Best source of epicatchin: dark chocolate or cocoa powder?

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Hi there,

I recently had a consultation here in the UK with a ME specialist named Dr Bansal. Amongst other supplements he has recommended, he recommends "small regular amounts of 90% cocoa chocolate" in order to to get the benefits of the flavanol epicatchin.

Because I'm aware the Stanford ME/CFS Initiative also recommends this, I am keen to add it to my daily nutrition. But I'm wondering if, instead, I can drink one hot cocoa drink (1 teaspoon of cocoa powder + oat milk to make the paste) a day and get the same benefit? I think that would work out more cost-effective for me...

I have been unable to find any solid information about the amount of epicatchin in one small serving of dark chocolate versus 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Has anyone come across any testing for this? Is dark chocolate a more effective delivery method than cocoa powder? And out of interest, what do you think would qualify as a "small regular amount"??

Thanks



References
1. 'The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance' (2013) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575938/
2. 'Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease' (2011) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4696435/
 

hapl808

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That's interesting. I always eat around 50g per day of 80%-90% dark chocolate which I think is a decent amount. I never knew it was a formal recommendation from some specialists. I'm not sure if weight would be comparable but this seems to show it's maybe doubled. Also recommends green tea which I drink every day and highly recommend if one can find real quality green tea and not the teabag version from the supermarket.
 
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But I'm wondering if, instead, I can drink one hot cocoa drink
Cocoa powder, even the dark chocolate cocoa powder I use in my weak coffee, is no where near 90%, which is practically chocolate liquor and very bitter. Chocolate liquor isnt an alcoholic beverage, it's the first press of the cocoa bean ....

You might want to try someone like Ghirardelli Chocolate, which offers a selecion of small, pressed dark chocolates ranging from 60% to 90%. They're not cheap, but they're not outrageously expensive either, and their taste is pretty decent ....
 
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That's interesting. I always eat around 50g per day of 80%-90% dark chocolate which I think is a decent amount. I never knew it was a formal recommendation from some specialists. I'm not sure if weight would be comparable but this seems to show it's maybe doubled. Also recommends green tea which I drink every day and highly recommend if one can find real quality green tea and not the teabag version from the supermarket.
Thanks. Unfortunately I can't drink green tea because I am sensitive to caffeine :confused:
 

pamojja

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I have been unable to find any solid information about the amount of epicatchin in one small serving of dark chocolate versus 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Has anyone come across any testing for this?
Here: http://phenol-explorer.eu/contents/polyphenol/125 - about double the amount of epicatechin in pure cocoa powder than dark chocolate. Usually much more in powder (or chocolate) if not duched with an alkalizing agent.

Cocoa powder, even the dark chocolate cocoa powder I use in my weak coffee, is no where near 90%, which is practically chocolate liquor and very bitter.
Cocoa powder only has cocoa butter removed, and therefore is 100% cocoa. 90% dark chocolate on the other hand has variying degrees of cocoa butter added again, and included into the alledgedly 90% of cocoa.

However, cocoa butter doesn't contain epicatechin. therefore in comparison to pure cocoa powder you have to subtract the fat portion of the ingredients list again, to arrive how much real percentage of cocoa (with an epigalochatechin content) it contains.

For example 100g 90% Lindt contains 55g fats, 14g carbohydrates and 10g protein. So after subtracting from 90g - 55g of fats, actually only 35% cocoa with epicatechin remains. Always worth checking the fat content of 'dark chocolate', because most of it might be just cocoa butter, and much differrence between different brands.

85% Lindt contains 47% fats, therefore with only 33% cocoa (with epicatechin) not that much different from the 90%.


PS: cocoa powder too is not completely free from fat, but usually at 14%, the fat-reduced at about 11%. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_solids Therefore even with cocoa powder the epicatechin containing content goes only to 89% at the max.

I use both at about 20g each day. Looking for cost-effective epicatechin content, simple cocoa powder can't be beaten by dark chocolate.
 
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Thanks. Unfortunately I can't drink green tea because I am sensitive to caffeine
Is There Caffeine in Cocoa Powder?
The amount of caffeine in cocoa powder is more of an afterthought, as you're likely focused on the powder's appealing smell and palate-pleasing uses. However, cocoa powder does contain a notable amount of caffeine.

