The Complete Cacao Master List

Foods & DrinksFood

  • Author Ethan Swift
  • Published October 10, 2022
  • Word count 2,482

Welcome to, "The Complete Cacao Master List", on the healthy benefits and nutritional facts of eating or drinking cacao and chocolate in its many different forms. We won't cover snorting cacao. For more about what is cacao though, first, go check out my other blogs.

As you will learn throughout the blog, and on this list, the nutrition does not occur from chocolate, but only from cacao consumption. Let these nutrition facts serve you as it has served us in a delicious pursuit for wellness. You will not find a better list of these benefits of cacao anywhere else, in one place, on the web.

"After water, cacao is the single healthiest substance you can put in your mouth. - Chris Kilham, Medicine Hunter.

If anyone ever asks, why eat (or drink) cacao instead of chocolate, use the following list to inform any cacao curious friends. If you want to eat chocolate anyway, just cross your fingers that you are getting some of these miraculous benefits. If you are eating milk chocolate, note that its likely none of the benefits will be absorbed by your body. Did you need another reason to try plant-based chocolate?

Let's start with most mind blowing cacao facts. Typically folks don't know about these because we are, as Americans, addicted to chocolate. Could the below information be the reason or is it just sugar? Either way, it is IMPOSSIBLE, to get addicted to cacao itself. Cravings, on the other hand can be based on the body's need for nutrition. Anything that creates dopamine in the brain can become "addictive". So being addicted to chocolate is really just an addiction to food or, substance abuse. This author's theory is that when we reach for chocolate, we are actually craving the nutrition in cacao (beans). Having been addicted to chocolate, all I can say is that not switching to cacao, you could potentially become pre-diabetic -- a disease in Hawai'i which affects 45% of the adult population.

Some of the below data will be interesting, yet familiar. Like if you've ever researched cacao (or chocolate), you probably know it has over 1,200 chemicals. Some of the data below includes and demonstrates a few, but not all, of the 1,200 chemicals in cacao.

Cacao contains:

more calcium than milk

more iron than any other plant

more theobromine than any other food

more anti-oxidants than any other food

more magnesium than any other food

Its been established that dairy-milk leaches calcium from bones and causes osteoporosis. Without a PhD, its still easy to do the math -- milk chocolate may not be your best go to for any nutrition.

Cacao also has endocannibinoids and mood elevators like:

tyramine precursor to dopamine, "The Kiss Molecule";

oxytocin "The Hug Molecule" or " The Bonding Molecule";

anadamide "The Bliss Molecule" (black truffles are the only

other food with anadamide);

tryptophan precursor to serotonin, "The Happy Molecule";

phenylethylamine (PEA) "The Love Molecule";

norepinephrine "The Joy Molecule"(produced by PEA).

From cacao, and again, not from milk chocolate, there are anti-depressants like effects from compounds that cause satiation. They are N-linoleoylethanolamide and oleoylethanolamide. They prevent the break down of anadamide and other cannibiniods including THC, making effects last longer. Seratonin, created from tryptophan absorption can also help depression (by the way). To get the most mood lifting benefits, just confirm you are reaching for cacao not chocolate.

Learn anything new yet? Well, did you know that:

Cacao has anti-depressant effects from MAOI's as well? They do but they are mild.

Cacao is an appetite suppressant too? "YES", cacao works so much less effectively than coffee in this regard. Thankfully.

Psychoactive terpenes or mind-altering aroma molecules also exist in chocolate and cacao beans. This where the science gets psychotropic.

Who knew terpenes could effect our affect mental processes, e.g. perception, consciousness, cognition or mood and emotions? Linalool, which is a terpene in cacao listed below, is an anti-convulsant which reduces seizures (epilepsy). Its also a sedative and muscle relaxer.

Here is a running list of cacao terpenes which will be contemporaneously updated:






In order to post up-to-date terpene profiles and always share powerful cacao facts, this post may be edited often. If you have done some interesting cacao research, that is too cool! Knowing all about what other facts and research is out there is super important. Want to share? Go ahead and write something that was left out from this list. The comment section below is waiting for you!

Back to the list?

Cacao works as an:









pineal gland stimulator

("the seat of the 'soul/enlightenment'")

But that's not all. Cacao is number one at strengthening teeth, beating fluoride head-to-head. That data is all over the internet and there are new cacao based toothpastes just coming on the market!

