1.Why is Cacao associated with love? This is due to phenylethylamine (PEA), which is a chemical that is produced in our bodies when we fall in love. PEA is found in abundance in cacao.
2. Why does Cacao make us feel good? Anandamide (the bliss chemical), is released when we feel great. It is found in Cacao. Cacao contains enzyme inhibitors that decrease our bodies’ ability to breakdown anandamide. This means that, when we eat cacao, natural anandamide may stick around longer, making us feel good longer.
3. Does Cacao Contain Caffeine? Contrary to popular opinion, cacao is a poor source of caffeine. A typical sample of cacao nibs or cacao beans will yield anywhere from zero caffeine to 1,000 parts per million of caffeine (less than 1/20th of the caffeine present in coffee). In February 2008, Dr. Gabriel Cousens discovered in clinical tests on healthy people that Cacao does not elevate blood sugar in the same way as a caffeine containing food or beverage. In fact, Dr. Cousens found that cacao has less of an effect on blood sugar than nearly any other food.
4. Allergies? A recent study showed that only one out of 500 people who thought they were allergic to chocolate actually tested positive. Allergies to chocolate are quite rare. It is typically the case that the person is in fact allergic to milk and dairy products or other ingredients commonly found in chocolates. Typical highly allergic ingredients may include soy, milk, gluten or nuts. Some people can be allergic to cooked and processed chocolate but are not allergic to Raw Cacao.
5. Is Cacao fattening? There is a misperception that chocolate is fattening. In truth, the fats in cocoa butter are healthy fats. Cacao contains oleic acid, a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat, also found in olive oil that may raise good cholesterol. Also, substances found in cacao are known to help reduce appetite.
6. What is chocolate liquor and how does it differ from cacao? Chocolate liquor (called cocoa mass in Europe) is ground cocoa beans, which themselves consist of almost equal amounts of cocoa butter and dry cocoa solids (there is no alcohol in chocolate liquor). Cacao nibs are pieces of unpeeled, low fermented, Cacao beans.