Chocolate is one of the most common and popular sweet foods in the world.
Large amounts of chocolate are consumed in the United States every year and it is such a versatile ingredient.
It can be prepared in many different ways as a snack and sweet treat with many different fillings and added ingredients.
It can also be used to make drinks and desserts, and can even be added to some savory main courses!
If you’re following a paleo diet, however, you may be wondering whether chocolate is compatible with it or not.
Chocolate isn’t the easiest food to give up and can be a great comfort when you’re having a bad day.
That’s why we’ve created this article to answer the question of whether chocolate is paleo or not.
Read on to find out the circumstances when it is but also the circumstances when it should be avoided.
Is Chocolate Paleo?
Let’s cut to the chase and answer the main question immediately.
Raw chocolate is surprisingly healthy and is compatible with a paleo diet. However, that doesn’t mean that the chocolate that makes its way into our supermarkets is healthy or paleo.
Chocolate is very processed and has many ingredients added to it before it hits our shelves and these ingredients aren’t always healthy.
To answer this question in more detail though, we need to look at how chocolate is made.
How Is Chocolate Made?
Chocolate begins with the cacao tree. These trees produce fruit, or pods, that are shaped like a football and are harvested when ripe.
The pods are then broken open so that the beans contained inside can be scooped out. Each pod can have anything from 20 to 50 beans inside.
The beans are then processed and often fermented before being split into two different groups.
The first is cocoa butter (the fat) and the other is cocoa solids (the rest of the bean.) Both the butter and solids are very healthy and natural.
Cocoa butter is a great source of healthy saturated fats. It doesn’t contain anything unhealthy or any additives.
Cocoa solids are even more healthy and are loaded with a series of nutrients, including magnesium, zinc, copper, and fiber.
The solids also have a large number of healthy antioxidants that can help your cardiovascular health.
There is nothing in either the cocoa butter or cocoa solids that are incompatible with a paleo diet.
Why Isn’t Some Chocolate Paleo?
The problem with chocolate occurs when healthy cocoa butter and cocoa solids are processed in order to make the chocolate we buy at home.
So many other ingredients are added to chocolate for a large variety of reasons and these ingredients are not always healthy or compatible with paleo.
This is one of the main ingredients added to commercial chocolate and is also the main culprit behind chocolate being unhealthy.
Chocolate can naturally be quite bitter, so sugar is added to give it that sweet taste that we are more used to.
Of course, when you’re following a paleo diet one of the foods you need to avoid the most is sugar (see also “Is Coconut Sugar Paleo?“).
This means that many of the regular types of chocolate sold in stores should not be eaten by anyone who is following a paleo diet.
Many types of chocolate have milk added to them.
Adding milk can also reduce the bitter taste of chocolate and some of the most popular chocolate bars and other chocolate goods are made with milk chocolate.
The darker the chocolate, the less milk it usually contains.
There is a lot of debate about the place of milk and dairy in general in the paleo diet. If you’re lactose intolerant then milk is definitely off the menu for you.
As cow’s milk wasn’t originally consumed during the Paleolithic Age and only came into human diets during the agricultural revolution, many paleo enthusiasts avoid it for this reason as well.
Finding chocolate that has no milk in it is possible, but you will need to look at the ingredient labels closely.
Other Added Ingredients
Chocolate is also packed full of a variety of other ingredients that can vary greatly from product to product.
One of the most common of these is emulsifiers. These are used to stop the different ingredients from separating and although some emulsifiers are consistent with a paleo diet, others aren’t.
There are also numerous preservatives to keep the chocolate fresh, stabilizers, and flavorings included in every chocolate bar.
With all of these extra ingredients, it’s easy to see why chocolate in its raw form can be consistent with a paleo diet, but the chocolate on our shelves isn’t.
Eating Chocolate On A Paleo Diet
If you want to eat chocolate without breaking your paleo diet, then we have some tips for you.
Opt For Dark Chocolate
Chocolate comes in a variety of different types and a general rule is that the darker the chocolate is, the more compatible with paleo it is.
We would recommend opting for chocolate that is 85 percent cacao content. If this is too bitter for your tastes, then you can drop a little lower but we wouldn’t recommend dipping below 70 percent.
Try Craft Chocolate
Much of the mass-produced chocolate is lower in quality than the more expensive craft chocolate.
Even if you find dark chocolate to be too bitter, you may find that craft chocolate is more to your taste because it will have more complex flavors.
Avoid Cane Sugar
Take a look at the ingredients list to see what makes the chocolate sweet. Although most chocolate uses cane sugar (see also “Is Cane Sugar Paleo?“), some will use natural sweeteners such as honey or maple syrup instead.
In this article, we explained why raw chocolate is paleo but most commercial chocolate isn’t. We also gave some tips to help you find the best chocolate for a paleo diet.
- How To Make A Paleo Detox Smoothie: Berry Cherry Green Edition - April 18, 2023
- How To Make Spicy Paleo Paprika And Thyme Veggie Fries - April 18, 2023
- 15 Mouthwatering Keto Apple Recipes You Need To Try Today - April 18, 2023