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Negative side effects of cacao

People need to know the truth. Cacao is being toted as a health food when it is not. People, please use your senses on this one. here is an article to get you started, but educate yourselves, cacao is a drug and we have always known this..



  • ZaZa Raw Newbie

    Oh well, yes. I suppose, it’s true… (sigh…)

    I recently wrote an article about this topic too, but it’s much less, um, furrowy-browed, and also touches on money, sex, and OBEs—fun topics, no?

    Check it out:

    Have a day.

  • Thanks for the enlightening article. It also mentions what I have been fearful of with regard to young coconuts, “Instead they found a way to engage in exploitation and buy toxic formaldehyde dipped bleached nuts wrapped in plastic irradiated from Thailand.”

    I guess I won’t be indulging in them too often.

  • Cacao induced hallucinations? Wow.

  • RCBAliveRCBAlive Raw Newbie

    Hey Love, where is the link? I’d like to read your article.

  • Raw_ChocoholicRaw_Chocoholic Raw Newbie

    I’ve actually seen this article before somewhere, and while I do agree that cacao can have addictive properties I have personally only noticed this with cacao which has been tempered. Cooked chocolate I would have considered myself addicted to, and used to eat if every day. Or perhaps it was the refined sugar that I was addicted to. However, with raw chocolate though, I can easily replace it with carob, or not eat it at all. I thought I should make that clear as my screenname probably reflects otherwise . . .

    Also, I have read a study where the results showed that cooked chocolate had produced similar effects as caffeine (namely increased pulse rate), whereas raw cacao did not. This I have personally noticed as well. However, I have not personally noticed any ‘cacao induced hallucinations’. Or maybe I’m a figment of my own imagination . . .

    Since the effects of a drug are characterized by having a high, and then a crash afterwards, why is it that I don’t experience lowered energy on a day when I eat a dessert with cacao?

    Yes, it’s true that since cacao beans have to be peeled before eaten that’s a hint that we shouldn’t eat too much of them, and the same goes for cracking open a walnut shell. Does this mean a walnut is toxic?

    In response to Paul’s points on cacao:

    Native people did not eat it as a food nor as a supplement, only for sacred use. That sacred use included drinking multiple cups on a daily basis. In fact one tribe (the Huna I believe) drink about 80cups per week. Their 80+ elders show no change in blood pressure, or other common signs of aging seen in our culture, nor the other negative effects he mentions.

    No animal in nature will eat it unless tricked into it with milk or sugar. Last I heard refined sugar was one of the most addictive and toxic substances known to man, and no other animal in nature drinks milk as an adult. Aren’t they kind of contradicting themselves with that statement?

    It acts as a stimulant and agitates the kidneys and adrenal glands. This can cause: insomnia, nightmares, waking up in the middle of the night, shakes, and extreme energy shifts I can count the number of nightmares I’ve had in my life on one hand. The other points I can’t relate to either.

    At mega does of 40 plus beans, it acts as a hallucinogen and can cause many effects attributed to LSD or Hashish Cacao does contain a trace amount of THC, which is the active ingrediant in marjuana. However, it would take far far more than 40 beans to achieve the same effect.

    He keeps referring to “his study”. Well, what was that study? What was the thesis, the dependent and independent variables? The method? The results? Or is it all just anecdotal evidence by him an a couple friends? According to Dr.Mercola 30% of people lack the ability to properly digest spirulina. Could it be possible that the decreased power of digestion he mentions is simply his body’s inability to digest a compound within the cacao. Considering cacao is one of the most complex foods on earth, I would not find this surprising.

    Do Shazzie and David Wolfe don’t look/seem like they’re ‘suffering the ill effects of cacao’?

    However, I am going to check up on that coconut thing, and track down the supplier of the coconuts I buy. I really don’t want to be eating formaldehyde, or supporting companies that use it or buy from those who do. I also don’t want to assume something which may not be true for all suppliers.

  • i agree with the negative effects of cacao to some extent. Though it doesn’t cause any hallucinations, it certainly effects the way I think. And all those “highs” and “crashes” are also possible, not as evident as in case of white sugar though. I’d prefer to stay away from Cacao/Choc.

