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Chocolate - Not Always So Sweet

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posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 01:50 PM
Increasingly people are noticing that their favorite treats from childhood are not quite how they remember them, one of those is chocolate.

In 2007, slipped into a "citizen's petition" to the FDA from the Grocery Manufacturers Association, it was suggested by candy manufacturers that the very definition of chocolate be changed. Fortunately, it was not. At issue was being able to call something "chocolate". The manufacturers wanted to be able to call a chocolate substitute, "chocolate". There was wide consumer backlash but that didn't stop the candy companies from doing what they wanted anyways.

What was it they were really trying to do by changing the definition? Increase profits.

Cocoa is expensive. There are several issues related to growing and harvesting cocoa - child labor, slave labor, and deforestation - that drive up the cost of cocoa production, particularly when considering such things as fair trade, sustainability and social responsibility.

So, rather than go down that profit-eating path, candy manufacturers went another route - additives.

Cocoa butter is vegetable fat that has a very sought after quality - it melts at body temperature. It is responsible for that gnoshy texture and the "melt in your mouth" quality of your chocolate. Cocoa powder or solids is what is left after the cocoa butter is removed and it gives chocolate the delicious flavor.

It's harder to fake the taste of chocolate without people crying foul. But the texture, not so much - there are similarly textured substitutes, both natural and processed. That's where polyglycerol polyricinoleate, PGPR, comes in as a substitute for cocoa butter.

In many ways, the story of PGPR in chocolate is but a small chapter in a larger narrative about how convoluted our industrial food system has become: an alphabet soup of fillers and cheap ingredients that challenge the original definition of the product they seek to emulate, questionably sourced raw materials, and a cast of large corporations attempting to appeal to the lowest common denominator acceptable for human consumption to keep costs low and profits high.

Take out raw ingredients and replace them with additives and then replace those additives with other less-expensive additives when the first generation of additives becomes too expensive.

Things you probably don't want to know about chocolate...

It's not even just PGPR, another concerning additive/substitute is tertiary butylhydroquinone. Although it's not actually cocoa butter, at least PGPR has no known problems [GRAS or Generally Regarded As Safe (for human consumption)] - TBHQ, on the other hand, is a petroleum based product used in some chocolates and other junk foods and is highly debated as being unhealthy for human consumption.

It's astounding to me and a bit Orwellian that food manufacturers are allowed to suggest a change in the definition of a food product -"chocolate-y" "chocolate-flavored" "chocolate-like" are not chocolate. And when denied the change in definition they just put the additives in anyway and that was okay with the FDA.

Reading candy packaging is like reading a chemistry textbook. Even trying to do a bit of research on the topic of candy/chocolate is fraught with lots of double speak and caveats. In fact here is the language used to explain why manufacturers like to use additives:

"Consumer expectations still define the basic nature of a food. There are, however, no generally held consumer expectations today concerning the precise technical elements by which commonly recognized, standardized foods are produced. Consumers, therefore, are not likely to have formed expectations as to production methods, aging time or specific ingredients used for technical improvements, including manufacturing efficiencies."

Essentially they feel consumers won't care, can't tell, etc. but it's very good for their bottom line.

So, this Valentine's Day, if you really love your sweetheart, steer clear of the cliché box of chocolates or look for fair trade, high quality alternatives.

edit on 2/12/2015 by kosmicjack because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:12 PM
I love this thread. Whoever thought chocolate would become such a polarizing topic?

Much like diamonds from the African continent, chocolate goods are often touted as necessities for holidays, birthdays, parties, etc. of course this wasn't always the case; love of chocolate, as well as the diamond engagement ring craze, came about via propagandist advertisement campaigns that made these goods seem rare and special. Over the years, chocolate manufacturers found ways to mass produce their treats, and "chocolate" became a standard gas station snack.

Unlike diamonds, chocolate actually IS rare and special, but consumers have been tricked into thinking of it as a cheap treat. Women especially.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:23 PM
Just eat raw cacao chocolate. It is sooooo good for you and tastes great! The all natural is the way to go. Order offline to support where it comes from. DR has some of the best Organic Cacao Chocolate in the world!

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:28 PM
a reply to: Atsbhct

That is such a good comparison - chocolate/diamonds, both equated with love, special occasions.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:42 PM
a reply to: lilaloca1890

Agreed. But you do have to be careful of the quality/source.

I got to thinking about the broader topic of chocolate last year after trying to go more organic/whole food and also after watching a video posted on ATS of some cocoa pod harvesters who had never tasted chocolate.

I was like - WTH!? So locals don't use it this way, but, throughout history it has been prized.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:45 PM
I was thinking of stocking up due to "shortages". Now I feel bad for getting myself vegan dark chocolate and my kids the bags of crap they prefer.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 02:56 PM
a reply to: kosmicjack

Oh for sure... they change everything to try and increase profit.

they changed smarties... they used to be great now they taste like crap

And the worst one of them all in my opinion, Cadbury cream eggs... they still taste the same, but they're half the size of what they used to be... eventually they'll be the size of a robin egg

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 03:12 PM
My daughter got a little upset when I told her that some chocolate has the hair of Chinese people or the feathers of chickens in it.

