Cacao and cocoa are derived from the Theobroma cacao plant. Both are made from the beans the plant produces. Cacao differs from cocoa in that it is less processed and thus resembles more the content of the original bean. Studies show that cacao may contain higher levels of antioxidants compared to cocoa, and this has been suggested to make it a superior health food. However, there are a number of factors that need consideration. Firstly, cacao is more than twice the cost of cocoa. Therefore while it may contain higher levels of antioxidants, the consumer can simply consume more cocoa to redress this imbalance. Secondly, cacao is less chocolatey compared to cocoa and so it’s taste is perhaps not as appealing compared to cocoa. Thirdly, cacao is not as widely available compared to cocoa. All of these factors suggest that cocoa is more likely to be consumed by individuals, and as food has to be consumed to have its health effects, cocoa may be a superior health food compared to cacao.
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