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PGPR - Leave my Chocolate Alone

Updated on August 5, 2012

One day a friend of mine offered me a piece of chocolate. Since it is a sin to deny free chocolate I took a piece. As I opened the wrapper I notice it was sugar-free. Although I don't understand the point in buying sugar-free chocolate I ate it anyway. I never buy sugar-free products because I hate the overly chemical taste of artificial sweeteners. Much to my surprise this didn't have the chemically weird taste I was expecting. Since it was a small piece of candy from a larger bag there weren't any ingredients listed on the package.

I'm an avid label reader when it comes to food ingredients and I had to know what was in this chocolate. My friend Google and I began an online search to find what was hidden in this chocolate. Turns out it was sweetened with maltitol, a sugar alcohol. Reading up on maltitol I learned that it really isn't much different than plain ol' sugar. Sugar has 4 calories per gram and maltitol has 3. Plus, if you eat too much maltitol it can cause intestinal discomfort such as gas, cramping, and diarrhea.

The maltitol wasn't much of an issue for me since I was only eating one piece of candy but I wanted to know what in the heck PGPR was. It stands for polyglycerol polyricinoleate

a yellowish, viscous liquid comprised of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil. It may also be polyglycerol esters of dimerized fatty acids of soya bean oil.1

Now doesn't that sound delicious? So, what was it doing in my chocolate? In 2006 chocolate manufacturers began using it to enhance the texture of chocolate coatings to make them smoother. What really disturbed me is that chocolate manufacturers are removing cocoa butter from the chocolate and replacing it with PGPR. It turns out that cocoa butter can be sold for a higher price to the cosmetics industry.


Cocoa Butter

Typically people associate the word butter with an unhealthy diet. There are several health benefits when a person eats chocolate and cocoa butter is no exception. It contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat, which has been shown to raise the good HDL cholesterol levels and lower the bad LDL cholesterol. Oleic acid is the reason people are urged to eat olive oil. Monounsaturated fats help the blood vessels of the body stay smooth.

One cup of cocoa butter contains 3.9mg of Vitamin E and 53.9mg of Vitamin K.2Vitamin E aids the circulatory system by dilating the blood vessels. If the vessels have a greater diameter there is less pressure throughout the system. Vitamin E also helps prevent platelets from sticking to the walls of the arteries.3 When these platelets break free they travel through the circulatory system often causing a heart attack, stroke, or pulmonary embolism. Vitamin K is essential in the body's clotting process. Whenever you cut yourself there is a chemical reaction that occurs in the body that eventually keeps the cut from bleeding. Vitamin K may also decrease the risk of bone fractures by preventing bone loss.

Cocoa butter also contains 438mg of phytosterols per cup.2 Studies have shown that 2 grams of phytosterols per day can lower LDL cholesterol by 10%.4 The cholesterol lowering effects of phytosterols can be seen within 2 weeks.


Laboratory test have been conducted to test the safety of PGPR. It was found to be 98% digested by rats and it was not carcinogenic in a 2 year rat or 8 week mouse study.5 The Center for Science in the Public Interest has compiled a list of food additives and given each of them one of three ratings. A red 'X' indicates the additive should be avoided, yellow scissors mean cut back, and a green check mark indicates that it appears to be safe. According to their extensive list PGPR is considered safe.

I searched the internet for the health benefits of PGPR and couldn't find any. Food is meant to nourish the body and not fool the mouth.

Dear Chocolate Industry,

Please leave my chocolate alone and do not switch the cocoa butter with PGPR. I am an avid label reader and I'm on to your game. I'm also sharing your dirty trick with my fellow chocolate lovers.


Jennifer Essary


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    • profile image

      Cynthia James 2 years ago

      I can' t believe this but i am glad I found the article and will start to read labels. This is just madness all for the all mighty dollar.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image

      FullOfLoveSites 4 years ago from United States

      Removing the cocoa butter from chocolates with PGPR? That's madness!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 5 years ago from Idaho

      lemonkerdz I completely agree with eating proper food because your body knows exactly what to do with real fats and sugars. I'm not a huge sugar fan so I thankfully gravitate towards the darker chocolates. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your time and thoughts.

    • lemonkerdz profile image

      lemonkerdz 5 years ago from LIMA, PERU

      If you are going to have a chocolate, have a propper one (unless you are diabetic). like most normal food, eat in moderation and you will be fine.

      So if it has proper butter, proper sugar or whatever then at least your body knows what to do with it to process it. Let the rats eat what they want but i want proper food thanks. Thanks for the great hub.

    • profile image

      iamaudraleigh 5 years ago

      I am learning so much that is new every day!!! I love chocolate! However, all the yucky they put in...oh dear! Thank you for the valuable info! Voted up and shared indeed!!!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Thank you Tammy : ) They say a jealous women can do better research than the FBI. They should also watch their backs when it comes to messing with our chocolate because we support the industry.

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 6 years ago from North Carolina

      I agree. It is dangerous to mess with my chocolate. Soemone will get hurt. :) Great job!

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Angela, Welcome to the club : ) We chocoholics have to stand together and tell them to leave our chocolate alone. Thank you for your kind words : )

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 6 years ago from Central Texas

      As a confirmed chocoholic I'm not only impressed with your findings and reporting but will absolutely join your Leave My Chocolate Alone Club -- count me in! Great read and enjoyed the info. Best, Sis

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      poetvix, You are probably correct in assuming the safest food comes from your garden. You don't want to know what's in the rainwater but rain falls everywhere so it doesn't matter who grows it. Watching the TODAY show one morning Willard Scott pointed out that it was always the gardeners who saw their 100+ birthday. Happy gardening and chocolate eating : )

    • poetvix profile image

      poetvix 6 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

      Yes! Back off my chocolate. Is nothing to be left pure? Is anything safe? Thanks bunches for the heads up. I'm starting to think the only thing safe to ingest is what comes out of my own garden. Considering I don't know what's in the rain, I'm not really sure about it.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      alocsin and hoteltravel, I agree with you both that chocolate is a favorite food. In order of preference I like dark, white, and then milk. Milk chocolate seems like the generic version of dark. But who am I to kid when really I'm a bit promiscuous when it comes to all three : ) Thank you both for the votes and your time : )

    • hoteltravel profile image

      hoteltravel 6 years ago from Thailand

      Thanks Jennifer for your well-researched article. My one and only weakness is dark chocolate. I will do without them rather than eat ones with artificial sweeteners. Voting up and awesome.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 6 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Thank you for this defense of one of my favorite foods. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 6 years ago from Idaho

      Missolive and Sunshine, your comments bring smiles to my face. I definitely felt like I'd been given the shaft when I learned what was in my chocolate. Yes, CHOCOLATE MUST NOT BE MESSED WITH! It is a sacred component of the female spirit. Thanks for voting and sharing your thoughts : )

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I 2nd your letter Jennifer. How dare them try to mess with our chocolate! Keep on hubbin'! #8 yay!

    • missolive profile image

      Marisa Hammond Olivares 6 years ago from Texas

      who is messing with our chocolate?!

      Great job Jennifer. I learned a few things. I did now about malitol. I also agree with you on the nasty chemical taste of sugar free products and additives. ugh! I'd rather not have any at all. Thank you for the additional footnotes and links.

      voted up and useful/interesting :)