I'm on a journey to explore the world of American craft chocolate
Is Chocolate a Health Food?
Feb. 9, 2017
Ask any serious chocolate lover and they’ll say YES, both because it contains antioxidants and keeps them sane. Take Antidote, for example, a Brooklyn-based company that pioneered the raw/roasted combo that works so well.
“ANTI-STRESS, ANTIOXIDANTS, APPETITE SUPPRESSANT, APHRODISIAC, ANTIDEPRESSANT,” founder Red Thalhammer writes on her site.
Food for thought, and I’d love to hear what you think about this.
But the real reason I’m writing is that I’m fascinated by new chocolate maker K’ul Chocolate’s business model. Sure, they have some single-origin bars, but they focus on these superfood bars geared toward health nuts and athletes, like Endurance, a 70 percent dark chocolate with pumpkin seeds, protein, cranberries, and guarana. It contains 270 calories and 8 grams of protein; a cool mint chocolate Clif bar contains 250 calories and 9 grams of protein, with double the number of ingredients (including soy products). I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat heirloom cacao and natural ingredients.
K’ul’s model is an interesting departure from the rest of the bean-to-bar crowd, and I’m curious to see if others follow suit.
Meanwhile there are a range of chocolatiers and confectioners who make “healthy” bars, such as Hu, which caters to the Paleo crowd. Compartes offers a vegan dark chocolate bar with kale, pumpkin seeds, and sesame seeds and Jcoco makes a milk chocolate bar with agave, quinoa, and sesame. I know kale and quinoa are trendy superfoods, but does adding them into chocolate make the resulting bar “healthy”?
For my book, I interviewed Dr. JoAnn Manson at Harvard, who is conducting the first extensive study on the powers of cocoa flavanols. Among other things, she said, ““Having chocolate in moderation is perfectly fine as a treat, but I don’t think it should be considered a health food.” I’m excited to share the rest of her thoughts with you in August, when my book finally (sigh) comes out!