Pana Chocolate – Raw, Vegan, Organic and Refined Sugar Free September 8, 2014 Australia, healthy products, nutrition, product innovation Pana Chocolate – Raw, Vegan, Organic and Refined Sugar Free Pana chocolate is a vegan, raw, certified organic chocolate that does not contain any gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar and is low GI (talk about running with the trends and being able to make all the “right” claims!). The cute little packaging, down to the wrapping of the chocolate is environmentally friendly and handmade with love in my beloved hometown, Melbourne, Australia. pana chocolate – raw vegan chocolate in Australia Pana chocolate comes in a range of eleven incredible flavours: – Raw cacao – Coconut & goji – Blue green algae – Mint – Nuts – Cinnamon – Fig & wild orange – Sour cherry & vanilla – Rose – Orange – Lucuma gold The main ingredients for Pana chocolate include raw cacao powder, cacao butter, coconut oil and either agave or coconut nectar as a sweetener. Unlike most store-bought chocolates, Pana chocolate uses premium quality, fair trade, cold pressed and unrefined raw cacao beans. This means the beans are unroasted and processed below 45degrees C, so all the enzymes and nutrients are retained. Raw cacao is an excellent source of antioxidants, having higher concentrations than blueberries and green tea (5). Raw cacao is also rich in magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, fiber and protein (Refer to Appendix 1). As many of you would be aware, research has shown that a diet high in antioxidants assists in the prevention of degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease (5), so all in all, if you can replace an otherwise unhealthy dessert with one that you can reap these benefits, it seems like a straight forward move. Pana chocolate nutrition information panel and ingredients list The high fat content in Pana chocolate is due to the presence of virgin cacao butter and coconut oil. Although coconut oil to some is still a controversial food product, Pana chocolate is very confident in its use of coconut oil (as one would hope if they are producing it and making so many nutrition or health claims). Their confidence may stem from there being some interesting studies that suggest the consumption of virgin coconut oil is actually beneficial to lipid profiles (1, 2, 4, 6). The medium chain fatty acids present in coconut oil are immediately broken down and metabolised into energy instead of being stored in adipose tissues; Research also states that virgin coconut oil may actually lowers LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and increases HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol (the good cholesterol) (6)..which ultimately positively effects your blood lipid profile and cardiovascular disease risk. I think further research still needs to be performed however before we say this with any confidence, and if you read my previous article on olive oil vs coconut oil, you will see were I sit more fully on this topic. The sugars present in Pana chocolate are naturally occurring and are a result of the presence of dark agave nectar or coconut nectar; Although agave nectar has a high fructose content (80%), which has gotten a bad wrap over recent years, we must remember that it has a low GI / slow release of energy, and as with any other food product, the main point in my eyes is simply, moderation is key. The agave nectar used in pana chocolate is unrefined, low GI, processed at low temperatures, and does not contain any additives or chemicals (5). A 15g serving of Pana Chocolate (2 blocks) has approximately 3 grams of agave nectar and approximately 2.8 grams of fructose; Basically, a whole bar of Pana Chocolate (45g) contains around 9g of fructose, while a medium sized apple contains around 12g fructose (5). Not that I want to be comparing these two foods as though they are apples for apples (no pun intended), as obviously they provide different micronutrients and other benefits that are of note, however it is still worth seeing this as a comparison, should the fructose content be the reason you would avoid such a product. Pana chocolate – refined sugar free – sweetened with agave or coconut nectar. Even if you are not a huge dark chocolate fan, you might be surprised at how tasty the array of flavours of Pana Chocolate actually are. I find it has a comparatively less bitter taste than many dark chocolates and is smoother in texture (with sweet nodes of indulgent ingredients). Being so rich and decadent, one square block is often enough to satisfy a sweet tooth should you be desiring something chocolate in flavour. organic raw cacao powder nutrition information Australia Nutrients in Cacao powder Per 100 g RDI for 19-30 yr old women per day Magnesium 590 mg 310 mg Calcium 160 mg 1000 mg Fiber 29.3 g 25 g Potassium 1700 mg 4700 mg Iron 7.3 mg 18 mg Phosphorus 960 mg 1000 mg Protein 26 g 46 g References http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/phosphorus http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/iron http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/potassium http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/dietary-fibre http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/calcium http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/magnesium http://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/protein pana chocolate health and nutrition claims on the packaging So there you have it, another innovative product that is definitely already on some of the Australian health food communities radar (and that certainly has some competition over here in the USA), but seems to be constantly expanding their product lines and formulations, so should be worth keeping an eye on to see what comes next! For now, TD x References 1) Dayrit C. Coconut Oil: Atherogenic of Not? (What therefore causes atherosclerosis?) Philippine Journal of Cardiology. 2003;31(3):97–104 2) Feranil, A., Duazo, P., Kuzawa, C., Adair, L., Coconut oil predicts a beneficial lipid profile in pre-menopausal women in the Philippines. Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2011; 20(2): 190–195 3) Goldstein, M., Raw cacao beats processed chocolate in its health benefits. 2014. 4) Nevin, K. G., Rajamohan, T., Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. Clinical Biochemistry. 2004. 5) Pana Chocolate. Retrieved on 17th July 2014 from http://www.panachocolate.com/pages/about 6) Sandage, A., The Everything Coconut Diet Cookbook. 2012 Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.