If there is one treat that has millions of fans around the world, it is chocolate. Among them, dark chocolate has gained popularity in recent years thanks to its potential health benefits, supported by studies suggesting, among other things, improved heart health, as well as relatively low sugar levels. However, behind this culinary pleasure lies a dark truth.

A survey published in the American magazine ‘Consumer Reports’ (CR), revealed that the majority of dark chocolate bars contain cadmium and lead, heavy metals linked to various health problems, both in children and adults. In this sense, as the chocolate industry seeks to reduce these levels, consumers are thinking about the possible risks posed by these sugary treats.

The investigation

CR scientists analyzed 28 dark chocolate bars from different brands, from the smallest like Alter Eco and Mast, to the most recognized like Dove and Ghirardelli. The results were revealing, all the ingots contained cadmium and lead. In 23 of them, consuming just one ounce per day could expose an adult to harmful levels according to public health and CR experts.

The danger is obvious, especially for pregnant women and young children, as constant exposure to these metals can affect development and impact IQ. However, the risk is not limited to these populations, as frequent exposure to lead in adults can cause nervous system problems, hypertension and the suppression of the immune systemamong other problems.


However, despite these worrying results, Tunde Akinleye, principal investigator of the CR food security study, points out that no need to completely give up chocolate and reveals that although most of the bars tested had worrying levels of heavy metals, five of them had relatively low levels. “This shows that it is possible for companies to produce products with fewer heavy metals and for consumers to find safer products that they like,” reveals the researcher.