Is Chocolate ¿Dangerous?

Is Chocolate ¿Dangerous?

No. But, information *about* chocolate can be.


One of the challenges of the Internet is that bad or wrong information tends to travel faster and stick, ahhh ... sticker? ... than correct information.

I started the TheChocolateWire Curates ¿Dangerous? Videos playlist over on TheChocolateWire YouTube channel where I collect what I think are ¿dangerous? YT videos when I run across them.

It is not my goal, in compiling this list and writing about them, to give these videos more distribution than they already have. And I ask that if you do watch and comment that you do so respectfully. (I tend not to comment, but in some cases I could not restrain myself the information was so bad.)

How I define what a ¿dangerous? video is

  1. The most common form of ¿dangerous? of video is one where the presenter is perceived as being an expert of some sort. This is often some sort of medical credential but it can also be a channel that gains reputation through following.
  2. The next most common form of ¿dangerous? of video is one where the presenter is an enthusiastic amateur whose understanding of the subject is incomplete and they are communicating their incomplete understanding – often without knowing where they are spreading bad or wrong information.
  3. And then, of course, there are presenters who combine the worst of both categories.

The common aspect of all ¿dangerous? videos is their audiences are not educated enough to understand where they are being led astray.

There are some response videos to ¿dangerous? videos or to personalities who fall into category 1 above. Not many – but they do exist.

Category 1: “Experts” leading non-experts astray

The Chocolate Therapist | Julie Nygard

One of the main problems I have with this video is that it benefits from the imprimatur of TED. There is an assumption by many that information presented in TEDx videos is correct and authoritative simply because it bears the TED brand.

Ms Nygard displays in this video, IMO, a simplistic understanding of the healthy components of chocolate, gives outdated advice (e.g., that 70% cocoa content automagically means a chocolate is … “healthy”), a misunderstanding of CFR §21.163 which is where the standards for cacao products are defined, and a miscomprehension about how cacao is processed post-harvest and about how cocoa beans are processed into chocolate. Of course, her audience is comprised of people who do not know enough about cocoa and chocolate to know when she is f*cking up.

Dark Chocolate Benefits - Bitter Dark Chocolate Health Benefits You Wouldn’t Believe Exist

At the time this video was posted, “Dr” Gus is not actually a registered medical professional in the state of Florida. (I checked, these days it’s pretty easy to do this research online.) The click-baity title of this video lures people who have heard that dark chocolate is healthy for you in, and “Dr” Gus uses this interest to shill selling supplements and remote services.

Category 2: Non-experts leading non-experts astray

The Chocolate Taster Episode 2 (Green & Blacks Chocolate)

I initially ran into this person on Reddit where he posted a link to this video. I have to give props to anyone looking to find something to do during lockdown and, upon returning to this video for the first time since I posted it, see that it has not had many views, the channel has very few subscribers, and there have been no more videos posted. This is a reflection of the observation that nothing really every disappears on the Internet.

I leave it as an exercise for the reader to watch these video and let us know in the comments what you think about my assessments. Fair? Biased? Not harsh enough?

Response Videos

David Wolfe - World's Most Dangerous Snake Oil Salesman?

Thomas Westbrook – aka Holy Koolaid – is best known for videos debunking religion in many forms. Here HK takes on David Avocado Wolfe for many of his claims, including claims about cocoa and chocolate. David was an inspiration to many in the earlier days of the raw chocolate movement and is infamous for becoming an infomercial pitchman capitalizing on that “fame.” (If this sounds like poisoning the well ... maybe a bit? ... but at 6:35 into the video DAW claims to be a flat-earther, no ’nuff said.) At 7:05 he claims chocolate lines up planetarily with the sun and then spins out of control from there. The danger here is that even to this day with all of his professed belief in wacky conspiracy theories he commands a huge and hugely loyal global following.

In this video, DAW in(famously) demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the physics of heat transfer. As with many videos in this genre, the “evidence” will convince only those who already are believers.

Requests to Readers

  1. If you think you’ve seen a video on YouTube that sh/could be on my ¿dangerous¿ playlist, please share the link to the video in the comments and I will review it.
  2. If anyone is keen on supporting me in producing response videos I am up to the challenge. However, I  do need better studio equipment and the assistance of someone with stronger editing chops than I have to make it happen. Contact me at[@]thechocolatelife[.]com.

Featured image credit: Original by Mitchel Lensink on Unsplash

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