Home > Dessert, Research > Day 35 – What about chocolate?

Day 35 – What about chocolate?

I realized that I’ve used quite a few recipes with chocolate over the last month, and since this blog is meant to be about our journey on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I think it’s time I finally address why I do it despite it being an illegal food.

According to SCD website legal food list:

Cocoa Powder – Dr. Haas advised not to use cocoa or chocolate and this still goes, it isn’t just the sugar he was worried about.

According to SCDiet.org,

Why is chocolate illegal on the SCD?

The chemistry of chocolate (which is cocoa) is connected in a biochemical way to cocaine. Dr. Haas said “no chocolate”. It is addictive; perhaps it is because one of the physiological effects of cocoa is “local anathesia”.

According to the Pecan Bread site:


Elaine wrote this about chocolate:
Chocolate is made from coca which has a a complicated effect on our physiology. Of course, cocaine comes from the same source. We were told by Dr. Haas not to use it nor carob so I am sorry, but it may not feed bad bugs, but it still is not allowed.

At another time, Elaine wrote:
The chemistry of chocolate which is cocoa which is connected in a biochemical way to cocaine. It is addictive; perhaps it is because one of the physiological effects of cocoa is “local anathesia”.

Pecanbread Update:

Chocolate also contains ingredients which can suppress your immune system, such as metylxantil and small amounts of caffeine.

The high arginine content of chocolate gives fuel to the reproduction of certain viruses. Arginine has been shown to be an essential requirement for the replication of certain viruses.

Why are viruses so destructive? They may cause schizophrenia and autism.

According to this website, http://www.rain-tree.com/chocolate.htm,  cocoa contains saccharose. Saccharose is another name for sucrose, a disaccharide.

Cocoa also contains salsolinol, a chemical that makes people crave cocoa.

In the presence of external chocolate cues, chocolate addicts were more aroused, reported greater cravings, experienced more negative affect, and also ate more chocolate than control subjects. Self-report measures on eating attitudes and behavior, body image, and depression confirmed that a relationship exists between chocolate addiction and problem eating. Chocolate addicts showed more aberrant eating behaviors and attitudes than controls, and were also significantly more depressed.

My thoughts:

I find Elaine and Dr. Haas’ beliefs about chocolate and cocoa to be outdated. More current research on chocolate shows it has several health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties. See the information below.

In terms of the statement from the pecan bread site that cocoa contains saccharose, I haven’t been able to confirm this information anywhere but the one site listed. Admittedly the chemical make up of chocolate is complex, so I’m not 100% sure it’s free of the carbs avoided on the SCD. However, since there is no compelling evidence that cocoa causes problems in the gut, and it’s an important food to John and myself, we’ve decided to assume the risk (if any). If things take a turn for the worst, then it will certainly be something to cut out.

From Live Science Magazine:

Many previous studies have linked eating chocolate with health benefits, including:

* A 2008 study found that people who ate a small amount of dark chocolate a day (about 6.7 grams) had lower levels of a protein that is associated with inflammation in their blood.
* Other recent studies have found that blood platelets clump together more slowly in chocolate eaters. Clumping platelets can lead to the formation of blood clots, which in turn can cause a heart attack. Chocolate consumption may lower blood pressure, help prevent formation of artery plaques and improve blood flow, according to other research.
* Eating chocolate may even help with math, or at least counting. A study reported in 2009 showed that people did a better job of counting backwards in groups of three after they had consumed a hot cocoa drink containing large amounts of a compound found in chocolate. These compounds, called flavonoids, which we’ll get to later, may increase blood flow to the brain.
* Chocolate may also have anti-cancer benefits because flavonoids may help reduce the cell damage that can spur tumor growth.

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  1. john
    February 11, 2011 at 2:23 am

    a couple things i found when reading about the chemistry of chocolate…

    regarding the statement made on the PecanBread site, if the metylxantil (also known as theobromine) suppresses the immune system, isn’t it possibly helpful to those with auto-immune disorders? That’s what some of the crazy medications they wanted me to take were – immune suppressors. maybe this is a natural way to chill your immune system a touch? Theobromine has also been shown to work as a cough suppressant – similar to or better than codeine. I’ve tried this in the past and actually seemed to work – though you do have to ingest a butt-load of commercial chocolate to get that kind of potency. something like 60 grams! i’m sure some peeps wouldn’t find that a problem though – heh!

    anyway, the science behind it says the theobromine helps calm the Vagus Nerve, which is the nerve that makes you cough when it gets all tickled – like after you’ve had a cold but the cough hangs on – or when you choke on something spicy. Interestingly – and maybe a strike against chocolate for us UC’ers – some research has shown that STIMULATION of the Vagus nerve can help reduce inflammation in the body by producing cytokines – chemicals similar to that of medications like Remicade. so, depending on how true this is, chocolate might be fiddling with the body’s anti-inflammatory helpers (gonna have to look into that more). however, in other research it seems like an overactive Vagus nerve can trigger an inflammatory response in the gut and secrete neurotransmitters like serotonin, causing cramping and diarrhea. go fig. some researchers are thinking this could be one cause for IBS. but if inflammation is triggered, perhaps it contributes to colitis or other IBD’s as well?

    also, i read that to produce chocolate from cocoa beans, the beans are laid out in the sun to dry and ferment. fermentation occurs when bacteria consume the available sugars – just like in our homemade yogurt – so i’m inclined to believe any sacchrose/sucrose is eaten up before the beans become chocolate.

    So is chocolate good or bad for us? probably like most other things, good in moderation, bad in excess. me though, i’m still not sure – i spose more chocolate testing is in order. Puddin’ Time!!

  2. Steph
    February 11, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    Thanks for posting this, Lindsay! There’s a lot of useful info here. I’m not fully convinced by Dr. Haas and Elaine’s info on chocolate either. I think cocoa powder will be the first illegal food I’ll try to bring in once I’m feeling well. A few other people whose blogs I have checked out have been able to use it with out trouble as well.

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