cocoa vs cacao

Cocoa vs Cacao

In today’s age of super foods, it can be hard to keep up with what you should be eating. 

If you’re still stuck in the quinoa age, where have you been?! Didn’t you know it’s soooo 2013 darling? And those kale dishes you so proudly snap for your Instagram – who wants to see that anymore? 2015 is the year of teff, kohlrabi and crunchy crickets, so clear your cupboards and get ready for this new food revolution. 

Or not. 

I don’t know about you, but I still love quinoa! Kale fried with garlic and salt is one of my favourite side dishes, and well, crunchy crickets? No thank you. The food industry is changing, and we’re under a lot of pressure to adapt our eating habits to suit society. We’re no longer judged just on appearances – our dietary choices play a role too. It’s cool to go paleo & even cooler to follow the vegan lifestyle. I mean, Beyoncé is doing it – why aren’t you?!

I for one, love my meat. I LOVE MEAT. I’ll shout that from the rooftops any day of the week. I respect those who manage to go vegan, but I love my eggs far too much. Maybe one day, but we’ll see.

Anyway, today I want to provide some insight into the antioxidant powerhouse of 2015: Cacao. 

Cocoa vs. Cacao 

You’ve probably come across “cacao” countless times over the past year. Or have you just been reading the label wrong all this time?

No. Cocoa and Cacao are different, but the same too. Sorry if you’re confused already, but read on, I promise i’ll clear this up. 

Cacao is the purest form of chocolate. It’s thought to be one of the richest sources of antioxidants in the world, and it’s less processed than its cocoa counterpart. Cacao beans are taken from the cacao fruit tree, known as Theobroma Cacao, and are then processed in different ways to form cacao butter, nibs, powder, and paste. Cacao powder contains more fibre & calories than cocoa powder, because the nutrients from the bean are still in-tact, meaning it’s richer in protein, fibre & vitamins. 

Cocoa is the heated form of cacao.  It undergoes a higher temperature during processing, which means it loses a lot of the nutrients that you would ordinarily find in cacao.  Cocoa is ground and roasted and is often mixed with sugar to form cocoa powders that we use in baking or hot drinks.

The main difference between the two is how the bean is processed. Cacao is the rawest form, while cocoa is pressed and heated. The process of heating reduces the enzyme content thus lowering the overall nutritional value.

However, cocoa is still high in nutrients. If you do opt for cocoa, go for those without added sugar so you can maximize the antioxidant and protein benefits & reduce your sugar intake.  

Check out these cacao recipes! 

Cacao Smoothie Bowl

Raw Cacao Bites

Paleo chocolate bites

Paleo Chocolate Brownies

Paleo chocolate brownies



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