Cacao helps burns fat! I wish that chocolate did... Here are some reactions within the body by which cacao can fight obesity and aid in weight loss;



meal terminating anandamide.

Hungry for more cacao facts, or just cacao itself? Because, believe it or not, there are lots more. Grab this 100% Cacao Bar to eat or drink it right away if you can't wait to read the rest. For those readers who aren't excited about cacao yet, keep reading!

Cacao fights and/or prevents:


Cardiovascular Diseases (high blood pressure,

congestive heart failure )









That cover's about half of it. You see, cacao has cocoa butter in it. Many already know cocoa butter to be healthy, but let's not underestimate it. Cocoa butter can be up to 50% of a cacao/cocoa bean's composition. The other half, the cacao/cocoa mass, is where the earlier listed nutrients, polyphenols, flavanols, phytonutrients, and minerals exist. So what is cocoa butter good for if all of the cocoa mass is pressed out? I have some conveniently listed below for fellow chocophiles.

The benefits from internal and external use of cocoa butter are:

helping to fade spots and scars

preventing stretch marks

protecting skin from UV and High Energy Visible blue light

increasing of production/retention of collagen and Vitamin E

moisturizing skin

treating eczema and dermatitis

reducing wrinkles

What more could one want from a bean? These beans have more nutritional values than any single vegetable. What do you think could be added to make this food even more amazing!?

How does it do all the above? Well, here is a brief list of all the elements in cacao (some repetitions from earlier). Taken from

Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5 and B6

Vitamins A, C and E











Omega 6 fatty acid

Amino Acids

Saturated fats


soluble fiber and,

several other beneficial phyto-elements

There is so much going on in cacao. Let's not forget that chocolate has a lot of contaminants allowed. This isn't fun to report, but it is really important to know.

Chocolate may include distinctly different contaminants like:

insects, larvae or parts (up to 60 fragments in 100 grams)

other plants or unprocessed cacao remnants

fungi (mycotoxins, ochratoxin A, etc.) like mold, or yeast

cadmium, lead and/or other heavy metals

animal hair (1 in 100 grams)

mammalian or avian excreta

foreign matter (like cigarette butts, sticks, stones and burlap


moldy or damaged beans

hexane (E442), process contaminants, and other toxic


bacteria or other micro organisms

Hopefully you've made it this far, and, have learned at least 1 thing. If you have, keep going deeper.

Additives in chocolate? This following mini-list does not concern cacao-only people. Note: food additives are not contaminants; maybe some of them should be considered that way...

Talking about chocolate additives, though they have nothing to do with cacao, are really just another reason to consume cacao. This link is to a cacao product that has no additives. It's pure cacao and has no known side affects. Drink it daily for the most benefits. Just dont mix it with milk!

Here is list of chocolate avoidable additives:

Lecithin (Soy, Sunflower or Canola)

Paraffin/Carnauba Wax

Cochineal Bug and other Food Coloring

Sorbitan Tristearate / E492

Soy, Cottonseed, Palm or Palm Kernel Oil

Shellac, secretion of the lac bug

TBHQ / E319

Mono and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids

Also, glyphosate. Glyphosate is "Round Up", made by Monsanto and occurs way more than the legal limit in most chocolate. Way, way more. One would imagine they are trying to kill all the cockroaches, but the carcinogens in most all pesticides are actually most likely to kill you.

Know that with the amount of data compiled, an attempt was made to keep things light. There will however, not be a quiz. But, what is the one piece of information that sticks out to you the most so far?

Discuss cacao without including its aphrodisiac effects? No way! It's a favorited component of cacao's alchemy -- one fact that seems to stick out to people. Cacao works like viagra increasing blood flow to the sexual organs for both men, woman and all those beautiful gender-identities in between. There are so many ways that cacao seduces us all. It's obvious cacao's mouthfeel, flavor and aroma, are sensual. Cacao's allure is not overly extroverted, because there are unknown ways it seduces us. Consider extra-oral tastebuds. Those are something, rarely mentioned or studied.

We've talked a lot about chocolate. This article never asked if you like cacao. If not, I don't understand, but okay. Here's a reason to be glad you don't. Chocolate allergies. They are caused by cockroaches? People have failed to try and debunk this claim, but as mentioned earlier, there are up to 60 bug pieces in every 100 gram chocolate bar. Some people even sneeze, for different reasons, when they eat chocolate. Friends have shared that there are other contraindications for chocolate and cacao in their diets.

