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Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements

Flavanols in Cocoa, Cacoa, and Chocolate Products Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

See CL's picks for best dark chocolate, cocoa powder, cacao nib, and cocoa supplement based on independent tests for cocoa flavanols and contaminants. Find out which ones passed or failed our review and learn the cardiovascular, memory, blood sugar, and skin effects of flavanols.

Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review

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CL Answer

How much dark chocolate equals a tablespoon of cocoa powder?

Learn how much dark chocolate will give you the same intake of flavanols as a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

Flavanols in Dark Chocolate and Cocoa -- Dark chocolate bar and cocoa powder,

CL Answer

Is Hershey's Special Dark better than other dark chocolate bars or cocoa powders?

Find out if Hershey's Special Dark Chocolate bar is better than other dark chocolate bars or cocoa powders, including flavanol content, contamination with lead or cadmium and other tests of quality. ConsumerLab.com's answer explains.

Chocolate Bar

CL Answer

What are the health benefits of dark chocolate?

Information on the health benefits of dark chocolate, including how dark chocolate may improve heart health, decrease blood sugar levels and more. ConsumerLab.com's answer explains.

The Benefits of Dark Chocolate -- Dark chocolate, cocoa powder and stethoscope

News Release

1/23/2020

We Found the Best Dark Chocolates and Cocoas With the Least Contamination

White Plains, New York, January 23, 2020 — Dark chocolate and cocoa contain antioxidant flavanols that may be good for the heart and mind, but they can also contain high levels of the heavy metal cadmium, which is toxic to kidneys and can soften bones. Labels don't disclose levels of flavanols or cadmium, so ConsumerLab purchased and tested popular cocoa powders, bars, chips, nibs, and supplements.

News Release

7/19/2017

New Tests Reveal Whether Dark Chocolates and Cocoas Are Toxic or Healthful

White Plains, New York, July 19, 2017 — Dark chocolates and cocoa may contain dangerously high levels of the heavy metal cadmium, a kidney toxin, according to recent tests conducted by ConsumerLab.com, an independent evaluator of health and nutrition products. Often consumed for their beneficial cocoa flavanols, which ConsumerLab also measured, chocolate and cocoa products ranged from virtually zero flavanols to levels that may provide cardiovascular and cognitive benefits. The challenge is knowing which products provide potential benefits from flavanols with minimal risk from heavy metal contamination. Labels don't provide this information, but CL's findings do.

News Release

11/25/2014

You Can't Judge a Dark Chocolate Bar by Its Label, According to Tests by ConsumerLab.com -- Amounts of Cocoa Flavanols Vary Widely Among Popular Brands of Chocolate

White Plains, New York, November 25, 2014 — Which dark chocolates provide the most cocoa flavanols — natural antioxidants associated with better blood flow and memory? Recent tests by ConsumerLab.com of seven popular dark chocolate bars claiming to be 45% to 100% cocoa (or cacao) found that a typical 40 gram serving provided from 136 mg to as much as 592 mg of flavanols. Surprisingly, the "% cocoa" on labels was not a good indicator of flavanol content. Some bars claiming 85% or 90% cocoa, for example, had lower amounts of flavanols than those claiming 72%.

CL Answer

What is the difference between cocoa and cacao? Is one better than the other?

Learn about the difference between cocoa vs. cacao, including cocoa powder, cocoa extracts, cocoa liquor, and cacao nibs. Information about benefits, caffeine, theobromine in cocoa and cacoa, differences between dark chocolate and milk chocolate. ConsumerLab.com's answer explains.

Flavanols in Cocoa, Cacoa, and Chocolate Products Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

CL Answer

How much cocoa or chocolate do I need to consume in order to get a benefit?

Learn more eating chocolate and cocoa including the benefits, amounts and info on studies.

How Much Cocoa or Chocolate is Good For You -- cocoa powder in bowl, dark chocolate bar and stethoscope

CL Answer

Which dark chocolate bar has the most flavanols with the least calories?

Find out which dark chocolates are lowest in calories and contain the most flavanols, according to our lab tests.

Dark Chocolate Bar

CL Answer

How much caffeine is really in dark chocolate bars?

Just how much caffeine is really in chocolate bars? Get our test results on the caffeine content in dark chocolate and cocoa powder.

How much caffeine is really in dark chocolate bars? -- Dark chocolate

CL Answer

Is the theobromine in chocolate and cocoa good or bad for me?

Find out the benefits and risks of theobromine -- and how much is in dark chocolate.

Broken Bar of Chocolate on Pink Background

Clinical Update

11/08/2017

Dark Chocolate for Memory

Short-term studies suggest that large doses of cocoa flavanols improve certain aspects of memory and cognition. A new study suggests that long-term habitual intake of dark chocolate, which is rich in flavanols, can also help. For more information, see the "What It Does" section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review >> [Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate bars in the Review.]

CL Answer

I heard somewhere to avoid chocolate with "processed with alkali" in the ingredients. Is that true?

Learn more about cocoa processed with alkali ("dutched") and its effect on flavanols.

Chocolate Powder in Spoon

CL Answer

How much fat is there in chocolate? Is it saturated fat?

Learn more about the fat content in dark chocolate & milk chocolate, how much is saturated, and serving size.

Woman Holding Chocolate Bar

Clinical Update

11/24/2015

Cocoa for Wrinkles?

A study in older women found that drinking a high-flavanol cocoa drink each day increased skin elasticity. And while wrinkles deepened among those drinking a placebo, they stayed stable in the cocoa-drinking group. For details about the amount of cocoa consumed (and its flavanol content), as well as our tests of flavanols (and contaminants) in popular cocoa powders and chocolates, see the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>

Clinical Update

3/29/2016

Chocolate May Help Exercise

In a tasty new study, men who ate dark chocolate for several days were able to cycle somewhat further than those given a placebo (white chocolate), possibly due to the flavanols in dark chocolate -- which also appear to provide cardiovascular benefit. For details about the study and the chocolate, and ConsumerLab's tests and reviews of dark chocolates and other cocoa-based products, see the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>

Clinical Update

8/28/2018

Chocolate for the Heart?

