Have you noticed that bad reviews about chocolate have disappeared in the past few years? Nowadays it’s pretty rare to read about concerns and worries around chocolate.
Most articles from the big media applaud its health benefits and suggest to consume this food daily. It supposedly helps with heart diseases, gastrointestinal problems, skin’s appearance and even improves brain functions.
Chocolate seems to be the healthiest food on Earth!
The problem is that all this propaganda is funded by the biggest chocolate manufacturers in the industry, that produce all but chocolate good for our health.
Long gone are the times when Mayas and Aztecs consumed their cacao in drinking form with just a few spices and water. After the industrial revolution in the 19th century and the development of new machines, there is nothing stopping the fantasy of chocolate companies. From a smoother texture to an appealing flavor, a lot of money flows daily into R&D departments to develop chocolate that sells well on the market.
When looking for the perfect formula, big manufacturers want to satisfy the requests of consumers while keeping producing costs as low as possible. This results in the use of questionable ingredients that may be detrimental to consumers’ health in the long term, without them even noticing.
Here is just some of all the weird stuff often added to mass-produced chocolate that you should be aware of:
- additives to cut costs
Big chocolate manufacturers use many escamotages to keep the price of their products low. There is no way that a chocolate bar with all natural and healthy ingredients could cost $1!
For example, to replace the most expensive ingredient of chocolate that is cocoa butter, many manufacturers substitute it with hydrogenated oils. From palm oil to soybean oil, these additions full of trans fat are all but healthy for the human body. However, they are way cheaper than cocoa butter, so they are used to take its space in many chocolate/candy bars to help give a similar smooth texture with a lower impact on the finances of the company.
Other ingredients that are used in the place of cocoa butter are emulsifiers.
They are used to increase the viscosity of the chocolate so that it can pass easier through big processing machines and become easier to work with. Also, they help to make all the different ingredients in the chocolate stick together. On the ingredients list of a chocolate bar, emulsifiers take different names, including soy lecithin, sunflower lecithin, PGPR, E442 and so on. They are incredibly practical for the manufacturer, but definitely nothing that consumers would willingly accept in their chocolate.
When it comes to flavored chocolate products, big manufacturers also prefer artificial flavorings that are way cheaper than their natural counterparts. Why buying fresh raspberries when something like “raspberry extract” exist? Or why bother with expensive vanilla beans when vanillin is so cheap? Consumers might be led to big disappointments if they forget to carefully read the ingredients list.
- additives to make chocolate addictive
Certain “junk food” on the market is not addictive in itself.
If we made fried potato chips at home starting from raw ingredients, they would be way more satisfying than potato chips that we buy in big bags at the supermarket. This is because packaged food often includes substances that are meant to create an addiction for consumers. That feeling of “never being satisfied” and always “wanting more”. Such feeling is what keeps the sales of big manufacturers high, as consumers are attracted to this kind of food and find it very hard to resist it.
The same happens with chocolate.
Chocolate is already known to include “feel good” chemicals. Big manufacturers turn it into something even more addictive with the inclusion of an insane amount of sugar, a great amount of salt and a fair share of added fats, all together in the same product.
It has in fact been proven that the combination of sweet (sugar) and sour (salt) is what makes packaged food so irresistible. Also the inclusion of both sugar and fat in the same product is a winning strategy for big businesses as it makes our brain wanting for more and more. When all 3 of them are added to chocolate, it is the best formula for companies to make millions of dollars and for consumers to end up in a hospital sooner than later.
- additives to make sugar-free/low calorie chocolate
Chocolate companies are bombarded every day with requests for sugar-free and low-calorie chocolate. What consumers don’t know is the price to pay for such altered products. In fact, in a 100gr chocolate bar the space missing from the absence of sugar and calories has to be replaced with something else, often not very pretty stuff!
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In chocolate bars labeled Sugar-Free, regular sugar is replaced by artificially produced sweeteners. The most popular (because also the cheapest) is maltilol, that contains 90 percent of the sweetness of sugar and has 2.1 calories per gram.
Other substances often used in industrial sugar-free chocolate are polyglycitol, xylitol, inulin and sorbitol. Made in laboratories, these sugar replacements are known for their unpleasant side effects on the human body. Abdominal pain, gastrointestinal discomfort and diarrhea to name a few.
The premise behind sugar-free choices is to do the body good. But ironically enough, consumers are trading a small amount of sugar for dangerous substances.
Health-conscious consumers should also be aware that sugar-free chocolate has high amount of Total Fats. This makes sense since big manufacturers are bulking up their alternative products with the kinds of questionable oils mentioned above. Some companies are also experimenting with ingredients as weird as mushrooms.
On the other side, the request for low-calorie chocolate involves the use of another array of weird chemicals. Sucralose, aspartame and saccharin to mention a few.
Consumers should NEVER forget to check the ingredients list on the packaging when shopping for chocolate. Whenever there is an ingredient unknown or unfamiliar, it is recommended to Google it on the phone before putting the product in the shopping card. The best options are chocolate products made with cacao, sugar and only few other healthy and recognizable additions.
Were YOU aware of this weird stuff added to your chocolate?
I did NOT get paid and did NOT receive any kind of favor for writing this article. These are my honest opinions at your service.