What is in Chocolate Bars?

What is in Chocolate Bars? Chocolate has some great health benefits like reducing blood pressure but lurking in some chocolate is a preservative, TBHQ (tertiary butylhydroquinone), a nasty synthetic (man-made) antioxidant not to be confused with the good naturally occurring antioxidants like vitamins C and E. TBHQ is used to stabilize oils and fats and help prevent them from going bad in our food. It is also used as a corrosion inhibitor in biodiesel! Sadly, this synthetically produced chemical is also found in some of our favorite chocolate bars and many other processed foods.

A number of studies have shown that in high doses TBHQ is associated with stomach cancer in mice. Both the FDA and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) have deemed it safe in very small quantities. Although TBHQ in small doses may not show early ill health effects, it does not mean it is safe. In larger doses it is toxic and can cause death.

But do not lose hope. Chocolate bars generally will have a naturally long shelf life because of its “high osmolarity”, meaning that most bacteria that cause some foods to spoil are not able to grow in chocolate. There are some producers of chocolate who are aware of this and do not use TBHQ in their products. So just because you find TBHQ in one chocolate bar, there are other chocolate bars that do not have this preservative in it.

Read the label of your chocolate bar and if it has TBHQ in it look for a new alternative. One grocery chain of stores, Whole Foods, does not allow any items containing TBHQ on their shelves. This makes it much easier for you to find yourself a new favorite chocolate bar and to enjoy the health benefits of chocolate, without the nasty preservative of TBHQ.

Action Item:
– When purchasing chocolate bars or other chocolate products read the label. If it contains TBHQ, avoid it and purchase a product that does not contain it.

For More Information:
Please follow this link to PubMed describing the negative effects on our DNA as well toxicity to our cells that can cause both early and late cell death (apoptosis)