Eat This! > Special Diets > Raw Food > Raw Cacao Nibs

Raw Cacao Nibs

Last updated on July 26, 2005

If you read Rachel’s post on the history of chocolate, then you know that chocolate is very bitter in its raw state before sugar is added. However, there are those who feel raw cacao is a “super food” that can be beneficial health-wise. I recently purchased a bag of raw cacao nibs to test this super food for myself. On first taste, I cringed because the nibs were indeed very bitter. After I ate some more, I got somewhat used to them but I wouldn’t say they are delicious on their own, straight out of the bag. So I decided to add some to my banana-carob-coconut smoothie and the result was pretty good. It added just the perfect amount of chocolatey crunch and the sweetness of the banana offsets the bitterness of the cacao.

I wouldn’t recommend eating too much raw cacao. Because it’s a stimulant, it may affect people in different ways. If caffeine affects you in a negative way, raw cacao may also do so. Raw cacao is very popular in the raw food community and among raw foodists there is much debate over whether it’s really healthy or not. You have to decide for yourself whether you feel something containing a natural stimulant is good for you. I personally prefer to get my stimulation elsewhere, but a few nibs thrown into my smoothie is, I feel, not going to be a big deal.

Will I buy another bag of raw cacao? Well, I’m not sure. The bag I have is so big that it will take me a year to go through it, considering I’m just sprinkling a few into my smoothies now and then. I guess that will give me some time to decide. In the meantime, I’m going to keep researching the subject and reading all the pros and cons. We know for sure that dark chocolate is good for us, so is raw cacao just as good? Worse? Better?

Have you tried raw cacao? I’d love to hear opinions on this. It’s definitely a controversial topic.

Leave a Reply

11 Comments on "Raw Cacao Nibs"

6 years 2 months ago

Hey, can anyone answer this… are nibs, crushed roasted cacao beans?
If so, how can the nibs be considered raw if nibs are basically pieces of cacao beans that have been roasted, hulled and prepped?

6 years 5 months ago

Thanks for all the helpful thoughts and experiences! I can certainly attest to cacao being a stimulant: I had no idea, and while I was tired and a little cranky earlier this evening, after munching on just a little bit of the stuff I’m still awake and feeling very good — not in an altered state at all, just alert and positive. I’ll be making nibs a regular part of my diet, that’s for sure.

6 years 6 months ago

Raw Cocoa IS a super food. It IS better than natural dark chocolate. Go to and look it up. As a snack, I drink 4-6 ounces of red wine almost daily, along with a small square of 100 cocoa chocolate. Natural fat burner, antioxidant, no sugar, fiber, protein … I’m glad I can set the record straight.

6 years 9 months ago

I actually like the taste of raw nibs. I put them in cereal in the morning, which is usu. some sort of muesli with fresh fruit. I don’t find them too bitter at all.

I also like hot cocoa made with just pure cocoa powder in hot water. Maybe it’s just me, but if you leave sugar out you may get to prefer the real taste of cocoa, as I do… There’s a doctor who studied the Kuna tribes off Panama, who thinks cacao should be recognised as a vitamin.

6 years 10 months ago

THIS! is how you eat raw cacao nibs…I enjoy them for my breakfast everyday – but beware they are addictive! I toast a piece of bread (the denser the better – Healthy Delites Org. dark spelt bread is my preferred)…then spread some raw agave on the warm toast…then shake some raw chocolate powder on top of the agave..shake off excess…then sprinkle generous amounts of raw cacao nibs on top…oh my God – delicious!!! My favourite food of the moment

Douglas Taylor
7 years 3 days ago

My doctor diagnosed me with high blood pressure and high cholesterol four years ago in 2004. I was put on blood pressure medication and it reduced my bp slightly. My wife came back from a trip to England with cocoa nibs which I thought tasted terrible. I read about raw cocoa nibs and started mixing them in smoothies in large quantities. Delicious! And they made me feel good,I never liked caffeine but this was a different effect. Long story short I quit taking the bp medication and and my bp seemed normal. I now enjoy raw nibs often and my last bp numbers were 106 over 66 the lowest ever. Does it have anything to do with raw cacao, I don’t know the caffeine seemed to reduce my appetite so I also lost 15 pounds. This was the only changes in my diet and lifestyle so for me it seems to be beneficial both for health and mood enhancement.

