Is all the hoopla about cacao kaka?
August 27, 2008 4:30 PM   Subscribe

I've started eating raw cacao beans and I really like them. Are the nutritional claims true?

I sort of "inherited" a bag of these raw cacao beans and I've been munching on them quite happily at work for a couple of days. I noticed that they really perked me up and put me in a good mood (and didn't mess my stomach up like dark chocolate does), so I went out to the internets to get more information. I had no idea that they were such a fad right now...can anyone help me separate the fact from fiction? Also, is there a maximum number of these puppies that I should eat? I do get pretty hyper off of them.
posted by The Light Fantastic to Health & Fitness (3 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
They contain considerable amounts of theobromine, which is similar to caffeine in effect. That's why you're getting wired.

"Cacao beans contain about 1.2% theobromine by weight."

The MSDS for Theobromine says that the LD50 for rats (who are about as omnivorous as humans) is 1265 mg/Kg. Just for reference, the LD50 for sodium chloride (table salt) in rats is 3000 mg/Kg, so we're not talking about something immensely toxic here.

But I assume that at far lower doses it could make you feel pretty ill, at least based on my experience with consuming too much caffeine at one time.
posted by Class Goat at 5:20 PM on August 27, 2008


As it happens, I toured a chocolate factory last Sunday and picked up a bag of cocoa nibs myself. One of the workers there says that she once binged on half a cup of the things and started hallucinating. So unless hallucination is your goal, you'd want to keep it well under that. (Assuming that she's telling the truth, anyway.) I'm finding that a couple of tablespoons a day is plenty.

Incidentally, they're great in oatmeal. Nom nom nom...
posted by sculpin at 5:34 PM on August 27, 2008 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Interesting. The package said that the recommended serving was a "handful a day." I consumed far less than that over the course of the day and I have to say that I felt a bit psychedelic when I left the office, with visual effects similar to a slight pot buzz and a definitely nervous stomach. I think I'll eat far less of them tomorrow.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:15 PM on August 27, 2008


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