Scary if true: Cacao is toxic?

I was recently shown a link to this article that suggests that raw cacao (beans, nibs, powder) is toxic and addictive to humans. This was a schocker to me, as I have been eating a lot of cacao since starting a raw food diet a few months ago. While the author doesn’t really cite his sources, or give links to prove his credibility, he seems genuinely concerned. If anyone knows more about this please respond.

*actually not raw – even the stuff from Natures First Law reaches temps over 212F (100C) during the fermenting process (thank you for that info Chris Carlton)

Everday I have less and less faith in sellers of raw/health food products, as I continue to discover “raw” products that have been heated in some way (agave, cacao, cashews, brazilnuts, olive oil…). What we need is raw certification, like the one that exists for organic. Before that can happen the scientific community needs to accept that raw may be better than cooked and test the hypothesis with controlled experiments (which I am positive would show that raw is indeed better). Once this information is labeled as truth by the mainstream science media, then the governemnt might consider a certification for raw. I guess a private firm could certify raw as well. I wonder if that will ever happen. As for now I am trying to eat as high a percentage as I can of completely unprocessed (or self processed), local, organic food.


  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    Cacao is the number one bestseller of Nature’s first law the biggest raw food company in the USA, and Detox Your World, the biggest raw food company in the UK…many raw fooder’s careers are built around raw chocolate…

    It never used to make me feel bad, I have a fabulous raw chocolate cake recipe I used to make…then once I was through the major part of my detox, and 100% raw, it really did make me feel bad. It knocked me off my raw high with feelings of ‘speediness’ followed by exhaustion, messed up sleeping, irritability, bloated stomach and cooked food cravings. This made me suspicious of it.

    So I decided to research it some more. I contacted the company who supplied me, and asked them if it had been fermented and dried,and at what temperature, they replied ” Our cacao has not been fermented, we only supply top quality raw foods to you, you can trust us!”. I then contacted their supplier, and asked them the same question, the told me ALL cacao had been fermented but declined to inform me what temperature this reached. So either the first company just blatantly lied to me, or they didn’t research their own products and just made an assumption in their email to me because they didn’t want to look any further into it. And no-one would tell me what temperature it was dried at. I gave up, and just don’t have it any more. Here’s a thought: compare the high you get from raw cacao with the high you get from wheatgrass juice – which feels better?

  • spiritedmamaspiritedmama Raw Newbie

    Chris & Zoe, Can you refresh my memory, I think you mentioned this on another string, but I can’t seem to find it….Why does David Wolfe/Natures First Law state on their bottles of cocao powder and bags of cocao nibs that the food is not heated above 104 if it is? I guess the more specific question is why hasn’t any government agency addressed this misinformation if it is indeed not true?

  • Cacao is a controversial topic these days. My feelings are that since as was said above companies such as nature’s first law gain huge amounts of income from sales of ‘raw’ cacao they will not go out of their way to find the truth no matter what it is. There are chemicals found in cacao which are human toxins, caffeine is one, theobromine is another. Here is a link that explains more:…

    Besides the fact that it is not a raw food (fermented or heated) it is not a health food either. Do your own research as was mentioned. If it makes you crave it or makes you excited and edgy then it is probably a toxin and not healthy. Healthy food makes you feel alive and awake but you will never crave healthy food. I never felt a craving for apples or bananas so I know they are healthy foods.

    spiritedmama: do not rely on any government agency or large corporation to impose guidelines to foods. They are not there to protect us but to maintain the status quo – which is a bad situation. Read about government in the China Study by Colin Campbell, he devotes a chapter to it and how they are not out to protect the people at all.

  • Hey Socal, I wrote this in another string, “On the other hand, Nature’s Law raw cocoa powder became a bit of an addiction this past month. I was putting it in a food processor with walnuts, cinnamon, cashew butter, agave and raisins. This is the most awesome raw vegan candy ever! My family even loves it. I don’t even crave cooked sweets anymore, but can recognize I swapped out one addiction for another. I had to have my partner hide the cocoa powder from me for this week, for mental/physical cleansing!” Thought it seemed relevant.

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    Hello spiritedmama,

    I don’t know specifically how much heat NFL’s cacao has been exposed to. During an email to DreamBrother concerning cacao. I made the following statement in regards to NFL/Sunfood Nutrition.

    < begin direct quote from email >

    Cacao: We were surprised when Sunfood replied to our ‘Raw’ cacao questions.

    We asked Sunfood about the fermentation process that we understand to be normal where the nibs reach temps of 70-80c. We also asked about the temp their nibs are dried at. We understand quite high temps 120-150c are normal.

    Instead of confirming their nibs were raw, they replied that ‘all cacao is fermented, but because they were buying so much, they doubted it was fermented very long.’ They did not respond to the drying temps question at all.

    < end direct quote from email >

    As you can see, I didn’t actually tell him… “even the stuff from Natures First Law reaches temps over 212F (100C) during the fermenting process”

    Zoe wrote to NFL/Sunfood three times. At no time did they state that their cacao had never reached these temps during fermentation or that their cacao was never high temp dried.

    I hope this clears this up.

    Lovebows, Chris

  • Is carob powder different from cacao powder in these characteristics (toxicity, addictiveness)?

  • As far as my understanding goes carob is a completely different plant from cacao. It doesn’t contain the addictive substances that cacao contains. The issue with carob is probably finding it really raw. Even the products labeled raw carob might be processed and heated. You will need to verify this with the manufacturer. Here in Socal carob trees are everywhere so finding raw carob is easy if you want to grind it yourself.

  • chriscarltonchriscarlton Raw Newbie

    more on our communication with NFL/Sunfood about Cacao…

    NFL/Sunfood replied to us that the fermentation process was necessary for preservation and also fermentation made the flavour more chocolatey. The implied that it wouldn’t sell as well if it wasn’t fermented.

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