  • raw choco..i must admit that this very well may be true about the idea that we all may metabolise certain foods in different ways from each other. So then consider: those native peoples could have a hundred generation head start on some of us with respect to the use of cacao and the body’s ability to adapt to or integrate its effects. My personal experience has shown the “high and crash” phenomenon on an extreme scale. i am sensitive to caffiene, however. I am not taking my chances as long as all available supporting evidence is supplied by sellers.. unless anyone knows of any positive independent studies??

  • A lot of foods have these same properties. We could practice total avoidance, or use as a once-in-a-while small quantity treat.

    It’s really easy to deprive ourselves of all the pleasures of life. Buddha’s thing was the “middle way.” The raw gurus that heavily promote this superfood as a daily food have it all wrong, but total abstinence might not be the way either.

  • Raw_ChocoholicRaw_Chocoholic Raw Newbie

    I think ron4540 has the right idea. In fact, no food should probably be eaten very single day. I just felt that that article was trying to scare people without really offering any secondary opinions or explanations. Same with the young coconuts. I doupt they’re all treated the same, but I would like to find out . . .

  • I emailed Paul asking for references, you know for all the animal studies, blood level info, “one of the most addictive substances” etc.

    this is the reply:
    “You would have to shurch the net to find the info> I don’t have it on hand”

    So although the article portrays the information as science, the way it is presented is actually more like, someone saying “trust me”, than someone attempting to foster independent thinking.

    Personally I would rather fill up on foods I know are good like lettuce and apples, than look for exotic “elixirs” that just happen to taste yummy only when mixed with a sweetner, in a receipe. This just seems like common sense.

  • I didn’t read the article but
    everything in moderation

  • I found this horiculture lecture on cacao (growth, development, processing, etc.) and enjoyed looking at it. If anyone finds other articles and materials on cacao I would love to read them too.


  • kundalalitakundalalita Raw Newbie

    Thanks for the link LionMouse, very interesting, i love to see where things actually come from…plus one of the farmer guys is hot lol

    I bought some whole cacao beans today in the raw food section, it says that they are organic and raw. It also says that it is “fully fermented”. I bought them because I wanted to see if they would sprout. Does fermented stuff still sprout? i thought it smelled kinda gross and bitter when i opened the package.

    One thing i really liked seeing was the fruit of the cacao plant. Maybe the cacao bean is like one of those things like in certain fruits how you are not supposed to eat the seed cuz it has things that are bad for you even though the fruit itself is really good for you… it was in a post on here.. like apple seeds have cyanide or something like that…

  • ZoeZoe Raw Newbie

    99% of cacao is fermented. It is possible to buy unfermented, it is purple and it should look like this:

    There’s interesting info here


    Basically, unfermented cacao is more psychotropic than fermented and there are many other differences. The levels and make up of the shemicals in cacao change a lot when it is fermented.

    It is fermented to make it less bitter and more choclately. Also to help preseve it.

    Fermented cacao will not sprout as it is not a live food. Nor it is raw. The bean reaches temperatures well beyond raw quality whille it ferments.

    If you want to buy unfermented cacao try Google there are some websites in the USA which sell it sometimes, but it seems rare and is often out of supply.

    P.S. The flowers of the cacao plants are also gorgeous, I would love to smell them!

  • Hahaha!


    I couldn’t resist clicking the link when you said “one of the farmer guys is hot”.

    Whoa… Chocolate just got way sexier! ;)

  • I know the origional fermentation method for cacao was to scoop all of the beans into one big pile, then let them rot in the tropical heat until the skins slid off easily, then they spread them out to dry. Not sure if they still do it that way today, though.
    If you need an excuse to stay away from seafood, I hear they rid those popcorn shrimp of their shells in a similar fashion.

    Hmmmn… I’m gunna have to check out that link, too ;)

  • kundalalitakundalalita Raw Newbie

    LOL mygreenmojo, and woodchick, I’m cracking up over here so much!

    Well, fermented beans are dead beans. I’m gonna look into getting some of those truly raw purple cacao beans… thanks for the info Zoe!

  • Zoe: thanks so much for the article on unfermented cacao.

    Kundalalita: I assume you mean the farmer with the stylishly torn pants.

