As if the sugar content wasn't enough reason to stay away from processed
Now, a new study, in Environmental
Health Perspectives, reveals that chocolate can be contaminated
with very high quantities of lead.
What's interesting is that cocoa beans tested had an average lead concentration
of < 0.5 ng/g, "one of the lowest reported values for a natural food,"
the study points out. But, by contrast, "lead concentrations of manufactured
cocoa and chocolate products were as high as 230 and 70 ng/g."
In fact, a team of American and Nigerian researchers found that lead levels
in raw cocoa beans were 60 times lower than lead levels observed in processed
chocolate products, the Chicago
Talk about a worrisome statistic.
Researchers suspect that this lead contamination doesn't come from the producer
but rather during the shipping and/or manufacturing of the cocoa beans into
cocoa and chocolate products.
For example, they speculate that one source of contamination of the processed,
finished chocolates might be atmospheric emissions of leaded gasoline.
"Because of the high capacity of cocoa bean shells to adsorb lead, contamination
from leaded gasoline emissions may occur during the fermentation and sun-drying
of unshelled beans at cocoa farms."
Regardless of the source of contamination, "there is no excuse for a product
that is about to be consumed by children to contain lead, period," Dr.
John Rosen, a pediatrician and lead program director at Montefiore Medical Center
in New York City, told the Chicago
Lead exposure can be quite dangerous, particularly to children. For example,
it can lead to permanent developmental deficits. High lead levels can harm a
child's ability to think, plan, organize and memorize, Rosen explained. "And
lower levels of lead may produce intellectual deficits that are with a child
Yikes, this is scary.
I stated previously, you can still reap chocolate's anti-oxidant and other
benefits by eating raw cacao beans.
Furthermore, as popular physician Dr.
Joseph Mercola.com points out, you also can "derive a majority of these
benefits by consuming blueberries, apples and grapes, and most vegeetables,
including broccoli, greens and onions.
to Mercola.com for the lead on this new study.