The difference between cacao and cocoa

It’s a question asked by my patients all the time.

To simplify things, cacao and cocoa are actually the same things. They both come from the same plant originally – the cocoa bean. The production of each of the powders is what differentiates them. With traditional cocoa they take the beans and roast them at a pretty high temperature, then they grind them up into cocoa powder.

What happens with cacao is the raw bean is ground up into powder, so any type of cooking and processing actually reduces the nutritional content of foods. In the case of cacao vs. cocoa, the cacao is superior because it has a higher amount of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals because it’s in its natural state.

Now in saying that, cocoa isn’t bad for you – it still contains some antioxidants. So if you eat something likedark chocolate, you will still get some antioxidants, but it is just not as amazing as having cacao.

So, I don’t think cocoa particularly needs to be avoided, but if you have a choice and you’re using it in smoothies etc., I would really go for cacao just because you’ll get that little bit more bang of, vitamins and minerals.

Transcript: Wheat Free vs Gluten Free – 2 Minutes to Health

In this episode I’m going to talk about wheat free versus gluten free.

Hi, I am naturopath Katherine Maslen, welcome to Two Minutes to Health. In today’s episode I’m going to be talking about wheat free versus gluten free. So the deal is that if something is gluten-free it’s also wheat free. However if something is wheat free it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is gluten-free because there is a lot of other grains that contain gluten as well, as wheat containing gluten there is also rye, spelt or kamut or khorasan which is another name for it. There’s also barley and triticale.

All of those grain also contain gluten but they are wheat free essentially. The difference is that if you’re eating a wheat free product it might not actually be gluten-free but it might actually be okay on your digestive system because the gluten in this product is a little different than it is in wheat. Wheat contains a lot of gluten, the gluten protein molecules are quite big whereas the proteins in spelt, Kamut and rye are actually a lot more digestible. A lot of people find that if they eliminate wheat rather than gluten, their digestive system is okay.

On the other hand there are people who just can’t tolerate gluten whatsoever. So if you can’t have gluten you can’t have any of those grains and it has to be gluten-free. Your gluten-free grains are going to be things like rice, corn, millet, amaranth, quinoa and buckwheat. They are the kind of gluten-free grains that you’re looking for. So remembering that wheat free doesn’t necessarily mean gluten-free. If it is gluten-free it is not going to have any wheat or gluten in it.

I am naturopath Katherine Maslen this has been Two Minutes to Health. Please subscribe to my channel and if you do have a question, please leave it in the box below and I will be happy to answer it.

Green smoothies are an excellent addition to a healthy diet. They are high in minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium which are more easily absorbed due to the blending process. Green smoothies are very easy to make – all you need is some green leafy veggies, fruit, water and ice. You can also make green smoothies with veggies and there are many superfoods that you can add to them to make them even more nutritious.

Cambridge University released the results of a study on saturated fat last month that has turned the mainstream health community on its head about the matter. Saturated fat has been given a bad wrap by the medical community for a very long time. It has been blamed for obesity and heart disease, with the promotion of low fat products being standard practice for years.

As those that are patients of mine will know, I have always been against the use of low fat products as a health tool – they have no health benefit and in fact are often unhealthier than their full fat counterparts.

Much of the information that has been propagated about saturated fat is without much scientific ground. In fact there is mounting evidence that low fat products are detrimental to our health. The nurse’s health study even found that a high intake of low fat dairy caused an increase in infertility.

This new study shows that saturated fat does not increase cholesterol or ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, event though this is what is what the heart foundation claims that is does.

Cutting out saturated fat from the diet poses several health issues – it can lead to a deficiency in the fat soluble vitamins A and D, which are found in butter and other full fat dairy products. When it is replaced with highly processed polyunsaturated fats such as margarine, it can cause increases in LDL cholesterol and lead to hardening of the arteries. Low fat products are also often high in sugar, which is the real culprit when it comes to obesity and heart disease.

Saturated fat is an important part of a healthy diet and should be included in meals in small amounts. Use butter instead of margarine and eat the skin off your chicken if it’s organic. Coconut oil is another very healthy saturated fat source that you can eat daily to improve your fat profile.

Check in with a qualified naturopath to get your diet analyzed to find the right balance of fats for you.

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