Theobromine? (again)

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created June 24, 2011 at 3:47 AM

I know this has been asked before but.... I have attributed my body's displeasure with chocolate (even 85% dark) to possible gluten cross-reactivity, but then I started looking at theobromine...

it is said "when consumed in small enough amounts it's okay."

  1. If it is a toxin this seems to be similar logic to drinking diet coke.

  2. Isn't chocolate from a bean? (which we all try and avoid)

  3. It can kill a dog

(from wiki)

  • "Theobromine is known to induce gene mutations in lower eukaryotes and bacteria."

  • "genetic mutations had been found in higher eukaryotic cells, specifically cultured mammalian cells, but the compound was still listed as having inadequate evidence for classification of human carcinogenicity."

  • "Later stages of theobromine poisoning include epileptic-like seizures and death. If caught early on, theobromine poisoning is treatable. Although not usual, the effects of theobromine poisoning, as stated, can become fatal."

Why is dark chocolate okay as a paleo indulgence?



on June 24, 2011
at 11:06 AM

There's more than enough caffeine (~35mg) in a green tea to cause me problems, but then I keep my caffeine intake pretty low these days and therefore and very sensitive.



on June 24, 2011
at 04:47 AM

cacao is not a legume



on June 24, 2011
at 04:41 AM

Green Tea has theobromine and IMO it's an amazing edition to the paleo lifestyle. There isn't enough theobromine or caffeine to cause the negative effects that u get from too much dark chocolate.

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5 Answers



on June 24, 2011
at 05:26 PM

FYI - the fact that chocolate is fatal to dogs doesn't have anything to do with its potential effects on humans. The paleo/primal/JERF community is always finding fault with studies that attempt to use nutritional effects of various foods on lab rats because their digestive systems are so radically different from ours, so we really can't turn around and then do the same type of thing here.

Basically, if you find that it is one of those foods that causes issues for you - then don't eat it. It doesn't for me, so I will. And, as far as I am concerned, BOTH of those are OK along the dietary spectrum that we are working with here.



on June 24, 2011
at 09:28 PM

See this post: http://paleohacks.com/questions/46162/gluten-cross-reactivity#axzz1QEMImJKB The posted has linked a document that talks about cross-reactivity with Gluten. It doesn't mention theobromine, however it does explain why some of us who are sensitive to gluten might react to a few 'random' foods. I have not been well since I went off gluten (IGG positive test) and think maybe its due to this cross-reactivity issue. I don't know why every one is on the contaminated chocolate thing. I am SUPER allergic to soy and have never had a problem with "soy-free" chocolate that was made in the same factory or made my the same brand as soy containing chocolate.



on June 24, 2011
at 12:20 PM

100% cocoa is probably the best anti-aging strategy for the cardiac myocytes. It augments autophagy as we age and all human hearts fail in autophagy. Pass me the chocolate.



on June 24, 2011
at 11:03 AM

It's definitely a toxin and like stimulants such as caffeine, one would expect it to have negative effects. I love cocoa (whatever form), just as I used to love [be hideously addicted to] coffee/tea/mate, but it has obvious potential for harm. That said, as with caffeine, people who value things in life other than optimal health (like being happy, being able to be alert enough to do things) may find substantial value in these stimulants. The main mitigating factor for how bad one would expect caffeine to be (given all of it's acute physiological effects) seems to be that one becomes resistant to it very quickly. Hence, most people, after a few days, aren't strictly speaking experiencing the positive stimulant effects of caffeine, so much as simply counteracting withdrawal symptoms. Taking that into account, it's quite plausible that the other beneficial compounds in these foods might outweigh the negatives of giving your body a big dosage of stress hormones. This may well vary very much by individual however. I know that I have pretty bad reactions to caffeine and especially to tannin-containing sources of caffeine (coffee/tea/cocoa), compared to many people who seem mostly unaffected and even compared to my younger self.

I'd be shocked if it were cross-reactivity from other compounds in the chocolate. I experience exactly the same effects from 70% chocolate as from 100% or raw cocoa beans or plain cocoa. A gram of soy lecithin GMO or not, ought to have no impact on any normal person. In fact, I find that having dairy of some kind with the caffeine substantially reduces the negative downsides (possibly from binding to the tannins and protecting the stomach/gut).



on June 24, 2011
at 05:30 AM

What type of dark chocolate are you eating. There are VERY FEW that don't contain cross contamination from milk, gluten and soy.

And most dark chocolate contains soy, usually GMO. I would highly recommend making sure it's not cross contamination.

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