Studies suggest cardiovascular benefits from daily intake of cocoa flavanols, as found in dark chocolate. However, a new study, focusing on heart failure, suggests more limited intake. Get the details and our analysis in the Cardiovascular section of the Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, and Nibs Review. (Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, cocoa powders, and more.)

Clinical Update

7/05/2014

Dark Chocolate Improves Walking in Peripheral Artery Disease

A new, small study found that people with peripheral artery disease who consumed dark chocolate with a high cocoa content were able to walk further than they normally could. Consuming milk chocolate did not have this effect. The improvement was seen shortly after consuming just one dose. For more details, including dosage, as well as our tests and comparisons of cocoa supplements and chocolate, see the update to the Cocoa Powders, Extracts and Chocolate (Sources of Flavanols) Review >>   

News Release

5/21/2014

Your Cocoa May Be Contaminated! ConsumerLab.com Reveals What’s Really in Cocoa and Chocolate Products

White Plains, New York, May 21, 2014 [See related new release on 8/5/14] — Cocoa powders, dark chocolates, and other products made from cacao beans can be rich in flavanols -- which may help with blood flow, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels. However, they may also be contaminated with the toxic heavy metal cadmium, according to recent tests from the independent testing group, ConsumerLab.com.

Clinical Update

9/28/2019

Dark Chocolate for Vision Improvement?

Does consuming flavanol-rich dark chocolate improve visual acuity? See what a recent study found in the Vision section of the Cocoas and Dark Chocolates Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, cocoa powder, and nibs.

CL Answer

Why is there so much cadmium, a toxin, in cocoa powders but not in dark chocolate?

Learn more about the presence of the toxic heavy metal cadmium in cocoa powder and dark chocolate.

Cocoa Powder

Clinical Update

4/05/2020

Dark Chocolate for Memory?

Studies show that chocolate high in flavanols can improve cognition in people with cognitive decline. Can it also boost memory in people who are cognitively healthy? Find out in the Memory section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolates and cocoa powders.

CL Answer

The distributor of my cacao powder says it checks for "metal fragments" in its products. Is this adequate to check for heavy metals, like cadmium and lead, that you've found in cocoas and chocolates?

Find out if tests such as foreign metal detection can show if cocoa powders and chocolate products are contaminated with heavy metals such as cadmium and lead. See amounts of these toxic heavy metals were found in cocoa and chocolate products tested by ConsumerLab.com

Flavanols in Cocoa, Cacoa, and Chocolate Products Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com

Clinical Update

11/22/2020

Chocolate for Cognition?

Does eating chocolate improve cognition in postmenopausal women? See what a new study found in the Memory and Cognition section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, cocoa powders and supplements based on their flavanol content and purity.

Clinical Update

6/20/2018

Intestinal Benefit of Cocoa?

Cocoa flavanols may support intestinal health, according to an animal study with a cocoa powder that acted like a prebiotic. Get the details in the What It Does section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review. (Also see our Top Picks among cocoa and dark chocolate products.)

Clinical Update

9/12/2018

Cocoa and Cholesterol

Can cocoa flavanols improve cholesterol levels? See what a recent study found in the Cardiovascular section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review. (Also see our Top Picks among cocoa and dark chocolate products.)

Clinical Update

6/28/2017

Some Concern About Theobromine in Dark Chocolate

ConsumerLab's tests of dark chocolates show them to contain about as much theobromine (a caffeine-related stimulant) as heart-healthy flavanols. So is all this theobromine good or bad? A recent study suggests that it may be an issue for people who need to control their blood sugar, while, on the positive side, it lowers LDL "bad" cholesterol. Get the details in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review, which includes comparisons of the amounts of theobromine in popular products, as well as amounts of flavanols, caffeine, and contaminants.

Clinical Update

9/12/2015

Cardiovascular Benefits of Cocoa Flavanols

A drink rich in cocoa flavanols modestly improved certain measures of cardiovascular health in healthy, middle-aged men and women, according to a recent study. Get the details, including dosage, plus our tests of popular products, in the Review of Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements >>

Clinical Update

11/11/2015

Cocoa Flavanol Safety

A new study found that, even at high doses, cocoa flavanols did not cause adverse cardiovascular effects in healthy men and women. However, be aware that drug interactions and certain side effects can occur. Details are provided in the "Concerns and Cautions" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>

Clinical Update

2/15/2020

Cocoa for Artery Disease?

People with peripheral artery disease often have trouble walking. Can flavanol-rich cocoa help? Find out what a recent study showed in the What It Does section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolates Review. Also see our Top Picks for cocoas, chocolates, chips, nibs, and cocoa supplements.

Clinical Update

9/10/2014

Lead in Dark Chocolate

Our recent tests of cocoa-based products found problems with many popular brands of cocoa powders, which were high in cadmium and/or lead. No problem was found, however, with a widely-sold dark chocolate bar, which also had a good amount of potentially beneficial flavanols. A new report by academic researchers in Brazil shows that some dark chocolate bars do contain lead in excess of what the FDA permits (although brands were not identified.) More about this, as well as our test results for 15 cocoa products, is found in updated Review of Cocoa/Cacao Powders, Extracts, Nibs, Supplements, and Chocolate >> 

Clinical Update

6/10/2015

Cocoa for Memory

Cocoa flavanols have been shown in some studies to provide a cardiovascular benefit and, in older individuals, memory improvement. A recent study in younger men and women showed that daily use of a cocoa extract had little effect on memory and no cardiovascular benefit, although it did improve mental fatigue shortly after taking the extract. Learn more about the effects of cocoa, dosage, and see our tests and reviews of cocoa products in the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >> 

