Why Choose Chocolate Over a Power Bar?

dark chocolate
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I travel a lot on business, and it’s not always easy to find food to keep my energy levels high.  I used to rely on Lara Bars, but they have too much sugar. For the past two years, I replaced them with 90 percent dark chocolate bars. What a huge difference! The healthy fat content keeps me satisfied and fuels my brain.  Chocolate is full of polyphenols and antioxidants that fight free radicals.  It also has a mild amount of caffeine and theobromine that enhance my performance.

Plus, it’s amazing how nice flight attendants can be when you share a piece of dark chocolate with them.

New research from the UK shows that indulging in large quantities of chocolate is healthy.

No, you’re neither dreaming nor are you reading The Onion. The study came out in August 2010, and found that people who ate 45 grams of QUALITY chocolate (about half of a large bar) every single day for eight weeks had improved cholesterol levels without any negative consequences.  The research showed that 85% dark chocolate high in polyphenols (not milk chocolate) raised healthy HDL cholesterol levels without affecting insulin resistance, inflammation, or weight gain.

Chocolate is great stuff and makes us all feel good. After reading this study, there’s no longer any need to feel guilty about treating yourself.  In fact, you can toss out that low-fat granola bar, replace it with chocolate, and actually do something good for yourself. Just make sure the chocolate is 85% cacao (very dark) chocolate.  

Sadly, milk chocolate, most truffles, chocolate confections, and candies, will not make you Bulletproof at work, or at home, because the sugar creates inflammation.

I’ve sampled high-end chocolate from around the world and finally settled on Lindt 90% dark chocolate as my preferred source. Lindt is bound by the European standards for mold levels in chocolate.  The chocolate is surprisingly smooth and sweet for a dark chocolate, and it’s lower in toxins than typical chocolate. In fact, many people who are “allergic” to chocolate are just responding to the naturally occurring toxins in cheap chocolate.

Sometimes, after I’ve had a cup of Bulletproof® Coffee with breakfast, and later find myself snacking on dark European chocolate.  As I sit across a negotiating table from a competitor, who is eating a bag of fat-free, soy, pretzel nuggets in a desperate attempt to prop up his flagging late afternoon energy, a little tear comes to my eye as I think about what an unfair advantage I’m going to have because I eat Bulletproof food. 🙂

Click to read the complete list of references.

High-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate improves HDL cholesterol in Type 2 diabetes patients.  D.D. Mellor, T. Sathyapalan, E. S. Kilpatrick, S. Beckett, and S.L. Atkin

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By Dave Asprey

  • chrisyeh

    Amazing deal on Lindt 85% Dark at Walgreens: 27 3.5 oz bars for $30.50. That’s just $5.16 a pound. Beat that!http://slickdeals.net/permadeal/43418/walgreens-27count-lindt-3.5oz-chocolate

  • Angela Wong

    What’s your opinion on Meiji 99% chocolate bar? As I recall, it is unsweetened and commonly found in Japanese supermarkets. How about Ghirardelli 100% chocolate?

  • Nolan Hergert

    Quick question, would baking chocolate (the powder) be in the same category? It seems like they remove a lot of the fats to make it a powder. (Is there anything equivalent to expensive chocolate bars on a college student budget?)

    • Dave Asprey

      Chocolate is one of those foods like blowfish. It’s fine if it’s prepared properly, but if it’s not, watch out. Very high end baking chocolate is probably fine, but that’s not cheap. The last stuff I got was $20 for a kilo. Your best “budget” deal is Lindt 90%, which on average is pretty clean, although in the last 3 months, every bar I’ve tried has had enough mold for me to feel the effect. I suspect it’s due to cocoa crop problems this year. Scharfenberger used to be awesome, before Hershey bought them. Now I can’t eat it without problems.

      • Nolan Hergert

        Thanks for the advice! I’ll check it out.

      • Zack_Leman

        Is there a specific high-end brand that you could recommend that has consistently worked for you? Another question: Is the Lindt chocolate bar I have, which says its made in New Hampshire have American or European mycotoxins standards? Thanks.

      • Annelie

        Surely the best option is to make your own RAW chocolate?? I make my own with a little lucuma, maca and sea salt and maybe a tiny bit of xylitol or teaspoon of maple syrup per 250g bar – this must be about 80%?? Anyway Raw chocolate has less mycotoxins less caffeine and is much higher in antioxidants. I eat this every day and feel a marked difference when eating the cooked variety despite the quality. I am a Naturopath and when I run lab work on my patients with allergies to chocolate they always seems to be fine with Raw chocolate once they have got their antibody load down – cooked chocolate typically sets off
        a histamine response. Thoughts on this??

  • Haha, Loved the last few sentences. Laughed my ass off man 😀

    Soy free pretzel nuggets xP

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  • Awesome post!

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  • Steve

    I’m trying to restrict caffeine, a 90% bar has 180mg of caffeine in it, would going lower percentage be ok?

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  • David R

    Hahaha I love the end of this post.

  • Andy

    What about Baker’s Unsweetened Chocolate?

    For a cheaper alternative, does it make the grade? or better stay away from it?

  • Madeleine Fulton

    I am also curious what you think of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate? I’m guessing it has American mycotoxin standards, so you wouldn’t recommend? Oddly enough, I notice that I get “jitters” from eating Lindt 90% chocolate bars more than any other kind of chocolate that I eat, including Baker’s unsweetened and store-brand pure cocoa powder. I always assumed it mus have a higher caffeine content than other chocolates (without doing proper research) but now that I am reading all of your material on mycotoxins, I thought maybe that was the problem with Lindt. But obviously this is contradictory to your article; do you have a theory for my jitters with Lindt? Thanks for the article!

  • Dave, my man! Couldn’t agree more. Though, it’s time you consider graduating to the 100% cacao (and skip the 10% sugar). Most chocolatiers can’t handle making it taste good at that percentage, but the following three options are sublime: Pralus, Vintage Plantations, and Hotel Chocolat Rabot Collection (especially their Peruvian and Ecaduorian varietals).

    • vasras

      If you think Pralus 100% Criollo is good (and it is), wait till you taste AMMA 100% from Brazil by a 5th gen chocolatier Diego Badaro.

      Sorry Francois, but you just got your chocolate balls handed back to you on a plate from Brazil. That stuff is just too good and zero problems for me on my joints (mycotoxin radar for me) on the two batches I’ve tried.

      And no soy lecithin either.

  • Chris

    This chocolate Dave suggests has no sugar in it? I mean, nice that it has good fats and chocolate is antioxidant, but sugar is (at least, I thought) a big concern for us.

  • Cliff

    When is the best time to eat the dark chocolate?

  • Santino Corleone

    Hey Dave, What so think about the high amount of histamine and tyramine in dark chocolate? I tried the Lindt, but I experience the typical signs of histamine intolerance: Headache and feeling as if I drunk alcohol on the next day. So I can´t eat that much and also not everyday of chocolate, although I would love to :-/

  • what about black and green organics?

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