At first glance, Raw Cacao (pronounced “ca-cow”) and Cocoa Powder appear the same, but these two are more different than we think. They both are made from the cacao bean and share the same powder-like consistency, but the main difference lies in the way that each are processed. As a result, we end up with two similar looking substances that have completely different properties.
Cocoa (pronounced “co-co”) is the common one that is found in most grocery stores and usually comes in either powder or syrup form. They contain lots of added sugar and are heavily processed at high temperatures, which removes all of its nutritional value.
Raw cacao powder on the other hand, is minimally processed so it retains all of its antioxidants and nutrients (thus why it’s considered to be a ‘superfood’). Using cacao powder can benefit you when it is both eaten or used in skincare, and though it is not readily available in most stores, you can find it online or Marshalls and TJ Maxx sometimes carry it in their health food section.
Cacao powder can be added to different baking recipes and even smoothies. For my hot cocoa lovers who like to indulge in hot chocolate but still tend to their health, try using cacao powder instead of those regular hot cocoa mixes that are full of sugar, corn syrup, and other stuff. You’ll just have to add your own natural sweetener.
In overall, just be aware that there is a difference between the two. And I’m not saying that cocoa should be completely avoided, but I am suggesting that replacing it with raw cacao is worth it!
Photo credit: Joyous Health