Clinical Update

1/11/2015

More Cocoa Benefits

A recently published study showed that hot cocoa made with a flavanol-enriched powder resulted in improvements in cognitive performance as well as reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol, and improved glucose metabolism. The study was conducted in people ages 65 to 80 who drank the cocoa each morning. More details, as well as our tests of cocoa powders, are found in the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >> 

News Release

8/05/2014

ConsumerLab.com Finds Popular Cocoa Powders Contaminated; High Concentrations of Cadmium Raise Concern

White Plains, New York, August 5, 2014 — Following up on its discovery in May of high levels of the toxic metal cadmium in several cocoa-based products, ConsumerLab.com recently tested additional, popular cocoa products sold in the U.S. to assess the extent of the problem. The independent testing company now reports the problem is widespread among cocoa powders, involving nearly every brand of cocoa powder tested.

Clinical Update

8/19/2015

Cocoa Increases Blood Flow to Brain

A small study found that drinking a cocoa drink high in flavanols significantly increased blood flow to the brain, which, the researchers propose, might have potential cognitive benefits. Get the details, including dosage, plus more about cocoa and memory, and our tests of popular products, in the Cocoa Supplements and Dark Chocolate Review >>

Clinical Update

10/09/2018

Cocoa for Diabetes?

Cocoa flavanols may help control blood sugar, but do they offer benefits to people with diabetes? See what recent studies are finding in the What It Does section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review. (Also see our Top Picks among products).

Clinical Update

10/22/2016

Cocoa Lowers Blood Sugar

In addition to potential cardiovascular, memory, and other benefits, a new analysis shows that cocoa flavanols may reduce fasting glucose and improve insulin resistance. Get the details in the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>

Clinical Update

5/30/2017

Heart Risk Lower with Chocolate

Eating chocolate is associated with a reduced risk of developing atrial fibrillation, according to a large, long-term study. Atrial fibrillation is associated with higher risk of stroke, heart failure and other serious problems. Details about this and other benefits of chocolate are found in the "What It Does" section of the Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review, which includes our findings for the flavanol content and contamination levels of popular products.

CL Answer

I take lisinopril (Zestril), an ACE inhibitor drug to lower blood pressure. Are there supplements I should avoid, or be taking, due to this drug?

When taking ACE inhibitors, find out which supplements should be avoided. Interaction info on Lisinopril or another ACE inhibitors.

Lisinopril, ACE Inhibitors and Supplement Interactions -- prescription bottle of lisinopril on desk with blood pressure cuff

CL Answer

Why does dark chocolate have iron in it? Is it, or cocoa, a good dietary source of iron?

Find out if dark chocolate or cocoa is a good source of iron and if iron from dark chocolate or cocoa can be well-absorbed.

Dark Chocolate

CL Answer

Are cocoa and chocolate products contaminated with the fungal toxin ochratoxin A?

Learn more about toxins associated with cocoa beans and if chocolate contains contaminants like ochratoxin A (OTA).

Powdered Cocoa, Chocolate, and Cacao Nuts on Brown Background

CL Answer

Can chocolate and cocoa powder cause eczema?

Does chocolate and cocoa cause eczema? Find out more, including information about nickel and nickel allergies.

Woman Questioning Chocolate Bar

Clinical Update

9/25/2021

Dark Chocolate for Mood?

A recent study investigated the effects of consuming dark chocolate on mood. The effect depended on cocoa level. See the results in the Mood and Stress section of our Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks among dark chocolate bars and cocoa products.

Clinical Update

12/13/2016

Cocoa for High Blood Pressure?

A new study in which people with mild hypertension were given a cocoa beverage and dark chocolate daily for eight weeks found that it only helped lower blood pressure when people were taking certain blood pressure-lowering medications. For more details about this and other studies with cocoa and dark chocolate, as well as our tests and comparisons of products, see the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs & Supplements Review >>

Clinical Update

7/31/2019

Dark Chocolate & Depression?

Are people who consume dark chocolate less likely to be depressed? Find out what a recent study showed in the Mood and Stress section of the Dark Chocolates and Cocoa Powders Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolates and cocoa powders.

Clinical Update

7/05/2017

Dark Chocolate & Appetite

A recent study found that women consumed fewer calories after eating dark chocolate than after eating milk or white chocolate. Dark chocolate also resulted in better blood sugar control — an effect noted in other studies of moderate consumption of dark chocolate. Get the details on this and other effects of dark chocolate in the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review, which includes our tests and comparisons of popular products.

Clinical Update

8/06/2020

Chocolate and Cancer

Can eating more chocolate reduce cancer risk? Find out what a recent study showed in the What It Does section of the Dark Chocolates, Cocoa & Cacao Powders, Nibs, and Supplements Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, chocolate chips and cocoa powders.

Clinical Update

8/11/2020

Chocolate to Improve Body Composition?

Can eating a small amount of chocolate every day help improve body composition? Find out what a recent study showed in the What It Does section of the Dark Chocolates, Cocoa & Cacao Powders, Nibs, and Supplements Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate, chocolate chips and cocoa powders.

Recalls & Warnings

3/24/2020

Mislabeled Lindt Chocolate Bar Recalled

On March 19, 2020, Lindt & Sprüngli (USA) Inc. issued a recall of one lot of Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa chocolate bars because they are wrapped in the wrong packaging. The bars are labeled as Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa but contain Lindt Excellence Dark Caramel Sea Salt bars, and therefore contain undeclared milk and soy.

Recalls & Warnings

12/08/2020

Dark Chocolate Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On December 1, 2020, Maribel's Sweets issued a recall of Cacao Market Cylinder Dark Chocolate Pearls because they contain undeclared milk.

