September 19

What makes chocolate unhealthy and toxic for your body (even raw!)

“Raw chocolate tastes like …love! It is “the food of the gods”! It is the ultimate superfood!”


However, is it?


You will hear that raw chocolate is packed full of minerals, such as magnesium, iron, copper, zinc and also flavonoids that are supposed to help deal with any damaging free-radicals in your body.


With all these wonderful nutrients and their seemingly great benefits you would think that it is some kind of wonder food. Yet, it isn’t. 




Many people find it hard to understand that a ‘food’ which seems to offer so many wonderful, health promoting nutrients could actually be harmful to the human body.


What actually is in the cacao bean and raw chocolate that could possibly do you harm?


In both the raw and roasted state, the cacoa/cocoa bean has an unpleasant taste due to the presence of a number of alkaloids, which include theobromine.


This alkaloid is very similar to caffeine and is a known toxin for dogs, cats and other pets.


With chocolate being a stimulant, when it enters your body, it makes your adrenal glands go into what is called the fight or flight mode, and they begin to produce stress hormones.


This is because anything that is a stimulant is interpreted by your body as being an invader (toxic substance) and so a threat to its well-being. So your body naturally wants to try and expel this foreign and unwanted/toxic substance as quickly as it can!


Just as with the caffeine found in coffee, after experiencing the so called “high”, your body will eventually hit a low because it would have expended a good deal of energy in its attempt to try and rid itself of this toxic substance. This natural reaction to eating raw chocolate will fatigue your adrenal glands and thus impact negatively on your health.


When we both switched to a raw vegan plan, we stopped eating chocolate. We did try it at parties in the beginning a couple of times and we did not feel good so we soon decided to stop eating it. It’s been around 5 years since we last tried chocolate.


Raw chocolate contains the alkaloid called theobromine, and this is how it can affect your body:

  • Theobromine, which is an alkaloid found in cacao does have an impact on the human central nervous system, smaller yet similar to caffeine and also stimulates the heart to a greater degree.(1,2)
  • Theobromine has been cited as potentially causing addiction to chocolate (3)
  • Theobromine can also cause restlessness, sleeplessness, tremors and anxiety. (4)

So, the health gurus and sellers who want to promote their raw chocolate/cacoa products will tell you it can help you stay healthy, fight off diseases such as cancer, deal with free radicals and do all sorts of amazing things …

Well, they are not going to promote your health!


If you fancy that ‘chocolate taste’, then you can use raw carob powder as a great tasting alternative. A safe and non-stimulating substance, it is derived from a fruit and tastes very similar to chocolate and is scrumptious with smoothies and desserts.


What are your thoughts on this? Please share below!




(1) Joel Hardman & Lee Limbird, ed. (2001). Goodman & Gilman’s the pharmacological basis of therapeutics, 10th ed.. New York: McGraw-Hill. p. 745.

(2)  Howell, L.L., Coffin, V.L., Spealman, R.D. Behavorial and physiological effects of xanthines in nonhuman primates (1997) Psychopharmacology, 129 (1), pp. 1-14.

(3) William Gervase Clarence-Smith (2000). Cocoa and Chocolate, 1765–1914. London: Routledge. pp. 10, 31.

(4) Irwin J. Polk (1997). All about Asthma: Stop Suffering and Start Living. New York: Insight Books. p. 100.

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6 Responses to What makes chocolate unhealthy and toxic for your body (even raw!)

  1. Bill Kranker says:

    Paul and Yulia,

    I had the same problems with chocolate as well. I used to love eating it especially the dark varieties with high cocoa levels.

    Needless to say I do not miss it.

    Great article!


  2. Hi
    Thanks for sharing your eperience.
    With all due respect, you are obviously both very sensitive to the alkaloids in cacao. Not everyone has the same sensitivity levels. Yes it is a mild stimulant. Yes it has high antioxidant properties, no it is not a "food" in the way fruit & veg are (i.e., it is not a staple). Many people can continue to enjoy a small raw chocolate treat without serious issues. If anyone has issues with any food not agreeing with them, no matter what it is, they should discontinue consuming it.

    • Rawsomehealthy says:

      Miriam, thank you for your contribution. Toxin is still a toxin in any quantity. Indeed, it may not cause reactions for some people if they have it on a rare occasion, however the question is – can toxin-forming food be considered a “treat”?

  3. Aspasia says:

    Hi! I read this post, and then I read this:
    Everybody has an opinion. Hence, each person will define "toxins" in their own way. In the end-each person to his/her own after reading, listening, and analyzing. I have read the positive effects that Theobromine has to offer. I read them as positive (another person could read them as negative). No matter. I happen to agree with Miriam. Hence, I will continue to have my cacao bean once in a while, respecting it, as all things in all quantities (I believe) should. And my answer to the final question—-yes. I am labelling the cacao bean as my "little treat"

  4. GetReal says:

    Some people can tolerate chocolate, but for those of us who can’t, it’s an addictive drug that’s as bad as heroin. It can cause mood swings, rage, violent thoughts, paranoia, severe depression, anxiety, and nightmares.

    I’ve gotten to the point where I can walk past an entire aisle filled top to bottom with chocolate products, and not touch a thing, because I’m thinking “poison, poison, poison”. My next battle is doing the same thing with ALL sugar products.

  5. Anita M says:

    I’m a chocoholic, and a raw vegan most to the time. Whenever I fall for the chocolate, I feel bad, get moodswing, angry depressed etc. Then I can stay off it for a while, until the next time…
    Feel I have to do some emotional work to be clean from it.
    Thanks for the article!