Should you eat cocoa nibs? Find out from Nutrition Diva.
Q. I was wondering if you can get the benefits of dark chocolate from cocoa nibs. It seems to me that this would be a good way to avoid unnecessary sugar consumption.
A. Absolutely! Cocoa nibs are pieces of roasted cacao beans that have not been further processed into cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and/or chocolate. If you like the way they taste (they have an intense chocolate taste but no sweetness to balance the bitterness), cocoa nibs can be a way to get the benefits of chocolate without the sugar that is usually added to make chocolate. They still contain plenty of fat, though. An ounce of cocoa nibs has about 13 grams of fat and 130 calories—something to keep in mind when snacking.
Unsweetened cocoa powder is also a concentrated source of the flavanols that make chocolate good for you—and is virtually fat-free. Check my episode on how to make the perfect smoothie and learn how to make my famous banana-peanut-butter-cocoa smoothie. You can also use cocoa powder in savory dishes like chili. If you have a copy of my book, Secrets for a Healthy Diet, look on page 220 for my recipe for Chili con Cocoa!
For even more on chocolate, see these tips on the healthiest types of chocolate and find out whether milk cancels the health benefits of chocolate.
Cacao beans from Shutterstock