Have you been depriving yourself of chocolate because you’re trying to lose weight, feel better, and eat Bulletproof? Or maybe you’ve noticed that some expensive chocolate bars taste great but then you crash and feel jittery later. Or maybe you’ve had a lifelong love affair with dark chocolate like me.
Upgraded Chocolate Powder and Upgraded Cacao Butter are designed to be the highest quality chocolate products in existence. Where your chocolate comes from and how it’s created determine everything about how it will make you feel.
Eating dark chocolate has tons of benefits. People who eat high quality chocolate have lower markers of inflammation than those who eat regular chocolate (1). And people who consume the highest amounts of dark chocolate are 37% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, and 27% less likely to suffer a stroke (2).
But there are risks. All chocolate is produced by fermentation, and 80% of South American chocolate sampled recently had mold contamination (3). 64% of the microbes that ferment chocolate create toxins called mycotoxins (4). These toxins make you feel weak, sick, and lethargic even at so-called “safe” levels approved for commodity chocolate.
For regular chocolate, the health benefits don’t outweigh the risks.
That’s why we made Upgraded Chocolate Powder and Upgraded Cacao Butter using an optimized process to create chocolate without the toxins that make chocolate such a common source of problems.
We start with rare, wild, hand-harvested South American cacao beans from a single small region at high elevation with rich volcanic soil. High elevations reduce the amount of mold in the environment. The trees are watered with pollution-free mountain stream water. We selected a heritage cacao species in the Arriba family from decades-old trees, some as old as 75 years. At no time do we use aggregators or wholesalers so there is no chance of low-quality hybrid species of cacao entering our supply chain. Experienced craftsmen harvest the ripe cacao pods and bring them to the nearby dedicated processing facility.
Unfermented chocolate is not edible, so we do ferment the chocolate. Our high altitude state of the art closed facility and single-source beans allow a short fermentation process with far less exposure to the types of toxic mold found in more humid African chocolate processing methods.
We maintain the delicate flavors and oils by quickly sun-drying the still-raw beans in mountain air. Then we grind the beans into a fine powder on custom artisan equipment dedicated exclusively to our chocolate. The beans are 100% organic, wild, kosher, and exceed fair trade standards (they’re also vegan, if you care).
Upgraded Chocolate processing keeps 86% more beneficial compounds
Most chocolate products are processed using alkalization, spray/gas drying, and harsh solvents. Harsh processing can decrease the beneficial compounds in chocolate powder by 86-89% (5).
By gently harvesting the pods, keeping them raw, and using artisan equipment to crush the beans, Upgraded Chocolate products retain the antioxidant quality of chocolate all the way from the wilderness to your mouth.
The quality and flavor of chocolate is impacted by the fermentation and processing methods. Normally, there is very little control over what bacteria ferment the cocoa, which often produces unwanted flavors and bad batches (6).
Upgraded Chocolate products avoid this problem by using a dedicated, closed, single-source facility at high altitude in South America with a short fermentation process. There are simply fewer opportunities for the bad molds to enter the process. We store the beans in a climate-controlled facility.
The way cocoa beans are stored has a large impact on the different kinds of mold and fungi present on the beans (7). Improper storage, which is common in commodity beans, increases fungi levels (8).
Why you should care about mycotoxins in your chocolate
There is good reason to believe that much of the world’s chocolate supply is contaminated with high levels of mold toxins.
A study in Brazil found that 98% of the regular brands of powdered, bitter, dark, milk and white chocolate were contaminated with ochratoxin A. 80% of all samples were tainted with some form of mold toxin. Powdered, bitter, and dark chocolate was higher in mycotoxins than most other forms, with powdered chocolate having the most. They were all especially high in aflatoxin and ochratoxin (9).
The problem starts because cacao trees are often infected with fungi and molds (10).
Roasting moldy beans destroys almost all of the actual fungi, but it doesn’t destroy all of the toxins already produced by the fungi (if it did, I wouldn’t have needed to create Upgraded Chocolate!) (11).
Ochratoxin A in Chocolate (12):
Powdered Chocolate = 0.39 micrograms per kilogram
Bitter Chocolate = 0.34 micrograms per kilogram
Dark Chocolate = 0.31 micrograms per kilogram.
