- Find out what’s really in your treats.
- Avoid these common artificial additives.
- Learn how to choose chocolate wisely.
Good quality chocolate is rich in natural cacao or cocoa, which is an excellent source of healthy polyphenols, known to have an array of health benefits, associated with heart and brain health. But most mass-produced chocolate contains low levels of cocoa, plus an array of additives to watch out for!
Read on for our list of additives to avoid, especially if you’re buying Easter eggs for your kids!
Manufacturers use additives in their processes to get chocolate Easter egg shells nice and thin, to colour the sugar coatings and to make sweet centres so gooey. But are they worth it?
The problems with common food additives:
- Although Governments consider them safe at low levels, they could be allergenic for you and your children, or cause mood disturbances or hyperactivity.
- The safety assurances don’t take into account a gradual build up of these types of chemicals in the liver.
- Some additives, including artificial sweeteners, are linked to cancers and brain toxicity.
- E442 – are ammonium phosphatides, emulsifiers that improve the handling of chocolate during processing. Great for the manufacturer, but you definitely don’t need it in your diet.
- E476 – are polyglycerol esters of fatty acids that help to create thinner shells. These substances are highly processed, and offer no nutritional or health benefits.
- Soya lecithin – is another emulsifier, often used in combination with the two ‘E numbers’ above, it is a common allergen and usually genetically modified.
- Colours and flavourings are blanket terms to hide a myriad of chemicals that may be allergenic, they could also contribute to unbalanced mood and hyperactivity in children.
- Maltodextrin – is a processed starch from corn, rice or soy. It may also be produced with wheat or barley, so watch out if you’re gluten intolerant!
- Modified Maize and Tapioca Starch – are used for bulking food with very little nutritional impact. We’d rather have more of the beneficial ingredients thanks!
- Invert Sugar Syrup – has a high fructose content so it stays smooth and doesn’t crystallise, which is why it’s used in fondant centres and caramel. The bad news is it’s made in a lab, and is a liver overload in-waiting!
Healthy Easter Chocolate Tips:
High quality chocolate, in correct quantities, is proven to be good for your body and mind!
- Go organic – Many additives that Government standards allow are banned by organic standards so you’ll avoid the nasties if you stick to organic chocolate.
- Keep it simple – Chocolate eggs in a sugar shell and those with fondant or caramel centres are filled with far more additives and potentially health harming ingredients than plain old choc.
- Dark is best – Dark chocolate contains a higher concentration of cocoa, meaning more health benefits. Look for 70% cocoa or above and forget white chocolate as it contains absolutely no cocoa!
- Seek out artisan chocolate – Buying from a smaller supplier means the chocolate is not mass-produced in huge batches, so it won’t be bulked out and the flavours will be more pronounced. Yum!
- Try making your own – It’s so quick and easy! We created our own simple, dairy free, raw chocolate recipes this weekend with Organic Burst Spirulina and Chlorella for added benefits. Give it a go!
- Keep your portions sensible – A portion of 35g best quality chocolate (this is about half the size of your phone) every couple of days is ample to enjoy the benefits without causing any issues with excess sugar or fat.
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