We get asked a lot if dark chocolate is Paleo. This question is very common because everyone knows that chocolate is a highly processed food. So the question is, is dark chocolate paleo due to the numerous health benefits that have been linked with the cacao component of chocolate? Read on …
We all love chocolate – I don’t know anyone that doesn’t! and if there is anyone that doesn’t then there must be something wrong with them or at least there taste buds anyway!
One of the drawbacks of starting the paleo diet is not being allowed to eat the most common type of chocolate – milk chocolate, due to high amount of sugar and milk. Milk chocolate and the ingredients in it can lead to cancer, arthritis and diabetes and weaken the immune system. It can also interfere with the absorption of vital nutrients. Typically, the main ingredients in chocolate are chocolate liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, lecithin and vanilla and ingredients such as fruit, nuts and milk may be added.
But what about dark chocolate? Dark chocolate is essentially chocolate with much fewer milk solids added to it or none at all depending on the purity. So the higher the percentage of cacao in the bar, the fewer milk solids and sugar it will contain. So always aim for the highest percentage of dark chocolate possible.
Is Dark Chocolate Paleo?
Yes! It is true, dark chocolate is paleo – in moderation and in small amounts! When I first started on my journey from heavy too healthy one of the hardest things for me was the thought of giving up regular milk chocolate, but when I first tried dark chocolate I was hooked! I tried to find a bar with a high amount of cocoa because of the health benefits associated and to keep in line with the paleo diet – I wanted at least 85% purity and I advise you to opt for at least 70% depending on your taste buds.
When I first started out, I tried a few brands with at least 85% purity such as Theo Classics Dark Chocolate, Alter Ego Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate and Green and Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate, although these tasted a little bitter at first, I soon got used to the bitterness and loved it! Once you get used to it then try a much higher purity like 99% Lindt Cocoa Bar – you only need small amounts for the health benefits this brings. Bear in mind that dark chocolate will taste very bitter when you first try it.
Dark Chocolate, The Low Down
Although dark chocolate is not paleo in the sense that cavemen in the paleolithic era weren’t eating it by the bar, it is still allowed in moderation on the paleo diet. One of the most important things to consider when eating dark chocolate is the amount you are consuming. As mentioned before, dark chocolate is not strictly paleo but is allowed in small amounts. Don’t just buy a bar and then eat the whole thing after your evening meal! Have one or 2 squares to satisfy your craving and don’t eat everyday otherwise you will start to crave sugars again which is the last thing you want on the paleo diet.
So go ahead and enjoy a square or two of dark chocolate every now and then without feeling guilty.