Clinical Update

1/17/2018

FDA Finds High Cadmium in Cocoa Products

Researchers from the U.S. FDA recently reported finding high levels of cadmium in cocoas as well as cocoa nibs and dark chocolates — particularly in cocoas from certain parts of the world. The results are similar to what ConsumerLab has reported. For details, see the Dark Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Nibs, Extracts & Supplements Review >>

Recalls & Warnings

2/14/2020

Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On February 13, 2020, Gourmet International and Butlers Chocolates UC issued a recall of IRISH WHISKEY DARK CHOCOLATE 3.5OZ TABLET BAR chocolate bars because they may contain undeclared milk.

Clinical Update

12/02/2020

Cocoa for Cognition

A new study suggests that cocoa may improve some aspects of cognitive function in healthy people and sheds some light on how this may work. See the details in the Memory and Cognition section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks among dark chocolates, cocoa powders and supplements.

Clinical Update

3/22/2022

Does Cocoa Lower Risk of Cardiovascular Death?

Results were recently published for the largest study to-date of cocoa extract given to older men and women. See if it helped lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and death in the Cardiovascular section of our Dark Chocolate & Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks among dark chocolate bars, cocoa powders, nibs, and supplements.

Clinical Update

6/15/2019

Cocoa & Physical Performance

Can a cup of cocoa a day improve physical performance? See what a recent study found in the What It Does section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks for cocoa powders and dark chocolates.

Recalls & Warnings

10/03/2020

Some "Dairy-Free" Dark Chocolate Found to Contain Undeclared Milk

On October 1, 2020, the FDA announced findings from a study it conducted from 2018 to 2019 that showed that some dark chocolate products claiming to be "dairy-free" or "milk-free" contain undeclared milk. This poses a danger for people who have a milk allergy and can suffer a severe or life-threatening reaction to even small amounts of milk.

Recalls & Warnings

3/30/2019

Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On March 28, 2019, Theo Chocolate issued a recall of 3oz Sea Salt 70% Dark Chocolate bars because they may contain undeclared milk. 

Clinical Update

4/29/2018

Dark vs. Milk Chocolate for Vision?

A recent study compared the effects on visual acuity of eating a bar of dark chocolate versus milk chocolate. Find out which was better in the Vision section of the Dark Chocolates, Cocoa Powders, and Cacao Nibs Review. (Also see our product tests, comparisons, and Top Picks.)

Clinical Update

12/18/2018

Chocolate and Platelet Function?

A recent study found that eating dark chocolate affected a measure of platelet function. How important is this? Get the details in the Cardiovascular section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Powders Review. (Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate).

Clinical Update

6/11/2019

Does Dark Chocolate Improve Mood?

A recent study evaluated whether eating dark chocolate improved mood and reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. See the results in the What It Does section of the Dark Chocolate and Cocoa Review. Also see our Top Picks among products.

Recalls & Warnings

3/31/2018

Nutrition Bars Sold at Whole Foods and Online Recalled

On March 26, 2018, eBars LLC, issued a recall of their Protein Bars, Snack Bars, and Kids Bars because they may contain undeclared peanuts and/or almonds.

Recalls & Warnings

7/16/2016

Ikea Expands Recall of Chocolate Bars

On July 6, 2016, IKEA expanded its recall of certain CHOKLAND chocolate bars to include additional chocolate bars, including certain GODIS chocolate bars, because they contain undeclared milk, hazelnuts and/or almonds.

Recalls & Warnings

1/14/2017

Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

People with an allergy to milk these bars as they could cause an allergic reaction, which can be life-threatening. Recalled Chip'n Dipped Dark Chocolate Crunch chocolate bars were distributed nationwide in retail stores and can be identified by the following:

Recalls & Warnings

7/02/2016

Ikea Recalls Dark Chocolate Bars Due to Allergen Risk

On June 24, 2016, IKEA issued a recall of certain CHOKLAD MÖRK and CHOKLAD MÖRK 70% dark chocolate bars because they contain undeclared milk, hazelnuts and almonds.

Clinical Update

4/15/2017

Chocolate May Reduce Diabetes Risk

"Occasional" consumption of chocolate was associated with a lower risk of developing diabetes among certain postmenopausal women, according to new study. For details about this and other effects of chocolate, see the "What It Does" section of the Cocoa Powders, Dark Chocolate, Extracts, Nibs, & Supplements Review >>

Recalls & Warnings

3/30/2016

Toxins in Chocolate

On March 23, 2016, As You Sow, a consumer health watchdog group based in California, released results showing that 35 of 50 chocolate products it tested, including chocolate bunnies and eggs, expose consumers to lead and cadmium above levels set by California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act and fail to provide consumer warnings about these heavy metals as reproductive toxins, as legally required in California. 

Recalls & Warnings

12/13/2017

Dark Chocolate Bar Recalled

On December 8, 2017, ALDI, in cooperation with Hofer KG ZNL Schokoladefab, recalled Choceur Dark Chocolate Bars due to the potential presence of almond pieces not listed on packaging. These bars can cause an allergic reaction in people who have a nut allergy.

Recalls & Warnings

2/12/2015

Many Dark Chocolate Bars Found to Contain Undeclared Milk

On February 11, 2015, the FDA announced its study of dark chocolate bars found many - including some which did not list milk as an ingredient or were labeled as "dairy-free" or "allergen-free," to contain milk. This poses a danger for people who have a milk allergy and can suffer a severe or life-threatening reaction to even small amounts of milk. 

Clinical Update

7/26/2015

Does Cocoa Benefit Some More Than Others?

A recent study of natural cocoa taken daily showed potential cardiovascular benefits -- but they seemed greater for some people than others. See the details in the Cocoa and Dark Chocolate Review >>

Recalls & Warnings

9/26/2014

FDA Warns Seller of Supplements and Chocolate Promoted to Treat Ebola

On September 23, 2014, the FDA issued a warning letter to Natural Solutions Foundation, following a review of the company's websites which found statements made about Silver Sol Nano Silver (also called The Silver Solution) and CBD Organic Dark Chocolate Bars (also called High Potency CBD Hemp Oil) to be drug claims. The two products are also sold together in "Dr. Rima Recommends" Personal Protection Pack and Family Protection Pack. 