  • kundalalitakundalalita Raw Newbie


    LionMouse: Yea… those cacao beans sure ripped him up good ! Lol

    Is this considered a negative side effect of cacao…?!


    this is the reply:

  • I had a cacao shake for dinner and now I can’t get to sleep. Maybe it is a drug.

    But when cacao is outlawed, only outlaws will have cacao.

  • ZaZa Raw Newbie

    Here, RCBALive and anybody else interested in reading my free-associative blog article on raw cacao:


    Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

  • stylistchickstylistchick Raw Newbie

    i tried raw cacao, a few times in the first month i started raw foods. i was drinking alot of smoothies at the time and i add some in with my fruit. within minutes i got a slight stomach aches, and i definately didn’t feel as good after i finished it as i normally would.
    i think it could be dangerous at high levels. i was only using about 1 teaspoon of ground up nibs.

  • had to check him out and yes cacao has just got a new lease of life. i think we should make an appreciation group on facebook LOL

    bq But when cacao is outlawed, only outlaws will have cacao. bq

    just like guns and knives in the UK and alcohol in the 20’s US and of course hemp etc now

  • elizabethhelizabethh Raw Newbie

    this is really strange to me, because although i eat raw cacao pretty rarely (once a month or so) i have never experienced any negative side effects…or any effects at all actually. its always just tasted very good.
    i also don’t experience cravings for it, i just have it very occasionally when someone serves it to me.
    i still think a lot of research needs to be done on the effects of cacao before this information can be confirmed.

  • RawVoiceRawVoice Raw Newbie

    Cacao nibs make me absolutely sick. I must be allergic, seriously. They make me so ill. I can’t stomach them. When cacao is dressed up with a lot of other things like nut creams, agave nectar or fruit, I do okay with it, but in its unadulterated form, it’s inedible to me. So many people love it. Weird to me.

  • so in my opinion… so much of this just sounds silly. i registered just to reply here and share my own experiences. i’ve been on living foods for quite awhile and i’ve consumed quite a lot of cacao, chocolate smoothies, chocolate pies and desserts and i’ve never felt any ill effects. i’ve eaten straight handfuls of raw cacao beans at a time. it’s quite interesting that there’s such a huge case that’s been made when i’ve met people who have straight fasted on cacao for days and had a wonderful experience. so anyway… not everything is for everybody. cacao definitely works for me. i also don’t in any way or have ever felt addicted to it. i’ll go for days without even thinking about it. peace and love everyone!

  • Hm… gaverswins, that is really interesting that you can eat pure cacao.

    It seems to me like cacao is pretty inedible unless mixed with sweeteners etc. Which is a BIG sign that we should not consume it. However, I eat it anyways :o) and I’ve never experienced any effects. I think that because people are very divided on this subject we should not make an absolute claim like “cacao is poison” until we have more scientific research… and even then, research is often controversial!

    PS> I have to agree with you girls, I almost drooled looking at the farmer!!

  • RawJim -
    So we agree to disagree (especially about the farmer ;) Its controversial topics like these that we really need to have respect for each other’s points of views. I really bugs me when “raw gurus” get up and make absolute claims about superfoods (including cacao), high fat diets, etc. It’s detrimental to the raw food movement when we bicker about who is right, instead of unite under a common goal….

    That said, I still think you’re weird for eating unsweetened cacao, ew. LOL, just messing with you.

  • poemommpoemomm Raw Newbie

    I love ‘raw’ cacao. Eating it plain doesn’t cause any negative side effects for me..

    That said, eating it sweetened makes me very sick.I've tried it a million ways and I get sick every time.
  • I bought some raw cacao nibs for the first time – online – and they came in last week. Yesterday I used some for the first time. When I woke up yesterday I was dragging – I had not had a good night’s sleep, had slept wrong and had a kink in my neck. I thought I was going to just relax and have a nice afternoon nap. First I decided to try out the cacao nibs in a smoothie. About 20 minutes after drinking it, my neck kink was gone and I had a major energy burst. I cleaned out closets and drawers and was quite alert. Was this the caffeine or some additional quality in raw REAL cacao? I was NOT jittery like a normal caffeine high. I had no after-crash and felt just fine today. Still, cacao will be an occasional treat for me unless I see something compelling that convinces me to do otherwise.

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