Death by Chocolate?

Ok, ok, maybe a bit overdramatic – but there is something in your chocolate that you may not know about, and it wasn’t when we were kids.
As a lifetime chocolate lover, I have had my favorites since childhood. Specifically, anything peanut butter and chocolate – but really, offer me chocolate and I won’t refuse. 😉 (At least that used to be the case.) I’ve learned over the years that there are better chocolate options to be had, and usually stick with those, but still sometimes wanted the occasional splurge of the old Reese peanut butter cup.
A few years ago, hubby got me a small blizzard from Dairy Queen, Reese’s of course. I ate a little and stuck it in the freezer for later, not thinking anything of it. The next day, I woke up feeling a bit off. When my kids all started to wake up, I was finding myself so incredibly irritated with them – as in filled with rage for no actual reason. Stuff that was their usual kid behavior was making me want to scream, and it was NOT normal. I was baffled and trying to figure out what could be wrong with me. My researcher nature kicked in, and I started looking into what it could be  – which then led me to looking at the ingredients list of the Reese.
What I discovered, was there was this odd little abbreviation listed on the ingredients that I couldn’t identify, called PGPR. It is technically Polyglycerol polyricinoleate , described as a yellowish, viscous liquid composed of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil . Mmmmm, sounds good, right?
The reason it’s being used is it makes the chocolate flow better, and “to produce better quality chocolate reducing cocoa oil quantity in chocolate industry.” ( Why would we want actual cocoa bean oil?!)
Anytime the food industry tries to find a cheaper shortcut, there are going to be issues as we get further and further from the real food. Cause chocolate in itself, the lovingly created version from the cocoa bean plant, is delicious with all sorts of antioxidants like catechins, anthocyanidins, and pro-anthocyanidins. It can have good amounts of B-complex groups of vitamins such as niacin, pantothenic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B-6. It also contains excellent composition of minerals such as iron, selenium, calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and zinc. All of these are great.
There’s research showing PGPR causing liver damage and other adverse affects, but for me, mine was fast, furious and scary. I felt absolutely infuriated by the smallest thing. I wanted to yell, everyone seemed like some kind of idiot, and I felt out of control. It was incredibly scary, and enough to make me swear off anything with it in there.
T     he problem is that it is becoming more and more prevalent. I decided to stick to the more expensive chocolates ( hello, more $ should mean more actual cocoa, right?). Then a few days ago the hubby brought me home a little treat. I enjoyed just a few, went to bed, and woke up the next morning experiencing the same awful symptoms of brain fog and rage. I pulled the bag out of the cupboard and sure enough – the expensive chocolate now also had PGPR in it.
dove ingredients
The good news is there are plenty of higher quality, organic chocolates that you can avoid this nasty concoction in – the bad news is you may not be able to enjoy the favorite candy of your childhood without the nasty side affects. (Plus, the idea of liver damage is kind of off-putting.) It may not be actual death by chocolate, but there are more than a few reasons to think twice before you indulge next time.
Oh, and these little guys are a great substitute if you are a Reese lover like me. 😉

With love –
Sarah

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