CL Answer

How do I choose the best CoQ10 supplement?

Looking to choose the best CoQ10 brand supplement? Understand which CoQ10 you are buying, differences in dose, absorption, quality and more. ConsumerLab explores this topic.

CoQ10

Clinical Update

10/03/2020

Undeclared Milk in Dark Chocolates

If you're allergic to milk, be aware that about 10% of "dairy free" dark chocolate bars and chips were recently found to contain milk. Learn more in the Concerns and Cautions section of our Dark Chocolates Review. Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate.

CL Answer

What is acrylamide? Is it true that coffee and cocoa contain this toxin?

Find out what acrylamide is, how much is found in coffee and cocoa, and how you can minimize your intake of acrylamide.

Acrylamide in Coffee, French Fries & Cookies

Clinical Update

6/11/2014

Cocoa May Worsen Acne

Unlike the study we reported last week showing potential help for acne from omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acid supplements, a new study found that giving pure cocoa to men ages 18 to 35 had the opposite effect -- overall, more pimples. Get the details, along with our tests and comparisons of cocoa and chocolate products, in the update to the Cocoa Powders, Extracts and Chocolate Review >> 

Recalls & Warnings

3/11/2013

Nutrition Bar Recalled Due To Undeclared Allergen

On March 7, 2013, Lifestyle Evolution Inc. issued a recall of various NuGO nutrition bars because the bars may contain undeclared milk, a potential allergen.

CL Answer

I've heard that rice has high levels of arsenic. Does that mean rice bran oil does too?

Find out if rice bran oil can contain high levels of arsenic like whole rice and other rice products do.

Arsenic in Rice & Rice Bran Oil -- bottle of rice bran oil, grains of rice and bowl of rice bran

Recalls & Warnings

7/24/2017

Protein Bars Recalled Due to Listeria Risk

On July 21, 2017, Bhu Foods recalled a number of their products after their organic sunflower seeds, distributed by Hudson Valley Foods, Inc., were potentially contaminated with Listeria monoocytogenes.

Recalls & Warnings

7/11/2017

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bars Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On July 10, 2017, Coborn's, Inc. recalled packages of Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Bars because some were incorrectly labeled as Gluten Free Fudge Brownies. The brownies do not contain milk, but the chocolate chip bars do, so the bars incorrectly labeled as brownies contain undeclared milk.

Product Review

Nutrition Bars & Cookies Review (For Energy, Fiber, Protein, Meal Replacement, and Whole Foods)

Find the Best Nutrition Bar or Cookie. ConsumerLab Tests Reveals Not All Nutrition Bars and Cookies Contain What They Claim.

Nutrition Bars Reviewed by ConsumerLab.com (Energy, Fiber, Meal Replacement, Protein, and Whole Food Bars)

Clinical Update

12/14/2021

Tip for Nickel Sensitive Folks

Nickel can trigger an allergic dermatitis in some people, such as from consuming chocolate that is high in nickel. A CL member asked us if supplements can reduce nickel absorption. The answer is yes. Find out how in the Nickel section of our Cocoa/Chocolate Review.

CL Answer

I've heard that curcumin is a MAO inhibitor. Is this true, and does that mean it is not safe to take if you eat amine-rich foods like cheese and dark chocolate?

Find out if turmeric and curcumin are MAO inhibitors, if they can be taken with amine-rich foods like cheese and dark chocolate, and more.

Curcumin Supplements in Hand Water in Background

News Release

9/11/2019

Some Nutrition Bars Contain More Carbs and Less Fiber Than Listed, ConsumerLab Tests Reveal

White Plains, New York, September 11, 2019 — Nutrition bars and cookies are promoted as a convenient way to get protein, fiber and other nutrients on-the-go, but recent ConsumerLab tests of popular nutrition bars and cookies reveal that some contain more carbohydrates (as well as fat and cholesterol) and less fiber than listed on their labels. It also identified some bars that provide what they claim, with several "gluten-free" bars meeting CL's extra-stringent standard.

Recalls & Warnings

6/26/2006

FDA Warns Candy Maker Making Heart Health Claims

On May 31, 2006, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sent a warning letter to Masterfoods USA, the manufacturer Cocoa Via candy bars, that it was in violation of FDA regulations for adding folic acid to a candy product and claiming that its candy bars promote heart health, despite containing high levels of saturated fat.

CL Answer

Does CoQ10 reduce wrinkles, increase skin elasticity, or tighten the skin? Are there any other supplements that can help?

Learn about CoQ10 and other supplements, such as collagen and cocoa, for reducing wrinkles and improve aging skin.

Elderly Woman Smiling Looking in Mirror

Recalls & Warnings

7/30/2014

Chocolate and Carob Drink Mix Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk

On July 25, 2014, CaCoCo, Inc. issued a recall of CaCoCo Original and Global Warrior chocolate drink mixes because they contain organic carob powder which has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Clinical Update

5/06/2022

Toxin In Coffee?

Is roasted coffee likely to be contaminated with ochratoxin A? Find out what a recent study found in our updated article about contaminants in coffee.

Also see our articles about ochratoxin A in cocoa and chocolate and oat cereals.

Clinical Update

11/10/2017

Curcumin for Memory

There is mixed evidence on whether or not curcumin helps improve memory. A recently published study found that a proprietary formula helped, although, last year, a study using a different formula failed to help. In both cases, certain side effects were more common among those taking curcumin than placebo. Get the details in the "What It Does" section of the Turmeric & Curcumin Supplements Review >> [Also see our Top Picks for dark chocolate bars in the Review.]

