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Ask the Experts

Does Milk Neutralize Cocoa Compounds?

by Berkeley Wellness  

Q: Does adding milk to cocoa neutralize cocoa’s potentially beneficial compounds?

A: It’s unclear how much of an effect milk has on the absorption of cocoa flavonoids, compounds in chocolate that have been linked to potential health benefits. In theory, milk proteins may bind to the flavonoids in cocoa, limiting their absorption. But while some studies have found reduced flavonoid absorption when people drank cocoa made with milk versus cocoa made with water, others have found no significant effect.

Keep in mind that most cocoa is treated with alkali (“Dutched” or “Dutch-process”), which greatly reduces the flavonoids, so the effect of the milk may not matter much anyway. What’s more, the health benefits of cocoa flavonoids are far from certain, while those of milk are known. So keep adding milk to your cocoa as a good source of calcium and protein.

Also see Sweet News About Chocolate.