7 years 11 months ago

I don’t think it’s meant to be eaten as much. It’s definately not tasty on its own, and I believe it’s for a reason. I’ve had negative effects from it, same as with alcohol, caffeine and tobacco. I believe it’s equally addictive and it makes sense why those who rave about it all the time act a bit strange! It’s a powerful stimulant aka drug. Handle with care.

8 years 11 days ago

It’s safe to say that I am pro-raw cacoa. I’ve been on a 5# bag for about a month now and enjoy the feeling like it’s always going to be there. After my initial purchase of 8oz. I quickly got the feeling that I didn’t want to go long without my chocolate.

Yes, it has a touch of drug-like qualities. But that’s life. Maybe for those who don’t like any ZOW! in their nibblins, a warning could be spread around or placed on packages. But for me, I sometimes use it like coffee or like wine. It can relax or stimulate, depending on what you want to get from it.

That’s that,

Chris (pro-chocolate)

ps. I do the goji & cacoa trail mix too. Love it. Keep it in the car sometimes.

8 years 3 months ago

I eat raw chocolate every day…for breakfast and dessert. I use it for the fiber, the protein, and of course…the anti-oxidants. Cacao beans are one of the richest source of anti-oxidants on the planet! 7 times the anti-oxidant power of the regular store bought dark chocolate! 80 pounds of blueberries equals one jar of Raw Chocolate goodness. It is super high in sulphur and magnesium…it is truly a beautifying food inside and out. I just now researched if there was such a thing as too much raw chocolate… because I have not noticed anything negative…and it is soo yummy that I wonder if there is such a thing as too much. That is how I was led here. But still…I have not found any kind of evidence that what I am doing is bad. It seems quite good actually! I have not experienced any kind of low…my mind is extremely happy all of the time. In fact…I think I smile 50% more than I used to! Which is a lot because I LOVE to smile!! :)

Plus every day I am making new and exciting dishes with my raw chocolate nibs, powder, beans and what have you. I like to mix some kind of fruit in the morning…mangoes are good…no honey needed…they are perfectly sweet on their own. Or of course coconut butter…raw chocolate and coconut butter are a match made in heaven! At night I’ll mix some kind of nut butter, maca, carob…about an hour before bed. It has never made me stay up…my mind is just brimming with love for life! It is a very different feeling than other caffeinated products. I’m always glowing..perhaps that has something to do with the flavanoids in raw chocolate…that absorb UV light helping to protect my skin.

I’m a firm believer…tried and true. That raw chocolate is extremely good for you!!


8 years 7 months ago

I am after the antioxidants more than the stimulants, but I do not object to feeling good. I am eating cacao nibs mixed 50/50 with dried Goji berries, right now. The berries are chewy and provide ample sweetness. Trail mix of the gods!

9 years 5 months ago

i went on an all cacao diet for one week where i ate cacao, water (and some minimal amounts of other foods) the results were very intense. When eating around a pound, or a pound and a half, i felt like i was in heaven and met many intersting people, who i felt i truly loved as people. My body would occasionally shake in pleasure and my the mornings would seem like dreams while the nights would seem more like incredible adventures probably due to the fact that i had more energy durring this time. I explained this feeling to some friends of mine in a more “in depth” way and they decided to try it for themselves. One of them had done the drug ecstacy a few times and after eating around a pound told me (with a large grin) that the feeling was almost identicle. Cacao is one of the most complex foods known to man. It contains many compounds including; Anandamide (which is beggining to be known in the science world as the bliss chemical), Dopamine (increases mental concentracion as well as dampers the feeling of hunger) PEA (the same chemical released by our brains when we are in love), Seratonin (anti stress neurotransmitter, MDMA (ecstacy)causes the brain to generate seratonin), Tryptophan (an anti depresscent, needed in the creation natural seratonin in the brain), and MAO inhibitors which allow these neurotransmitters to flow throughout the brain and body for a longer amount of time and faster. And much much more. It is also very good for the heart and liver…. reasearch it, or try eating a pound and you will understand. And I personally experienced no “come down” . I went up very fast and came down to a point above where i had started. And after this I felt i had a new understanding on life so i felt satisfaction even after there was no more traces of cacao in my body. this is just a personal experience although i have done much research on the subject.