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A new ring in the legal big top over cocoa flavanols

Mars Inc is suing Nutraceuticals, Life Extension Foundation, and Naturex for infringing nine patents covering the manufacture of its [ed, Mars'] CirkuHealth cocoa flavanols.

Mars has been researching cocoa flavanols for about 20 years and launched CirkuHealth via its Mars Botanical division in 2009. The ingredient is made using a patented process called Cocoapro, said to accurately measure active compound levels and, by reducing exposure to high temperatures, provides "greater protection" for flavanols. This process allows CirkuHealth to claim about 550mg of cocoa flavanols per gram.

Mars has in the past made a point of the fact that although dark chocolate with a high cocoa content is commonly perceived to be healthier than sweetened confections with low cocoa levels, cocoa percentage is not actually a reliable measure of health benefits. This is because fermentation, drying and roasting, all of which help develop the flavor of chocolate, may reduce the flavanol content.

[Ed. My Opinion: I wish more people would pay attention to Mars ... in this respect. As Samantha pointed out, they do have an agenda to promote, however blind belief in "70% good" is just plain wrong, IMO. Cocoa content is just one factor that needs to be considered.]

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Sam:

The author of the article is referencing Mars making the point about a lack or correlation, not me. I was emphasizing from the article.

Despite what you point out, I am skeptical that there is a reliable correlation on that one factor.

Take three chocolates, all 45% total cocoa content (not NFCS, total cocoa content). All three chocolates have been made from the same beans, roasted the same way.

One is a dark milk chocolate containing 15% full cream milk solids.
One is made using chocolate that has been Dutch processed.
One has bean made using chocolate that has not been Dutch processed.

From the cocoa content alone, you cannot which has potentially more health benefits. You need to know more than just the cocoa content.

Where I think your graph misleads is that you need to graph the procyanidin count for all of the different forms at the same cocoa content. You will see that they are all different, which I believe is the point the article is making.
Sam:

We are making different arguments.

All I am saying is that one number (total cocoa content) is not a definitive indicator of the "healthiness" of chocolate.

One factor I did not present was that because the preponderance of antioxidants is in the non-fat solids, not the fat (cocoa butter), you can't know from the total cocoa content what the ratio of NCFS is -- you might be able calculate the fat component from the ingredients label for chocolates that don't have milk, but as NFCS has some carbs you need to do some math to separate those out; but that's information in addition to the cocoa content on the label.

It is perfectly OK for a 70% chocolate to be 50% NCFS and 50% fat. That ratio would contain more antioxidants than a chocolate made from exactly the same ingredients with a ratio of 25:75 NFCS:cocoa butter.

I don't doubt your math or your science - I think we're making different points.
I also thought the flavanol content (over 50%) was way high. This must mean that virtually all of the fat is removed along with who knows what else.

Your point in other posts is well taken. Conventional chocolate confers high levels of beneficial substances without subjecting the beans either to extreme forms of overprocessing or deliberate under-processing. And, as you say, there are vitamins that are good for you at one dosage that are lethal at another (e.g., vitamin A - remember not to eat polar bear liver). Who knows what the toxicity/prooxidant effects of very high levels of dietary polyphenols might be.

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