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Product Review: TRU Chocolate vs. Xocai

A “True” Comparison, by Doctor Steven Warren, M.D., D.P.A.

Xocai Healthy Antioxidant Chocolate vs. TRU Chocolate – What’s the difference?

I have been approached by a number of people asking my opinion on TRU Chocolate, another “healthy” chocolate being sold via MLM. I conducted a thorough examination of the information and science available, and the following are my conclusions.

TRU Chocolate is a relatively new chocolate product sold through the Youngevity network marketing company. The company itself has been around for years, selling all kinds of health supplements, makeup, home and garden chemicals, and now chocolate. I counted over 80 different items on their product overview webpage.

So, the big question is, how does TRU Chocolate stack up against Xocai, the Healthy Chocolate™?

ORAC Comparison

First off, let’s compare ORAC values. You might remember that ORAC (Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity) is how scientists measure the antioxidant capacities of food and nutritional supplements. The higher the ORAC value, the better the product is in countering the damage done by harmful free radicals in the body.

As with Xocai, one of the main marketing “hooks” with TRU Chocolate is its ORAC value. Youngevity touts that TRU Chocolate has an ORAC rating of 3040 per eight gram piece. This actually compares favorably with Xocai products such as the Xocai Nugget™ (3120 per 12g piece) and X Power Squares™ (3582 per 6g piece).

One big concern I have is that nowhere on the package labeling is there an independent verification of the ORAC claims made by Youngevity about TRU Chocolate. MXI Corp, the manufacturers of the Xocai product line, submits actual products to Brunswick Labs for independent testing and measurement. I have personally spoken with the Brunswick scientists and read their reports, so I’m comfortable that the Xocai ORAC values are properly documented.

My suspicion is that Youngevity has merely taken the ORAC values for different ingredients in their product (we’ll talk more about this later), and used these figures to calculate an ORAC value, rather than actually having their product tested by an independent laboratory.

If we look at a comparison of ORAC value by price, we see that a typical month’s supply of TRU Chocolate is 6 bags (total of 720 grams) of product for $120 (wholesale). That works out to $0.1667 per gram, or $0.0005 per antioxidant ORAC unit ($120/ 237,600 ORAC units total).

A month’s supply of Xocai X Power Squares totals 828g of product, and sells for $110 wholesale. That comes to $0.1328 per gram, or $0.00025 pre antioxidant ORAC unit ($110 / 436,800 ORAC units total).

Clearly, TRU Chocolate costs twice the amount of Xocai X Power Squares™ when compared on a per-ORAC basis.

What’s Inside?

Next, let’s take a look at what’s inside TRU Chocolate.

According to Youngevity’s labeling, TRU Chocolate contains, organic chocolate liquor, organic cocoa butter, xylitol, and a herbal formula of momordica charantia, noni fruit, citrus extract, ellagic acid, green tea extract, Fabanol®, Bioprene®, lectin, and organic lecithin.

“Chocolate liquor” is an industry term for cocoa mass that is produced by taking cocoa beans that have been fermented, dried, roasted and separated from their shells, and grinding the cotyledon at the center.

The problem here is that this method of processing cocoa results in a poor end product in terms of flavanols contained. You might have learned from some of my other work that the flavanols in cocoa are responsible for most of the amazing health benefits science has been uncovering over the past several years.

Only cold processing, a patented method used by MXI Corp in their Xocai™ line of chocolate, preserves enough flavanol content for the chocolate to really be considered “healthy.” Whether the chocolate liquor is “organic” (implying somehow that the chocolate is healthy) is beside the point. How the cocoa is processed determines what health benefits, if any, are retained in the finished chocolate product.

Another concern I have about the ingredients in TRU Chocolate is the caffeine content. The addition of green tea extract, in addition to the cocoa processing method, will result in a product much higher in caffeine than necessary. Sure, caffeine has some weight-reducing properties due to its capacity to increase the body’s metabolism, but there are also quite a few side effects, including “jitteriness,” elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, nausea, sleep difficulty, etc.

Properly processed cocoa will have only trace amounts of caffeine. The true mood-enhancing properties in cocoa are found in a chemical called theobromine, which has none of the unwanted side effects of caffeine.

Along with the added caffeine jitters you might get from TRU Chocolate, you can also expect to experience diarrhea from not only the xylitol (a natural, but by no means “calorie-free” sweetener), but also the Fabanol® (a carbohydrate blocker), as well as Bioprene™ (flavor-enhancement derivative from black peppers).

Let me be clear: such side effects are not generally associated with cocoa. In my opinion, the added ingredients in TRU Chocolate lead to unhealthy weight loss.

Again, for me the “kicker” is that Youngevity does not disclose the amount of flavonoids in their product. And it’s obvious that much of their claim of ORAC comes from the other ingredients added to make up for the lost flavanols in the cocoa.

Both Xocai™ and TRU Chocolate contain the same levels of natural sugars (Xocai uses a low-glycemic raw cane crystals), but pregnant women are strongly (and rightfully) advised in the literature not to consume some of the TRU Chocolate products due to some of the ingredients.

By way of ingredient comparison, Xocai™ uses unprocessed, cold pressed cocoa with cocoa butter; not vegetable oils. The correct amount of cocoa in Xocai products provides quantifiable benefits without the side effects of both the caffeine and xylitol present in TRU Chocolate. The slow released sugars in Xocai (i.e. raw cane crystals) allow Xocai’s patented cocoa to naturally push the sugars into the cells to be used for fuel. Remember, you need sugar to survive, but it must be in the right amounts in addition to being in the correct form. Xocai™ can also be a great source of fiber which is necessary for good health.

Misleading Comparisons

The TRU Chocolate website includes a comparison of their product to Xocai. I just wanted to address some of the misleading representations.

First, while Xocai™ does contain sugar, the sugar in Xocai™ are raw can juice crystals. This is a low-glycemic sugar that does not boost insulin levels in the blood stream like a regular processed sugar. As a matter of fact, Xocai™ products are diabetic friendly.

Next, TRU Chocolate claims to include organic ingredients that Xocai™ does not have. My question here is what support Youngevity gives for their claims of “organic.” Their packaging does not explain exactly what their definition of organic is. Xocai™ products have no artificial colors, artificial flavors, or fillers. This is a claim that TRU Chocolate just cannot make.

Youngevity falsely claims that Xocai™ contains no cocoa butter. Xocai™ chocolate does indeed contain cocoa butter, which is a neutral fat. The Xocai™ labeling identifies this as a saturated fat, which causes panic in some people who think all fats are bad. The truth is that cocoa butter is a scientifically proven neutral (non-absorbed) fat.

Lastly, Youngevity makes the curious claim that the cocoa powder in Xocai™ products is a “chemically processed food that is the ‘waste product’ of the chocolate manufacturing process.” To be honest, I’m not even sure where to begin to address this claim.

Let’s be clear: Xocai™ products use cacao that is blanched, unfermented, sun-dried, non-roasted and cold-pressed, which means it boasts eight times the levels of epicatechins and catechins (flavonoids), and four times the levels of procyanidins (another flavonoid) than cacao produced with standard processing. Xocai™ products (the entire product, not just the separate ingredients) are independently tested by Brunswick Labs, guaranteed to contain the levels of flavonoids and ORAC value found on the packaging.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that TRU Chocolate is a product with insufficient amounts of the right ingredients, and too much of the wrong ones. I fully expect that you will be seeing many more so-called healthy chocolate products coming on the market in the next few years, as science continues to support what we already know about the health benefits of dark chocolate, but unless these products are created with the right formulations and through the correct processes, there won’t be much that is healthy about them at all.

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