What happened to plain old rat hair? I guess people just aren't satisfied with rat hair.
edit on 12-2-2015 by rickymouse because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 03:27 PM
a reply to: rickymouse


Among other yucky things.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 03:27 PM
a reply to: Akragon

I don't think cream eggs taste the same,nor does any other of the sweet delights I have treated myself to since childhood. Real eye opener of a thread and validates all the speculation over the past few years in discussions with family and friends. Obviously dollar store confectionary got my vote as 100% fake but sad to see the companies who benefitted from my weekly allowance as a kid slope downward to increase profit. My kids have likely never eaten chocolate as pure as I,and never will. Just another way they have had a decent childhood stolen. This Easter,think I will be making homemade treats.

posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 06:32 PM

originally posted by: lilaloca1890
Just eat raw cacao chocolate. It is sooooo good for you and tastes great! The all natural is the way to go. Order offline to support where it comes from. DR has some of the best Organic Cacao Chocolate in the world!

I don't understand this.

As a baker I have access to raw cocoa and it is absolutely not sweet. In fact it's very unpleasant. The processes in which it is made palatable are many.

The cocoa leaf in its raw form isn't sweet but is an actual narcotic in nature of course.

Try raw chocolate and you won't get through a mars bar size helping. Even baker's chocolate can't compare.


posted on Feb, 12 2015 @ 08:51 PM
Good thread, I love chocolate. Right now Im eating chocolate ice cream mixed with coconut water, peanut butter and chocolate chips. Yum. They do that with almost any food they can think of to screw over the consumer. Im a raw milk, non food color Nazi refusal of crappy food kinda guy. If I cant find good quality meat, Ill eat fruit until I do. Im not sure about the difference in cacao and cocoa but I like them both.

posted on Feb, 13 2015 @ 04:06 AM
Yes i only have he best cocoa as well, I also like the cocoa to drink with spring water and honey for sweetener. Good as an energy drink if you drink it fast.a reply to: lilaloca1890

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 10:46 AM
Good info, KJ!!!

I'm not surprised by the additives, not there is a bigger demand than there is a supply.

The world is experiencing a chocolate deficit.

Struck by frosty pod rot and other fungal diseases, the world’s cocoa crop has shrunk by 30 to 40 percent. Add to that weather problems in Ivory Coast and Ghana where we get 70 percent of the world’s cocoa production and you have us eating much more than we produce.

Where are we going? To supply and demand chocolate problems.

So, as demand increases....and supply dwindles....look for companies to stretch the chocolate as far as the law...and consumer will allow.

When possible, I buy organic and fair trade....even if I have to wait until it is on sale.

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 04:04 PM
a reply to: kosmicjack

Make your own chocolate, girl !

It's super easy to make...

Homemade Chocolate:

1/2 cup grated cocoa butter (melts faster if grated)
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 cup pure raw honey (or agave syrup)

In a large bowl or pot, pour hot water (not boiling) a couple of inches deep, place a smaller bowl in the center of hot water bowl/pot to make a hot water bath to melt your oils... the hot water level should be at least half way up the smaller bowl. Do not make chocolate over direct heat from the stove - it burns very easily.

Add in your grated cocoa butter and coconut oil. Stir until fully melted and liquidy. Add in your cocoa powder, whisk thoroughly. Now add in your honey (add until you get your preferred sweetness), whisk thoroughly. Your chocolate should be a nice smooth consistency. Note: The honey is not necessary at all if you prefer a bitter chocolate.

At this point you can also add in other nummies like nuts, raisins, herbs, etc.

Pour chocolate over a wax paper covered cookie sheet (or pour into a mold, ice cube tray, whatever). And refrigerate for about an hour until firm, or for about a 1/2 hour in the freezer.

Also note: this chocolate can be kept in the fridge and used to make a bazillion chocolatey recipes (chunks, melted, etc) or just stuff your face with it straight up !

Chocolate made this way is actually a very healthy treat... no need to deprive yourself of chocolatey goodness !

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 05:20 PM
a reply to: CranialSponge

Oh mouth is watering.....
I am guessing you could always use stevia or another sweetener if you wanted to avoid the sugar?

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 08:33 PM
a reply to: DontTreadOnMe

Yup, any kind of sweetener of choice works great with this recipe (stevia, cane sugar, honey, agave syrup, maple syrup, etc).

That's the major bonus to making your own chocolate, you can make it according to your own wants/needs.

edit on 15-2-2015 by CranialSponge because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 10:24 PM
a reply to: CranialSponge

I've already checked Amazon for cocoa butter.
Is there a brand of coca powder you prefer??

posted on Feb, 15 2015 @ 11:12 PM
a reply to: DontTreadOnMe

Believe it or not, I actually prefer Superstore's no name cocoa powder over the popular name brand Fry's cocoa powder.

The no name stuff has a richer, darker colour to it, whereas Fry's looks more like a light brown milk chocolatey colour. The no name also has a slight more of a bitter chocolate flavour to it, whereas Fry's not so much.

But for what it's worth, I'm a dark bitter chocolate lover.

If you want to be super health conscious, you might want to consider buying 'raw' cocoa powder (not found in grocery stores). The store bought cocoa (any brand) is a 'roasted' type. The roasting process causes the cocoa to lose some of its nutritional value, whereas the 'raw' cocoa holds its full nutritional value. It's very pricey though and can only be found in health food stores or online.

Hope that info helps !

posted on Feb, 16 2015 @ 09:37 AM
a reply to: CranialSponge

Yeah, that does help, thanks.....I'll do some checking.....I need to remember what "dutch process" means....and if i care.....

cocoa vs raw cocoa
edit on Mon Feb 16 2015 by DontTreadOnMe because: (no reason given)

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