Recalls & Warnings

8/03/2017

Protein Bars Recalled Due to Listeria Risk

On August 2, 2017, Amrita Health Foods recalled several varieties of protein bars due to potential contamination with Listeria monoocytogenes.

Clinical Update

3/16/2016

Don't Take Green Tea With Iron?

A study shows that iron can bind to a key flavanol (EGCG) in green tea, causing it to lose its anti-oxidant activity. Should you avoid iron-containing foods when using green tea? Find out in the "What to Consider When Using" section of the Green Tea Supplements and Teas Review >>

Recalls & Warnings

1/31/2021

Protein and Fiber Bars Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On January 28, 2021, think! and Interpac Technologies, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of think! Protein + Fiber Oatmeal: Farmer's Market Berry Crumble due to the potential presence of tree nuts, including almonds and pecans.

Recalls & Warnings

7/05/2017

CLIF Bars Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On July 5, 2017, CLIF Bar & Company issued a voluntary recall of CLIF BUILDER'S Bar Chocolate Mint, CLIF Kid Zbar Protein Chocolate Mint, and CLIF Kid Zbar Protein Chocolate Chip flavors due to the potential presence of peanuts and tree nuts, including almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, walnuts, and coconuts.  

Recalls & Warnings

1/20/2019

RXBAR Protein Bars Recalled

On January 15, 2019, RXBAR issued a recall of certain varieties of protein bars because they may contain undeclared peanuts.

Recalls & Warnings

3/06/2015

Most Milk Free of Drug Residue, FDA Study Shows

On March 5, 2015, the FDA announced that more than 99% of milk samples tested in the U.S. were found to be free of drug residues of concern. The agency tested milk samples from almost 2,000 dairy farms, focusing on farms which had previous drug violations for residue found in cow tissue samples, in addition to a control group of farms without previous violations. The incidence of drug residue in milk samples from both groups was very low. Interestingly, the small amounts of residues that were detected were not from drugs routinely tested for by the current milk safety program, therefore, the FDA is working to update it testing program to include a wider variety of drugs, if needed. See ConsumerLab.com's Review of Lactose-Free Milks and Lactase Enzymes for tests of related products. See Related Warnings: Many Dark Chocolate Bars Found to Contain Undeclared Milk Protein Shakes Containing Prescription Drug Pose Serious Health Risk To read the FDA's statement, use the link below.

CL Answer

Which dietary supplements and health foods contain high levels of lead?

Information about lead and heavy metals in vitamins, supplements and foods. Information on the adverse effects of lead.

Lead in Supplements & Foods -- concerned woman looking at pill

Recalls & Warnings

2/01/2016

Garden of Life Shakes and Meals Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

On January 29, 2016, Garden of Life LLC issued a recall of certain Raw Meal Organic Shake & Meal Chocolate, Original, Vanilla and Vanilla Chai products because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Recalls & Warnings

3/14/2011

22 Brands of Whey Protein Recalled Due to Salmonella Concern

The FDA posted a recall notice involving 22 brands of whey protein powder due to potential contamination with salmonella. The recall was voluntarily initiated on March 10, 2011 by the manufacturer of the products, Vitalabs, Inc. of Jonesboro, GA, which sells the products under its own brand and makes it for other brands listed below.

Recalls & Warnings

4/16/2012

Protein Supplement Maker Fails FDA Audit -- Many Products Affected

The FDA sent a Warning Letter (dated April 2, 2012) to Theta Brothers Sports Nutrition, Inc. regarding numerous violations of good manufacturing practices at its Lakewood, New Jersey facility. Among the violations cited were failure to adequately clean equipment to ensure that ensure that preceding products do not contaminate subsequent products. For example, an FDA investigator found that the company manufactured its Egg White Protein product followed by non-egg containing products (WPC/Dextrose Vanilla).

Recalls & Warnings

6/14/2013

Protein And Nutrition Bars Recalled Due To Undeclared Milk Allergen

On June 13, 2013, the U.S. FDA alerted consumers that Sequel Naturals Ltd., dba Vega, issued a voluntary recall of a variety of Vega One and Vega Sport protein bars because the bars contain undeclared milk.

Recalls & Warnings

6/07/2013

Nutrition Bars Recalled Due To Undeclared Milk Allergen

On June 6, 2013, Sequel Naturals Ltd. issued a recall of Vega sports, nutrition and energy bars because they contain undeclared milk. Consumption of these bars can cause serious or life-threatening reactions in people with an allergy to milk.

Recalls & Warnings

4/27/2018

Labrada LeanPro8 Protein Powders Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On April 24, 2018, Labrada Nutrition issued a recall of certain lots of LeanPro8 protein powders because they may contain undeclared egg protein.

News Release

6/15/2016

28% of Protein Powders and Drinks Fail ConsumerLab.com's Tests of Quality

White Plains, New York, June 15, 2016 — Protein powders and drinks can help build and maintain muscle when combined with exercise and can also help with blood sugar control. However, recent ConsumerLab.com tests of popular protein powders and drinks reveal you may be getting more cholesterol or sodium than expected from these products — or consuming cadmium, a toxic heavy metal.

Recalls & Warnings

6/15/2016

More Nutrition Bars Recalled Due to Listeria Risk

The following nutrition bars are being recalled because they contain sunflower kernels or may have come in contact with equipment processing sunflower kernels which have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes (use the links below for affected lot numbers, UPC, and/or expiration dates for each):

Recalls & Warnings

12/07/2016

Chocolate Hazelnut Butter CLIF Nut Butter Filled Energy Bars Recalled

On November 18, 2016, Clif Bar & Company issued a recall of one production run of Chocolate Hazelnut Butter CLIF Nut Butter Filled energy bars due to the presence of small plastic pieces found in a limited number of bars.

