Is Cocoa Low Carb?
Low Carb Cocoa – Keto-Friendly and Delicious!
Cocoa powder is one of the main ingredients used to make chocolate. Whilst most chocolates are high in sugar and calories, cocoa has its fair share of health benefits. Cocoa powder is unsweetened, naturally sugar-free, and high in antioxidants. It’s a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth without the unwanted sugars and fats!
Cocoa is super versatile and caters to many different diets – vegan, keto, gluten-free, just to name a few. Let’s discover the health benefits of low-carb cocoa and the difference between cocoa and cacao!
What is Cocoa?
Cocoa powder is an unsweetened powder made from roasted, husked, and dried cacao beans (cocoa solids). The Latin name for cacao beans, Theobroma cacao, means “Food of the Gods”, and are pods filled with sweet pulp and 20-40 cacao seeds.
Cocoa is produced by grinding cacao beans and pressing out the cocoa butter. The resulting powder is low in fat but has an intense slightly bitter chocolate taste, similar to dark chocolate. It is most commonly used in baked goods, where it is mixed with sugar and other fats, like butter or coconut oil.
Cocoa powder is suitable for a vegan, ketogenic and gluten-free diet! Please note that we are strictly talking about pure cocoa powder as other chocolate-related products may include gluten – check the labels carefully.
What are the benefits of Cocoa?
In this section, we will discuss the benefits of cocoa. Considering the nutritional value of cocoa, it is low carb (3g per 1Tbsp!) and very high in antioxidants including polyphenols. Polyphenols are a type of plant compound that boasts a variety of health benefits. These can be found in other foods like blueberries and tea.
Cocoa is known to contain high levels of polyphenols, especially flavonoids and phenylethylamine. These plant compounds have antioxidant properties which keep you healthy and protected against various diseases.
Cocoa is also rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, copper, and manganese. It is also a good source of selenium, potassium, and zinc while providing the body with protein and dietary fibres. In addition to this, the cholesterol content in it is almost negligible. Let’s take a closer look at the associated health benefits.
Improves Brain Health
Scientists have suggested that flavonoid-rich cocoa may aid in maintaining a healthy brain. These neuroprotective benefits could also have favourable effects on learning and memory functions. The findings have advocated that the consumption of cocoa-based products enhances the flow of blood to the brain and have provided evidence of the therapeutical potential for curing vascular disorders.
Studies also suggest that cocoa can promote normal aging of the brain and reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. This is due to the polyphenols which help prevent oxidative stress from damaging neurons and molecules in the brain.
The consumption of cocoa has been shown to be effective in improving insulin resistance and glucose metabolism. This, in turn, aids in regulating sugar levels in the body. Unsweetened cocoa powder contains virtually no sugar, making it a great option to satisfy your sweet tooth without the excessive amount of sugar and carbs.
Cocoa helps to regulate energy levels and metabolism while increasing feelings of satiety. A study has shown the potential benefits of cocoa in preventing high-fat-diet-induced obesity. Its intake helps in modulating lipid metabolism and reducing the synthesis and transport of fatty acids. It has also demonstrated an improvement in thermogenesis, the mechanism of heat production in white adipose tissues and the liver.
Consuming cocoa has shown antidepressant-like effects on certain physiological processes. Studies have shown that its flavonoids help to enhance mood, combat depression, and promote improved cognitive activities during persistent mental exertion. The presence of the neurochemical phenylethylamine in it also helps in enhancing feelings of contentment and promoting aphrodisiac effects!
What products do we use Cocoa in?
Cocoa powder is very common in baking, adding a deep chocolate flavour to any sweet delight you’re dreaming of...brownie, biscuits, chocolate cake. We love using this in our products too and our cocoa is processed in the world’s chocolate capital – The Netherlands! Our Dutch-processed cocoa is low carb, gluten-free, vegan friendly, and keto-friendly.
If you have any questions regarding any of these products, simply contact us via our online form, call us on 02 9558 3300, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is the difference between Cacao and Cocoa?
Great question! Cocoa powder is an unsweetened powder produced by grinding cacao beans and pressing out the cocoa butter. Cacao refers to cacao beans that have not been roasted, while cocoa is processed at a much higher temperature. Simply, the difference between cocoa powder and cacao powder lies in the heat at which they are made.
Cacao is basically the “raw” form of cocoa beans and can come as raw cacao powder or as cacao nibs. It is considered a rich source of polyphenols which aids in digestion, brain function, and blood sugar levels. It also has more antioxidant properties than tea!
Is Cocoa suitable for a Keto diet?
Simple answer: YES! Similar to dark chocolate, cocoa is definitely keto-friendly. Cocoa powder is very low in carbs and a great way to make your desserts chocolatey and indulgent. Read the labels carefully and make sure you purchase a cocoa powder that is sugar-free and unsweetened. This is to ensure you’re getting all the nutritional benefits without unwanted sugars and carbs. Cocoa powder can be used in brownies, cookies, protein balls, hot chocolate, and more. The possibilities are endless!
Want to find more Low Carb ingredients?
One of the greatest pleasures in life is indulging in something sweet. Cocoa is a great low-carb ingredient for your baking creations. Cocoa offers a rich chocolatey flavour without excessive sugar and carbs. We’ve explored the numerous health benefits associated with cocoa that many may not know about. The good news is…there’s more! This is just one part of our ingredient series committed to telling you about the best low-carb ingredients for your body – read below for more.
Stevia is a natural sugar substitute with zero calories, but 200 times sweeter than sugar. A little goes a long way with this! Stevia is commonly used to manage diabetes and obesity, with studies indicating that stevia lowers blood sugar and insulin levels compared to regular sugar.
Chicory Root Fibre
Chicory root fibre is a low carb, fibre-rich food with high levels of inulin (soluble fibre). It has been associated with good digestive health and reducing inflammation. With a rich slightly bitter taste, chicory root is popular as a coffee alternative. If you’re looking for a caffeine-free beverage with bonus health benefits, this one’s for you!
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