Are Chocolate Chips Paleo?

Everyone enjoys a delicious Paleo treat from time to time. And one of the main ingredients in many of the more common Paleo treats is chocolate chips. And while chocolate by itself is Paleo friendly and has numerous health benefits you need to be selective when choosing chocolate chips. Many of the chocolate chips you can buy in the store are not paleo at all. What? I thought chocolate was Paleo. Yes, it is as long as there is no added sugar. Unfortunately most brands add sugar to sweeten the chocolate, making your chocolate goodie, not so Paleo after all. So if you want to keep what you’re eating truly Paleo friendly we’ll break down the ingredients and sugar content of various brands of chocolate chips on the market.

A general rule of thumb to keep in mind when selecting chocolate chips is to go with dark chocolate. The darker the chocolate the higher percentage of cacao. As the percentage of cacao increases, the percentage of sugar decreases. Generally a goal of at least 50% cacao in your chocolate is a starting point and percentages of 75% and higher are ideal. Cacao nibs that are 100% cacao are ultimately the best but they don’t have the “chocolate” taste you may be accustomed to.

So let’s look at some common brands and what they add to their chocolate chips...

First let’s look at Nestle Semi-Sweet Morsels:

Nestle Semi-sweet Chocolate
Nestle Chocolate Chip ingredients

While they might have the rich chocolate taste you love, they really don’t qualify as Paleo. A quick look at the ingredients shows that the very first ingredient is sugar. The nutrition information shows a teaspoon serving has 8 grams of sugar. So this brand really should be avoided.

Next let’s look at Hersey’s Special Dark Chocolate Chips: 

Hershey Special Dark Chocolate Chips
Hershey Dark Chocolate Chip Ingredients

While they are labeled dark chocolate the first ingredient again is sugar. Again in this brand there is 8 grams of sugar in a single serving. So this just goes to show you even though it might be labeled as “dark” chocolate, you need to investigate further and see what’s really in it.

A very popular brand that many Paleo websites recommend are the Enjoy Life Dark Morsels:

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels
Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels Ingredients

 The first ingredient is unsweetened chocolate, and the second and only other ingredient is cane sugar. They list a single serving with 5 grams of sugar.

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