The USDA states that 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces, of (unsweetened) cocoa powder contains 230 milligrams of caffeine. If you have a caffeine sensitivity, the caffeine in cocoa powder is a figure to keep in mind.
 
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@IThinkImTurningJapanese


You beat me to it .... chocolate is a not-inconsiderable source of caffeine, and the darker the chocolate, the more the caffeine. On the other hand , it contains a multitude of constituents which may reduce the effects of caffeine, making it friendlier to those who are caffeine-sensitive. Hard to know ...[/QUOTE]
Thanks. Unfortunately I can't drink green tea because I am sensitive to caffeine :confused:
 
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PS: cocoa powder too is not completely free from fat, but usually at 14%, the fat-reduced at about 11%. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_solids Therefore even with cocoa powder the epicatechin containing content goes only to 89% at the max.
I'm getting the impression that you're referencing cacao powder rather than the standard cocoa powder, which I think is what @daveu may be inquiring about.

Regular cocoa powder used for baking and hot chocolate generally can have as little as 54% cacao or as much as 65%. Neither amount is optimal for any hoped-for health benefits. The calculation is between the amount of sugar used in the product, since usually very little cocoa butter, which has become an expensive commodity and is often replaced with fats from soy or other sources, is used. The higher the amount of sugar, the less the cacao ....
 
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Out of interest, do you know what % cocoa powder typically is though? (Although maybe it varies massively between brands...)
You'll probably have to figure that out based on the inredients list on your particular product.

You're right .... it would vary, possibly widely, depending on whether or not it's dutched (treated with alkali to mellow and soften the flavor profile while deepening the color and chocolatey taste, but it also reduces the amount of available flavenols and catechins, etc), how the cocoa beans were roasted, how much raw cacao is actually in it ..... the list gets long ....

But as I said in a post above this one, if it's labeled as 'Dark Chocolate Cocoa', its probably at least 60, possibly even 70%.

Usually, the more expensive it is, the better the odds of a higher count, unfortunately ....
 

pamojja

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I'm getting the impression that you're referencing cacao powder rather than the standard cocoa powder, which I think is what @daveu may be inquiring about.
I'm referencing to pure cocoa powder the phenol explorer gives the epicatechin content, and of which @daveu inquired about. Not about cocoa powder with added sugar at all. Wouldn't make any sense, since the reduction of added sugar is the very purpose of dark chocolate. And replacing it with industrially refined cocoa with up to half as added sugar wouldn't make any sense in this context at all.

if it's labeled as 'Dark Chocolate Cocoa', its probably at least 60, possibly even 70%.
And if one is after the cocoa content of epicatechins one has to subtract the fat content (which doesn't contain any epicatechins). Lowering it to only 30-40% again.

Therefore in line of how to get the most epcatechins from cocoa pruducts, pure cocoa powder will have at least provide double the epicatechin than dark chocolate. At half the price. For sweetening I would use only stevia extract, never sugar.
 
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I'm referencing to pure cocoa powder
So you're referencing cacao powder?
Not about cocoa powder with added sugar at all.
Most decent quality cocoa powders sold in the US and intended for making good quality hot chocolate or some varieties of baking, have no sugar added.


I often use Droste's or Guittards, depending on my preference in that moment and which might be on sale ...

We need to compare apples to apples here, otherwise it's confusing and even misleading. So for the purposes of what's left of my sanity, I'm assuming you're talking about cacao powder, while I think ((tho I'm not sure) @daveu and I are talking about regular cocoa powder. There's a world of diff ....
 

pamojja

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So you're referencing cacao powder?
Not at all. Phenol explorer uses 'cocoa powder', wikipedia uses 'cocoa solids'. So I'm consistent in the use of the word cocoa. I don't talk about cacao powder (which seems the spanish translation of cocoa, in german we only have 1 word: Kakao).

