember that some people react to chocolate and chocolate-containing foods in specific ways, so your decision shall depend upon your circumstances.

Where It’s From
Chocolate is a processed food taken from the seeds of the cacao tree. The cocoa bean, when fermented, yields cocoa butter and solids, which are used to prepare dark chocolate. Cocoa butter on the other hand, is used to produce white chocolate.

On its own, cocoa solids are bitter, which is the reason why sugar and flavorings are added to improve their taste. Chocolate purists prefer to consume chocolate on its own, or at the very least, choose chocolate with little added sugar.

For people on the Paleo diet, chocolate can cause problems when mixed with milk, resulting in the popular milk chocolate. Milk and high amounts of sugar as you know, are not welcome in any decent Paleo diet meal plan.

Chocolate Advantages
Dark chocolate is rich in minerals such as manganese, iron, copper and magnesium. It’s a good snack to ease cravings for sweet foods, but contains very low sugar levels. Chocolate is also high in beneficial antioxidants, the body’s solution against the proliferation of damaging free radicals.

Chocolate Disadvantages
Chocolate contains high levels of phytic acid, which binds to important minerals such as magnesium, iron and calcium, thus preventing the body from absorbing them. Chocolate is also sometimes prepared by adding soy lecithin, and most soy is genetically modified, and it’s not on the Paleo diet anyway. For those who eat large quantities of chocolate, the sugar content can quickly add up. Chocolate also contains oxalates, which can hasten the forming of kidney stones.

There’s no doubt that chocolate is an enjoyable food eaten mainly for its diversity and enjoyment, and not its health effects. It’s a great and relatively harmless addition to the Paleo diet, and when compared to grains, certain vegetable oils and sugar, is far more beneficial to your health. To be safe, make sure to stick with dark chocolate made with more than 50 percent cocoa solids and low levels of sugar.

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7 Comments

  1. Excellent post. I was tossing around the idea of posting a very similar one on my blog. I will be sure to link you in mine.

    I know its not part of the Paleo lifestyle, but we can’t forget the child labor that goes into some of the cheap chocolate we see on the market. Fair-trade is always a bonus if you choose to eat chocolate.

  2. Thanks for the article on chocolate.
    I buy 86% cacao. I find it sufficiently fitter to tolerate the little sugar in it. I don’t eat a lot, a 3 oz. bar will last several weeks. I’ve lost 145 pounds in the past 21 months so I do allow myself a little treat every now and then.

  3. Johnson Pack

    What about Choffy (www.drinkchoffy.com)? Our family drinks brewed chocolate and it doesn’t have anything but ground cocoa beans and water.

    • @Johnson Pack – Sounds fine to me as an occasional treat!

  4. I agree, it should be eaten rarely. The problem again isn’t so much the phytic acid, in a treat, it’s not much, and the phytic acid has anti-cancer benefits. But dark chocolate is the top dietary source for copper. First, one should be sure to have enough zinc (ie. the RDA, not too much more or less) to counter-balance copper. Copper excess is very problematic for those with Wilson’s Disease, where the body stores too much and it’s destructive, while not that common, it’s probably under-diagnosed. But even in health people, excessive copper is not benefiticial and harmful in that it can inhibit zinc aborption, and cause other problems. A very small serving per day or every other day of dark chocolate isn’t bad. Larger servings of milk chocolate less so, since the darker/more pure it is, the more copper.

    Most people, especially on a healthy Paleo diet, get all the copper they need. It’s hard not to. Deficiency is rare. Another big issue is chocolate comes from Latin America, and Africa, primarily. These are places with far less restriction on what pesticides they can use. The lax FDA/USDA allows too much pesticide as it is in our foods now. But it’s worse there. Amazingly enough, US companies that make such pesticides banned here ship them to these places. They are used heavily on chocolate and banannas especially. That’s why I try to only get organic chocolate or banannas. Again, milk chocolate, which I also only eat rarely, isn’t so bad, as it has very little cocoa. I’d also read that there are chemicals in chocolate which bind with and/or inhibit flavanoids (their anti-oxidants) making little get absorbed.

  5. jackelopemum

    I made myself a nice chocolate treat using 100% chocolate and a can of coconut milk; melted them on the stove with a touch of honey and cinnamon, then let it set in individual bowls in the fridge. So delicious! It looks like it’s completely off-diet but everything in it is fine. Wow, what a treat! Way better than all of that cheap Easter candy I managed to avoid recently…

  6. Theres sugar in fruits anyway and The longest living person in history,Jeanne Calment from France, 122Years old ate 2.2lbs of the stuff every week!!!

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