In this article, I am going to be taking a look at is dark chocolate paleo friendly. It’s pretty uncommon to not to love chocolate so losing it on the paleo diet could be a pretty big hit for you. Below I go through everything you need to know if you’re looking at including dark chocolate into your diet and whether or not it is “paleo friendly”.
The paleo diet has been trendy in recent years, and it mimics the eating style that humans have used for millions of years – the food that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were able to capture and collect. This range of food included fish and meat, vegetables and greens, nuts and seeds.
As humans have evolved and invented ways to grow their food, process it, and preserve it, diets have changed to include a vast array of food choices – including sweets, like chocolate. Chocolate has become a common, go-to treat, and enthusiasts have touted the benefits of dark chocolate in particular. But is dark chocolate paleo? There are factors to consider in determining whether or not it is considered paleo friendly.
How Healthy is Dark Chocolate?
So, where does chocolate fall into the paleo lifestyle? Like all chocolate, dark chocolate is made from cocoa beans (beans, must be healthy, right?). When the cocoa beans are processed, they are divided into two parts – cocoa butter, which is the fat, and cocoa solids, which contains everything else (fiber, zinc, magnesium, and some antioxidants).
Dark chocolate candy bars are made from the cocoa solids; basically, dark chocolate is chocolate that does not have milk solids added to it. If the mixture is 50% cocoa solids and is mixed with a bit of sugar, some vanilla, and soy lecithin, it is considered semi-sweet. The higher the percentage of cocoa solids included in the mixture, the more bitter the chocolate, but the less sugar is added, and the more pure cocoa solids you are eating.
The problem, however, is not the dark chocolate in semi-sweet form, in particular, but what is added to it to make it more sweet and palatable for human consumption – sugar, milk, flavorings, and preservatives. Consider milk chocolate: If you were going to make milk chocolate at home, you would need to add sweetened condensed milk and butter to it! Yes, the devil is definitely in the details!
So, Is Dark Chocolate Paleo?
The elements of dark chocolate seem healthy. And, as far as a sweet treat goes, dark chocolate is a good choice. Did you know, for example, that dark chocolate contains less sugar than some fruits, including apples, peaches, and pears? So, I’m good to go with dark chocolate on my paleo diet, right?
Not so fast. There doesn’t seem to be full agreement on whether dark chocolate is acceptable on a paleo diet. By the strictest definition of paleo (plants, animals, nuts, and seeds), processed chocolate does not seem to fit. Even very dark chocolate does contain some sugar, and as it is processed, it could come in contact with gluten grains or other non-paleo elements.
However, most people who support a paleo diet say that the occasional treat of dark chocolate is acceptable. It is a source of antioxidants, and it contains valuable minerals like magnesium, copper, and iron. Likely the biggest advantage is that it helps to beat back sweet tooth cravings, which can easily torpedo a diet of someone with even the strongest will!
If you’re looking to include some dark chocolate into your diet that is paleo friendly, then you can some find some pretty decent chocolate over at Amazon.
If you have your own opinion on the topic of whether or not dark chocolate is paleo friendly, then please feel free to leave a comment below.