We need to compare apples to apples here, otherwise it's confusing and even misleading. @daveu and I are talking about regular cocoa powder. There's a world of diff ....
I never talked about sugared cocoa powder, nor milk-chocolate, which would be really comparing apples to apples. And dark chocolate to additive-free pure cocoa powder. Confusing these would indeed be comparing apples to pears. You brought in this confusion by suddenly comparing a chocolate product which minimizes sugar, to a cocoa powder product which maximises its sugar content.

And that in the context of maximizing the epicatechin intake per weight - does create of course a lot of confusion - but makes absolutely no sense. In the context this question was asked to begin with.
 
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We're still working at cross-purposes. possible due to language differences ....
Not at all. Phenol explorer uses 'cocoa powder', wikipedia uses 'cocoa solids'.
Cocoa powder usually, at least in the US, references a wide range of powders, from the instant cocoa mixes like 'Swiss Miss', to the better Hershey's to Guittard's etc. All are fully refined and specifically purposed products made from cacao beans, which is what cocoa is called in its raw state, both before and after fermentation and roasting, after which it's generally refered to as 'cocoa'.
I never talked about sugared cocoa powder, nor milk-chocolate,
Nor did I. Sugared cocoa powder is disgusting (see the reference to instant cocoa mixes like 'Swiss Miss', above, altho in fairness there are newer, 'hipper' instant cocoa products on the market now that are supposed to taste a lot better, but loaded with sugar).

And I don't regard milk 'chocolate' as chocolate and am baffled by why anybody buys it. Milk chocolate is almost entirely composed of sugar and dried milk solids, and if you can detect any real chocolate taste in them, then your super power is apparently housed in your taste buds.
cacao powder (which seems the spanish translation of cocoa, in german we only have 1 word: Kakao).
No, it's derived phonetically from a Mayan word, kakawa, and was believed by the Mayans, who deeply loved their chocolate, to have been given to them by their most powerful god, Kukulkan ...

In modern parlance, at least in English speaking countries and most of the Spanish and Portuquese-speaking Americas, 'cacao' refers to the minimally processed bean or the raw bean itself, while 'cocoa' refers to everything downstream from that, from the cocoa drink to the Mars bar, to Godiva and Valrhona and everything in between.
And that in the context of maximizing the epicatechin intake per weight - does create of course a lot of confusion - but makes absolutely no sense. In the context this question was asked to begin with.
That wasn;t my understanding of @daveu 's question, tho I agree about the confusion and am having some difficulty figuring out what you mean in the above quote. By weight of what or who? Amount per kg of body weight? I think he just wantd to figure out what the average serving of processed cocoa, like Hershey's or Droste's, etc, versus a bar of dark chocolate contained by way epicatechin, flavenols, general anthocyanidins, etc ... at least that's what I got from it, tho at this point I'm not really sure about anything anymore ....

Here's @daveu 's original question (and I'm guessing that he may be sorry he asked)
I have been unable to find any solid information about the amount of epicatchin in one small serving of dark chocolate versus 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder. Has anyone come across any testing for this? Is dark chocolate a more effective delivery method than cocoa powder? And out of interest, what do you think would qualify as a "small regular amount"??
In response to what might constitute a "....small regular amount ...." I think you'd be safe guessing it to be about 100 gms ... that's 3 1/3 ounces, roughly, a depressingly small amount when you're talking about chocolate ... ....

I don't talk about cacao powder
At this point, I'm totally confused about what you are talking about, and my best efforts to get clarification have only yielded more confusion .... it's been that kind of a day ....

I totally give the fluck up :xeyes::xeyes::xeyes: ...
 

katabasis

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I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned green tea extract yet. It's pretty widely available and is a purified form of polyphenols from green tea, which is usually mostly EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate). Unlike green tea itself, these extracts usually have little to no caffeine, and indeed there are brands that specifically advertise being caffeine free. I myself am very caffeine sensitive and have had no issues taking green tea extract.
 
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I'm a little surprised no one has mentioned green tea extract yet.
It was mentioned by @daveu close to the start of this thread, and then several times thereafter, tho not at any depth since this thread is mostly about chocolate and it's beneficial constituents, and which form provides the most of that, and the most reliable sources of them:
Thanks. Unfortunately I can't drink green tea because I am sensitive to caffeine :confused: