I’m sure many of you love chocolate, but I’d like to share with you specific differences between raw chocolate and dark chocolate in case you’re wondering which is better. Both are wonderful ways to get antioxidants and minerals like magnesium and iron into your diet, but there are some key differences to be aware of when it comes to raw chocolate and dark chocolate. Be sure you're in the know so you can enjoy this addicting, incredibly healthy superfood at its very best!
One of the main differences between raw chocolate and dark chocolate is that raw chocolate has living enzymes that have been preserved even through processing. Most all raw chocolate is cold pressed, or stone pressed cacao beans, that have been made into cacao paste (chocolate bark), cacao butter, or cacao powder. All are rich in living enzymes that aid in your overall health function and digestion, as well as enhancing your overall absorption of the many vitamins and minerals cacao contains. Dark chocolate has been heated, thereby removing the enzymes.
A noticeable difference between raw chocolate and dark chocolate is that most all dark chocolates on the market have added sugar to them, unless you buy 100% unsweetened baking bars, which is strict 100% cacao dark chocolate. Though baking bars have been heated, they are the closest variety of dark chocolate you can buy that’s similar to plain raw chocolate. Some raw chocolate brands do have added natural sugars, but none on the market have refined sugar like dark chocolate does. Sugar is something you most definitely want to avoid when buying chocolate. I know it might take a while to get used to the pure chocolate without the sweetness, but it actually helps you lose weight, and curbs cravings better. Not to mention, it’s higher in nutritional value and better for your metabolism. The best form of raw dark chocolate is raw cacao paste which is sold in blocks, almost exactly like dark chocolate is. My favorite brand to date is Bright Earth Superfoods Raw Cacao Paste, which is organic, raw, vegan, and cold-processed. They also sell a wonderful cacao powder, cacao nibs, and cacao butter. If you like something sweet, their special Raw Cacao Bars are also amazing! I keep all of these in my kitchen and would never go back to the heated stuff again. You can find them all here: shop.brightearthsuperfoods.com.
Another top ingredient difference between raw chocolate and dark chocolate, is raw chocolate has no milk added to it, whatsoever. Though many dark chocolate brands do not have added dairy, most all have some type of emulsifier, either from soy lecithin, coconut milk, or from some type of oil. Many dark chocolates on the market however, do have added milk, even if it is a minimal amount. Raw dark chocolate has no milk added to it, though some varieties may contain raw cacao oil or raw cocoa butter to add a dairy-free creamy taste that is still raw.
This word might not be something you’re familiar with, but is one you definitely want to make yourself familiar with. Mycotoxins are a type of fungus found on fermented foods, like mushrooms, coffee, peanuts, and cashews. And guess what else they are found on? Dark chocolate - that’s right! Raw chocolate, however, undergoes a special processing method that prevents mycotoxin production, because the cacao beans are harvested immediately and made into raw chocolate to preserve it the best way possible without heating. Dark chocolate may use cacao beans that have been left in the sun longer than raw chocolate has been to ferment and develop the flavor, allowing mycotoxins to grow. Mycotoxins have been linked to poor immune function, candida yeast growth, sugar cravings, and food allergies. They’re also prone to cause mold development as well, and contain toxic properties it’s best to avoid when possible. Sure, a little dark chocolate won’t kill you occasionally, but it’s best to buy raw chocolate if you’re concerned about this.
Luckily, I don’t find there’s much difference between the taste of 100 % dark chocolate baking bars like Ghiradelli and Sunspire (which are my favorite forms of dark chocolate), and 100% raw chocolate. There are a few differences however, that make raw chocolate better. One, is freshness, which I find is more prominent in raw chocolate. If you’re used to sweetened dark chocolate, like Greens and Blacks, Chocolove, Dagoba, etc., then you’ll notice a huge difference between those and raw chocolate. These contain sugar, while 100% raw chocolate does not. There are some brands of sweetened raw chocolate you can buy, but I’d advise avoiding those as much as possible since they’re more processed and have a higher glycemic index. There is also a difference between cocoa powder ( heated chocolate), and cacao powder (raw chocolate). Cocoa powder is a little more rich in flavor, but lower in antioxidants and healthy fats than raw cacao powder is. Raw cacao powder is slightly more bitter, but has a stronger taste, so you need less. It also has almost double the antioxidant and mineral content compared to dark cocoa powder.
Did you know raw cacao is the number one food in magnesium, chromium, iron, and zinc content per serving? That’s incredible! It’s also the food with the highest antioxidant content overall in the world. Can we say hello to anti-aging ease in a delicious way, ladies? I think so! Cacao is also rich in sulfur, a beautifying mineral that fights acne, aging, dry skin, toxicity, and wrinkles. It also helps your skin glow from the inside out. Heated forms of chocolate contain much fewer minerals like magnesium and iron than raw chocolate does.Magnesium helps muscle recovery, combats stress and tension, helps you sleep, and aids in regularity. Chromium is a B vitamin that fights sugar cravings, can increase your metabolism, helps you lose weight, and stems hunger.
Most all raw chocolate comes from the highest quality cacao beans known as Criollo Arriba, which comprise only 1% of the entire cacao production of the world. Definitely look for this quality when buying raw chocolate. It contains the best and nutritious cacao, along with no mycotoxins, as mentioned above. All dark chocolate is usually made with cacao beans of other varieties, unless they specifically say so. Be sure you know where your raw or dark chocolate comes from before your purchase it.
Aside from these differences, raw chocolate is also almost caffeine free, whereas dark chocolate has a good bit of caffeine in it. If caffeine is a concern of yours, choose raw chocolate instead of dark chocolate. I use raw cacao paste and 100% dark chocolate unsweetened baking bars, and eat them straight, instead of heating them and melting them for cooking like most people do. This gives me the best naturally sugar-free dark chocolate possible, and satisfies my cravings. Whatever you choose, be sure you avoid added sugars and milks for the healthiest chocolate, and be sure to know where your cacao comes from. Do you use raw or dark chocolate?