Saturday, March 3, 2012

Trending Now: Cocoa Nibs

There's nothing like daytime television. On my days off I enjoy watching The Nate Berkus show, and occasionally I will catch the Dr. Oz show. The other day while watching Dr. Oz he spoke about cocoa nibs and how wonderful they are for us to eat as far as health benefits go. I immediately wrote this off as being the same thing as chocolate, and therefore something I can not eat because chocolate is not SCD legal. But then I went on the Internet and did some research. Turns out cocoa nibs are actually the beans (taken out of their husks and roasted) off of the Cocoa tree.

According to the Oxford Food & Nutrition Dictionary cocoa nibs are: "Seeds of the cocoa plant, Theobroma cacao, are left to ferment, which modifies the bitterness, and their colour darkens. They are then roasted and separated from the husks as two halves of the seed known as cocoa nibs. They contain about 50% fat, part of which is removed in the preparation of chocolate and cocoa for beverages."

I see no reason as to why I cannot eat these. I understand that chocolate always has sugar added, which explains why no matter how many stores I looked in I could never find a bar that was more than 70% cocoa. I know that carob is also not legal, but after doing some research on that I found that carob: contains a sweet edible pulp and seeds that yield a gum used as a stabilizer in food products. Perhaps because the seeds are associated with gum (which of all sorts is SCD illegal) carob itself was made to be entirely illegal. In any case, I still cannot reason as to why cocoa nibs would be counterproductive to eat. I actually ate about 3 of the nibs right after I ordered a bag and I had no ill-effects. This could have been a fluke since they are so tiny, but what if they are just fine and I am depriving myself of the chocolatey essence they carry? Such a battle. Personally, I am going to say they are fine to eat on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, I will test them out myself. I know several other bloggers to eat chocolate and use it in their "SCD safe" recipes but I know that is wrong. Cocoa nibs on the other hand, I think I will accept the challenge. They are very bitter and taste like unsweetened dark chocolate, but I assume that if I bake them into a sweet treat it will be more of a chocolatey taste since the surrounding batter will be sweet. We shall see.


  1. Crohn's Wife,

    Cocoa nibs are strictly illegal. As you say, they are the cocoa beans and cocoa powder is also made from the bean. The BTVC bans cocoa powder so by extension the cocoa nibs are not allowed. I believe it is the chemical compounds in the beans that gave Elaine concern. The only product derived from the cocoa plant that is legal is pure cocoa butter. Search the BTVC-SCD group for confirmation.

    Paul Stocker

  2. Humm, thank you that is a good point Paul. I did some more research on this and discovered that cocoa butter and cocoa powder are both derived from the bean, or nib. Thus the bean/nib is basically cocoa butter + cocoa powder, pre-extraction and processes. The reason they are so high in fat is probably because they can be easily pressed and made into butter, and leaving behind powder. I will give some more thought as to weather or not to add these to my diet. I'll check with my naturo doctor too and see what he says. Thanks!

  3. Hello, since last comment on march 4th 2012, have you changed your mind towards cocao nibs or do you still eat it whitout side effects? I just bought one bag this morning, i'm hesitating to taste it :)

    Thanks for your brilliant recipes