Aflatoxin in Chocolate (12):
Powdered Chocolate = 0.53
Bitter Chocolate = 0.66
Dark Chocolate = 0.43
The safe upper limit of ochratoxin A is around 4-5 ng/kg of body weight per day, although it can be as low as 0.2 ng/kg per day according to different estimates from animal research. Most sources also urge ochratoxin A exposure be reduced to the bare minimum (13). According to the USDA, no food for human consumption should have more than 20 parts per billion of aflatoxin (14). If a 150-pound person were to eat 60 grams of average chocolate contaminated with ochratoxin A, they would have consumed 15% of their total daily limit of ochratoxin A, and 26% of their total daily limit of aflatoxin.
Another study found processed cocoa to contain 48 ng/g of ochratoxin A (15). If a 150-pound person were to eat 60 grams of this highly contaminated chocolate, they would be consuming 42 times the safe upper limit of ochratoxin A.
All of these estimates are assuming you aren’t exposed to any other forms of mold during the day. Mold is found in all sorts of foods, and even in your environment, which is why it’s important to limit your exposure to mold as much as possible. These numbers are also based on the current “safe” upper limit of mold exposure, which isn’t necessarily a good standard for people who want to do everything possible to perform their best. The Bulletproof stance is to limit these toxins to the bare minimum.
The science is very clear: commodity cocoa beans processed in sub optimal conditions are often high in mold toxins. Upgraded Chocolate Powder and Cacao Butter use only the finest production methods to minimize mold and fungi formation to keep your mind and body sharp.
You may be wondering, “why not just eat milk chocolate and white chocolate if they’re lower in mycotoxins?” The answer is that they’re also devoid of almost any of chocolate’s health benefit, and they still have more toxins than Upgraded Chocolate products.
Upgraded Cacao Butter is the perfect companion to Upgraded Chocolate Powder
Upgraded Cacao Butter is harvested in the same way from the same trees as Upgraded Chocolate Powder. It’s never heated, so it’s a completely raw food (and yes, it’s even vegan).
Not only does Upgraded Cacao Butter taste amazing, it has the kind of fats that make you healthier. 61% of the fats in Upgraded Cacao Butter are the safe, saturated kind that do not oxidize easily. Only 4% of the fats are the easily damaged polyunsaturated kind, but these are protected by the antioxidants in chocolate. The remaining 35% of fat is monounsaturated fat, the kind found mostly in olives and avocados.
33% of the fat in Upgraded Cacao Butter is a healthy fat called stearic acid. Stearic acid decreases your risk of thrombotic injury and improves blood lipids (16). Stearic acid also improves your total cholesterol to HDL ratio a tiny bit (17).
32% of the fat in Upgraded Cacao Butter is oleic acid, which is believed to reduce blood pressure (18).
Upgraded Cacao Butter is also a good source of vitamin K (19).
Upgraded Cacao Butter is filled with safe, healing fats that protect your body from inflammation and shield your organs from damage.
Upgraded Chocolate Powder + Upgraded Cacao Butter = Upgraded Chocolate
You can mix Upgraded Chocolate Powder and Upgraded Cacao Butter together at very low heat to make your own Bulletproof Chocolate bars or even fudge. The more powder you add, the more it resembles chocolate. The more Cacao Butter you add, the more it resembles fudge. To create that irresistible creamy flavor, we recommend adding Upgraded Vanilla, and if you’d like it sweet, you can add erythritol or raw honey to taste.
To make delicious hot chocolate, blend Upgraded Chocolate Powder and Upgraded Cacao Butter in 1-2 cups hot water with erythritol or raw honey and grass-fed butter or ghee, or coconut cream.
Last but not least, you have not truly lived until you’ve blended Upgraded Cacao Butter into your morning cup of Bulletproof Coffee. It adds a delectable hint of satisfying chocolate taste—and if you want a full-fledged mocha, you can blend in some Upgraded Chocolate Powder, too.
5. http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/j0f728754, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18710243
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21838556, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15462126, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17277227, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21926224, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22349177
10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21036333, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20943510, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20943565, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22208598, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22385617,
11. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21925035, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22327588
13. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2692617, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1820347, http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/25562389?uid=3739936&uid=2129&uid=2&uid=70&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=47698995983097, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2692617
17. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16477803, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16155261