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Last Updated: 12/13/2021 | | Expanded and Revised: 12/21/2019 Latest Update: Tip for Nickel Sensitive Folks
Flavanols in Cocoa, Cacoa, and Chocolate Products Reviewed by

Alphabetical list of cocoa, cacao, and dark chocolate products compared in this review


Alter Eco Deep Dark Blackout


Baker's Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate Bar


Baker's Unsweetened - 100% Cacao


Chocolove Extra Strong - 77% Cocoa Content


Chocolove Strong Dark Chocolate - 70% Cocoa Content




CocoaVia - Cran-Raspberry (Mix)


CocoaVia - Original (Mix)


CocoaVia - Sweetened Dark Chocolate Mix


CocoaVia - Unsweetened Dark Chocolate Mix


CocoaVia Memory+


Dagoba Organic Chocolate Cacao Powder


Dove Dark Chocolate


Endangered Species Chocolate Strong + Velvety Dark Chocolate - 88% Cocoa


Equal Exchange Chocolates Organic Panama Extra Dark - 80% Cacao


Futurebiotics Dark Chocolate Extract


Ghirardelli Chocolate Premium Baking Chips - 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate


Ghirardelli Chocolate Premium Baking Cocoa - 100% Cocoa


Ghirardelli Intense Dark 86% Cacao


Guittard Extra Dark Chocolate Baking Chips - 63% Cacao


Hawaii Pharm Cacao


Healthworks Cacao Nibs


Healthworks Cacao Powder

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Hershey's Cocoa - 100% Cacao Natural Unsweetened

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Hershey's Cocoa Special Dark - 100% Cacao

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Lily's Dark Chocolate - Original - Stevia Sweetened

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Lindt Excellence Supreme Dark - 90% Cocoa

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Montezuma's Dark Chocolate Absolute Black - 100% Cocoa

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Moser Roth Edel Bitter 85% Cacao


Navitas Naturals Cacao Powder


Navitas Organics Organic Cacao Nibs


Pascha Organic Dark Chocolate - 85% Cacao

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Scharffen Berger Unsweetened - 99% Cacao


Solaray Cocoa

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Taza Chocolate Wicked Dark - 95% Dark

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Theo Sea Salt - 70% Dark Chocolate

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Trader Joe's Cocoa Powder Unsweetened

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Trader Joe's Organic Fair Trade Cacao Powder


Trader Joe's Pound Plus - 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate

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Trader Joe's The Dark Chocolate Lover's Chocolate Bar - 85% Cacao

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Valrhona Poudre De Cacao Cocoa Powder - 100% Cacao

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Viva Naturals Cacao Nibs Organic

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Volupta Cacao Powder

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  • What are the health benefits of dark chocolate and cocoa? Cocoa-based products contain flavanols which are associated with modest potential benefits regarding blood flow, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, exercise, memory/cognition, skin wrinkles, and blood sugar control (see What It Does).
  • Which dark chocolate and cocoa are best? Be careful! Our tests show that many popular cocoa powders and cacao nibs, as well as some dark chocolates, are contaminated with high levels of cadmium, a toxic heavy metal (see What CL Found). Fortunately, we were able to identify a few great products that minimize cadmium exposure, maximize flavanols, offer superior value, and even minimize calories without sacrificing flavor. See CL's Top Picks.
  • How much cocoa or dark chocolate do I need? Clinical studies suggest the following total daily intakes of flavanols for the purposes noted below, although further research is needed to confirm benefits and optimal dosing: To get these amounts look at the 3rd column in the Results Table below. It will show you the amount of flavanols in a serving of each product.
  • Dark chocolate and cocoa safety and side effects: Although cocoa and chocolate products are generally safe, it may be best to limit consumption of products due to contaminants, as well as calories (See How much of a danger is cadmium and lead from cocoa and chocolate?) Be aware that the caffeine and theobromine in cocoa products may cause side effects as well as interfere with the actions of certain drugs. Cocoa and chocolate products may also trigger migraines in some people and may trigger allergic contact dermatitis in nickel-sensitive individuals. People with milk allergies should be aware that dark chocolate bars may contain milk (see Concerns and Cautions).
You must be a member to get the full test results along with's Top Picks among products. You'll get immediate access to the amounts of flavanols and cadmium that we discovered in 43 dark chocolate bars and chips, cocoa powders, cacao nibs, and cocoa supplements, including 37 selected by and six products tested through our voluntary Quality Certification Program. If you are sensitive to caffeine or theobromine, you'll also want to see how much we found in each dark chocolate bar and supplement — something not typically listed on labels. In this comprehensive review, you'll discover:
  • Which cocoa, cacao, and dark chocolate products failed testing and which passed
  •'s Top Picks among the best cocoa and dark chocolate products
  • Direct comparisons and quality ratings of cocoa, cacao, and chocolate products
  • Cost comparisons, showing you which cocoa, cacao, and chocolate products provide the most flavanols at lowest cost
  • Dosage information for using cocoa-based products -- and what clinical studies have shown
  • Side-effects, cautions, and potential drug interactions with cocoa and dark chocolate, including concerns about allergies, acne, acrylamide, migraine, ochratoxin A, blood sugar control, and kidney stones

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