Recalls & Warnings

4/10/2021

HI-TECH Workout Supplements Recalled Due to Undeclared Allergens

On April 3, 2021, HI-TECH Pharmaceuticals issued a recall of all lots of APS Nutrition Isomorph 28 in a 2lb jug because they contain undeclared milk, wheat, and soy. All lots of iForce Nutrition Mass Gainz Brown Sugar Maple Oatmeal Cookie are being recalled as well for containing undeclared eggs.

Recalls & Warnings

7/28/2020

Iron Supplements Recalled Due to Undeclared Allergen

Between July 23 and 24, 2020, two companies issued recalls of iron supplements because they may contain undeclared milk. UpSpring LLC recalled one batch of UpSpring Baby Iron + Immunity, and Wellements LLC recalled two lots of Iron Drops liquid Dietary Supplement and samples of Iron Drops Sample liquid Dietary Supplement.

Recalls & Warnings

7/12/2019

PROBAR Meal Bars Recalled

On July 11, 2019, PROBAR LLC issued a recall of certain flavors and lots of its Meal® bars because they may contain undeclared milk and soy allergens. There has been one report of an allergic reaction to-date.

Recalls & Warnings

3/28/2014

Nutrition Bars Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On March 27, 2014, Clif Bar & Company issued a voluntary recall of a small number of 15-count boxes of Chocolate Chunk LUNA Bars because they contain undeclared macadamia nut butter.

Recalls & Warnings

11/01/2013

Protein Shakes Containing Prescription Drug Pose Serious Health Risk

On November 1, 2013, Health Canada warned consumers that Vega One Vanilla Chai (sizes 437g and 874g) and Vega Sport Performance Chocolate nutritional shakes, by Sequel Naturals Ltd., have been found to contain the prescription antibiotic chloramphenicol. These products are sold in Canada but also available to U.S. consumers through online retailers.

Recalls & Warnings

10/15/2012

Recall of Nutrition Bars Containing Peanut Butter Due To Salmonella Risk

On October 11 and 12, 2012, four brands of nutrition bars were voluntarily recalled due to possible salmonella contamination of the peanut butter used in each of these bars. The peanut butter was produced by Sunland Inc., and is part of a larger recall of Sunland's peanut butter and peanut products.

Recalls & Warnings

6/18/2016

Muscle Milk Protein Drinks Recalled

On June 17, 2016 HP Hood LLC issued a recall of the following Muscle Milk protein drinks because they have the potential for premature product spoilage:  

Recalls & Warnings

3/30/2011

More Protein Supplements Recalled for Salmonella Risk

On March 29, the U.S. FDA posted a voluntary recall notice from Nutrition Express of Torrance, CA regarding products containing whey protein isolate sourced from one supplier because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella, an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems. Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

News Release

2/24/2022

Consumers Returned to Pre-Pandemic Supplement Usage in 2021, ConsumerLab Survey Reveals

White Plains, New York, February 24, 2022 —A survey of 8,049 people who use dietary supplements shows many supplements that declined in use in 2020 began bouncing back in 2021, such as magnesium (+2.4 percentage points), and CoQ10 (+2.7 pts). In fact, 25 of the 30 most popular supplements rose in usage in 2021 in contrast to 2020 when two-thirds declined, suggesting a return to pre-pandemic supplement usage.

News Release

2/26/2021

COVID Changed Supplement Popularity in 2020, ConsumerLab Survey Reveals

White Plains, New York, February 26, 2021 — A survey of 9,647 people who use dietary supplements shows that the supplements which experienced the greatest growth in popularity in 2020 were those being promoted to prevent or treat infection with SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. (For a clinical review of these claims, see ConsumerLab.com's answer to the question "Do any supplements help with the coronavirus (COVID-19)?"). These supplements were zinc (+13.5 percentage points), vitamin C (+ 7.5 pts), vitamin D (+6.6 pts), quercetin (+4.9 pts), and elderberry (+4.1).

Recalls & Warnings

11/09/2021

Five Brands of Protein Supplements Recalled Due to Allergen Risk

On November 9, 2021, Nutracap Holdings, LLC issued a recall of certain Boba Origin, Etedream, RAW, Steel, and Vital Force protein supplements because they contain potential allergens, including soy, milk, wheat, and/or coconut, that are not declared on the label.

Recalls & Warnings

5/29/2014

Chia Powders and Smoothies Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

On May 28, 2014, Navitas Naturals issued a voluntary recall of products containing its organic sprouted chia seed powder because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Recalls & Warnings

12/29/2015

Whey Protein Recalled

On December 23, 2015, American Pure Whey issued a recall of all lots of 100% Pure Whey Protein Matrix and 100% Pure Whey Protein Isolate because they contain undeclared milk and soy.

Recalls & Warnings

8/17/2012

Voluntary Recall of Nutrition Bars

On August 13, 2012, Clif Bar & Company issued a voluntary recall of a limited amount of 12-pack Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars and individual Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars which were mislabeled in Chocolate Chip Clif Bar wrappers. Blueberry Crisp Clif Bars contain almonds, an ingredient not listed on the Chocolate Chip Clif Bar wrapper label. Individuals with almond allergies should not consume the mislabeled bars, which have a "Best By" date of 17MAR13G3. No allergic reactions have been reported at this time.

Recalls & Warnings

6/17/2022

Built Brand Protein Bar Recalled Due to E. Coli Concern

On June 10, 2022, Built Brands, LLC. Issued a recall of 4,146 Banana Cream Pie Puffs protein bars after routine testing discovered potential contamination with E. coli (Escherichia coli).

Recalls & Warnings

5/23/2015

Colostrum Supplement Recalled

On May 14, 2015, the Natural Creations issued a recall of a small quantity of Natural Creations New Zealand Colostrum because the label does not state that the product is milk-based.

