Your Guide to Toxic Free Valentine’s Day Chocolate
Valentines Day wouldn’t be the same without giving or receiving a delicious box of chocolates. Unfortunately, these candies are often filled with ingredients like artificial colors, flavors, and preservatives to keep them looking as shiny and appealing as they do. Some of these additives are high fructose corn syrup, monosodium glutamate (msg), hydrogenated oils, sulfites, and artificial sweeteners like aspartame. The cacao in chocolate-based candy has been shown to often be contaminated with two toxic heavy metals — lead and cadmium. How the heavy metals are getting into the cacao plant is complicated, but it boils down to the regulation in the manufacturing processes. Ironically, dark chocolate tends to have the heaviest concentration of heavy metals compared to milk chocolates because of the high concentration of cacao. Although it is fact that dark chocolate carries more health benefits than milk chocolates, sourcing your dark chocolate responsibly needs to become a big part of the decision-making process to avoid toxic ingredients. Here is TestSharing’s list of chocolate brands we love, and brands we advise to avoid.
Chocolate Brands We Love
Smaller companies are regulated more closely, and commonly contain more genuine ingredients. The more local the company, the better, not only for your health but for the community and environment. Brands that are on the safer side include: Whitman's Candies Inc, Pascha, Endangered Species, Alter Eco, Taza, Green and Blacks, Lindt, Pure7, Theo, Chocolove, Scharffen Berger, Lily’s, Toblerone, and Wild Harvest.
Chocolate Brands to Avoid
The more commercial the company, the more unregulated the ingredients are, leading to higher contamination. Large commercial brands produce in massive quantities, so adding additives instead of real ingredients is often the case to cut costs. Brands that have higher contamination rates include: Hershey’s, Kit Kat, Dove Chocolate, Nestle, Cadbury, Brookside, Mars, Newmans, Ritter Sport, and Ghirardelli.
Consuming the carcinogenic additives found is these types of candy can lead to heart disease, insulin resistance, and have even been linked to hyperactivity and attention deficit disorders in children. Although the Food and Drug Administration seems to disagree, there is no safe level of lead for children. Lead is used in manufacturing, mining, and fossil fuels. Lead exposure is linked to a variety of neurological impairments, including learning disabilities, lower IQ levels, and even seizures. Cadmium is often found in manufacturing procedures like electroplating, which is the process of the breakdown of other types of metals. Not only is cadmium a serious toxin, but it has also been linked to neurobehavioral impairment in children, and can cause damage to the liver, kidney, and bones in adults. Lead and Cadmium are two of the 420 toxins that TestSharing tests for — just use our app to scan the barcode of the chocolate you chose for your Valentine to make sure it’s clean and safe! Stay tuned: We will be testing a few of the most popular Valentines Day chocolates for pesticides and heavy metals. Gift your sweet-toothed Valentine a box of safe and toxic-free chocolates made with love, not with chemicals.