It's commonly understood that only "commodity cacao" falls under the above standards. Bean to Bar, Farm to Bar and Tree to Bar chocolate are typically set at a much higher level. The middle class of beans are what was once considered, "fine aroma cocoa". "Cocoa of Excellence", is typically the organization that sets the bar for what modern craft chocolate makers would be willing to use. Unsurprisingly, there are some even higher quality cacao farms and dealers. Uncommon Cacao, a high-end cacao bean distributor, publishes a quality report to ensure food and farming safety. Just know that in the realm of craft chocolate, every maker is pushing for the highest standards possible in all stages of cocoa farming and production.

Island Sharks Hawaii cacao beans come from a, "Cocoa of Excellence", origin in Papaikou. One way this has been achieved, is through the hand-sorting of cacao beans, 1-by-1. The other factors are the strain of cacao and the terroir. Every single bean's surface is painstakingly examined. Sometimes hundreds of pounds at a time. It takes weeks, months. Any nasty cacao farm contaminants (disease vectors) are avoided in our supply chain. Due to covered green houses, lack of farm animals, the hand-sorting of beans and proper fermentation, the beans become hygienic. The beans have been lab tested too. Island Sharks Chocolate can guarantee the soil isn't contributing to toxic levels of cadmium or lead in the chocolate. The "Best of East Hawai'i''s Awards", for Island Sharks, demonstrates the highest bar possible when it comes to bean to bar Hawaii cacao and craft chocolate.

After the Sharks' beans are roasted, they are hand-sorted again. Flat beans, split beans and the radicles of the cacao beans are finger-picked out 17 pounds at a time. Then, the cacao shell / husk remnants are pulled out of the cacao nibs piece-by-piece. This is to ensure the cacao and chocolate is less than .5% in total weight of cacao husks (the legal limit for chocolate). This ensures that there are no foreign contaminants or additives at all.

In case you wanted even more info, or perhaps a book, Volume II of the Bean to Bar Chocolate Tasting Guide is available for free! It won't be free forever. Not after figuring out how to publish to Kindle, which is hard. So grab it now!


Most mass processed commodity cacao milk chocolate is not qualified to be called “food”. It’s something like food, but is not useful for growth or sustained growth  —  the definition of food from Wikipedia. Mass processed foods are commonly known to contain allowed contaminants and additives. The FDA calls them, “Food Defect Action”, levels. Each food defect level may require an unique action. If foods falls under a certain action level, it is considered safe for human consumption. Defective food, even milk chocolate, is edible up until a point. Don’t settle for contaminated food no matter what they call it. Especially when there are additionally additives! Double-especially when the food is cacao. You deserve the best cacao / chocolate and typically only small scale producers can ensure you’re eating the actual superfood.

Island Sharks small-batch craft chocolate has 0 cockroaches or parts, 0 animal remnants, 0 processing chemicals, 0 additives of any kind, they don’t even make cacao or chocolate with dairy, ever. Calling that cacao a, “food” is an understatement. Hence the term, superfood.

Cacao has more benefits than almost any other food and you deserve them all. Change your chocolate and you will change your life.

Now, there is not that much more in cacao / chocolate (that we know about). Thanks for visiting the, "Complete Cacao Master List", which may reveal that the research on cacao remains incomplete. Not all twelve-hundred chemicals are known. Visit again later as updates and new research will be posted.

If you would like to do your own personal research and experiment on with the benefits of cacao, the results could contribute to our overall understanding of this super (duper) food. The results could contribute to your health and your overall understanding of wellness. Since cacao has been consumed for almost 5,000 years its easy to assume that this trend is going to continue. Ask others, servers and baristas about cacao or even look up a cacao ceremony. There are many entry points towards having this in your daily diet. Reporting your results, even in the comments below, could enlighten many people as to why to choose to connect with cacao.

It must really be the healthiest thing to drink, after water. 100% plant-based cacao bars or beverages will always be (and potentially always have been) the most nutritious. Especially more than any kind of cocoa or chocolate product. If you really must know more about how healthy cacao is, find out for yourself with this link to snorting cacao.

Author's note: No website is designed to, and can not be construed to, provide actual medical advice, professional diagnosis or treatment to you or anyone. Cacao is not intended as a substitute for medical or professional advice, care and treatment.

We are a small batch, craft-chocolate company based in Hilo (He - low), Hawai'i, that uses Hawai'i cacao.

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