Recalls & Warnings

2/22/2021

Canadian Creatine Recalled for Dangerous Levels of Vitamin D

On February 21, 2021, the Canadian company Genex Nutraceuticals recalled one lot of Perfect Sports Core Series Pure Creatine (also known as Creatine Powder) because it "contains vitamin D that is not listed on the label, at dangerous levels." The amount of vitamin D the product may contain was not provided in the recall notice. However, this product is not authorized in Canada to contain vitamin D.

Recalls & Warnings

8/03/2018

Vanilla Almond Breeze Almond Milk Recalled

On August 2, 2018, HP Hood LLC issued a recall of half-gallon (1.89 L) cartons of refridgerated Vanilla Almond Breeze almond milk because the product may contain milk, an allergen not listed on the label.

Recalls & Warnings

3/06/2018

Protein Bars Recalled Due to Undeclared Allergens

On March 5, 2018, IDLife, LLC, issued a recall of their Protein Bars, Snack Bars, and Kids Bars because they may contain undeclared almonds, peanuts, and/or coconut oil.

Recalls & Warnings

5/04/2021

CytoSport's Evolve Protein Shakes Recalled

On May 1, 2021, CytoSport, Inc., recalled certain lots of Evolve Protein Shakes because they have the potential to be contaminated with soy protein.

Recalls & Warnings

1/31/2015

Protein Powder Recalled Due to Food Poisoning Risk

On January 30, 2015, Aloha, Inc. issued a voluntary recall of all packages of Premium Protein powder blends in chocolate and vanilla because they have the potential to be contaminated with Staphylococcus enterotoxin .

Recalls & Warnings

10/13/2016

Nutrisystem Bars Recalled Due to Listeria Risk

On October 11, 2016, Nutrisystem Everyday, LLC issued a recall of one lot of its Nutricrush Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough bar because it has the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.

Recalls & Warnings

6/23/2016

Protein Drinks Recalled Due to Possible Spoilage

On June 22, 2016 Bolthouse Farms issued a recall of the protein drinks listed below due to possible spoilage that may cause the beverages to appear lumpy, taste unpleasant and have an off odor.

Recalls & Warnings

1/31/2002

Recall Update for Certain Metabolife Bars - Excessive Vitamin A

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released the following Class I recall information in its January 30, 2002 Enforcement Report. A Class I recall is a situation in which there is a reasonable probability that the use of or exposure to a violative product will cause serious adverse health consequences or death:

Recalls & Warnings

3/06/2013

Protein Bar Recalled Due To Salmonella Risk

On March 4, 2013, Pro-Amino International Inc. issued a recall of Proti Diet High Protein Chocolate Dream Bar due potential Salmonella contamination.

CL Answer

Can any supplements reduce or increase the risk of kidney stones?

Find out which supplements, foods and beverages may increase or decrease the risk of kidney stones, including information about potassium, calcium, choline, turmeric and curcumin, vitamin C, as well as foods and beverages such as green tea, lemon juice, orange juice, cranberry juice, chocolate and almonds.

Supplements for Kidney Stones

CL Answer

Which supplements or foods can help lower cholesterol and keep my heart healthy? Are there any to avoid?

Information about heart health supplements & vitamins that help with cholesterol, including sterol esters, CoQ10, and vitamin D, and which may be bad for the heart, like calcium.

News Release

1/03/2019

ConsumerLab Tests Reveal the Best Protein Powders, Shakes and Drinks -- 20% of Protein Powders and Drinks Fail CL's Tests of Quality

White Plains, New York, January 3, 2019 — Combined with resistance exercise, protein supplements can help athletes build muscle and older people prevent muscle loss. They can also help people with diabetes maintain blood sugar levels when consumed as part of a low-calorie diet. But with so many protein products on the market, how can consumers know which protein powders, shakes, and drinks are best?

News Release

7/26/2016

36% of Meal Replacement Powders and Shakes Fail ConsumerLab.com's Tests of Quality

White Plains, New York, July 26, 2016 — Nutritionally balanced powders and read-to-drink shakes can help people lose weight, improve blood sugar control, build muscle, and provide a healthful alternative to snacks. However, recent ConsumerLab.com tests of popular meal replacement and weight management products revealed that more than one-third provided more sodium, sugar, or calories, or less protein, than listed on labels. One product, had something you might not expect, and certainly wouldn't want -- contamination with the heavy metal cadmium. Each of these problems was confirmed in a second, independent laboratory.

Recalls & Warnings

9/22/2018

MyoWhey Protein Powder Recalled

On September 20, 2018, Purus Labs, Inc. issued a recall of one lot of MyoWhey Chocolate Cookie Crunch protein powder because it may contain undeclared milk and soy.

Recalls & Warnings

3/31/2020

Bulletproof Warned for Manufacturing Violations

On March 20, 2020, the FDA issued a warning letter to Bulletproof 360, Inc., which found the company's products, including Curcumin Max, Mitosweet, Chocolate Collagen Protein, and Vanilla Collagen Protein, to be adulterated because they were prepared, packed, or held under conditions that violate Current Good Manufacturing Practices for dietary supplements.

Clinical Update

2/11/2022

Reducing Acrylamide in Cookies

Acrylamide is a neurotoxin and probable cancer-causing agent that can form when cooking or baking certain foods at high temperatures. Find out how to reduce acrylamide formation when baking cookies in our updated article about Acrylamide in Foods, which also includes information about acrylamide in coffee, chocolate, potatoes and other foods.

Recalls & Warnings

2/16/2016

Garden Of Life Recall Expanded

On February 13, 2016, Garden of Life LLC expanded its January 2016 recall of certain Raw Meal Organic Shake & Meal Chocolate, Original, Vanilla and Vanilla Chai products to include additional lots of these products, because they have the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.

Recalls & Warnings

7/30/2014

Nutrition Bars Recalled Due to Salmonella Risk

On July 25, 2014, GoMacro issued a recall of two flavors of MACROBARS nutrition bars because they contain carob powder which has the potential to be contaminated with Salmonella.