Raw Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate: Is there a difference?

Raw Chocolate vs. Dark Chocolate: Is there a difference? | Righteous Cacao

Have you ever wondered just how different raw chocolate is from dark chocolate? While both chocolates offer plenty of antioxidants and minerals, such as magnesium and iron, theyre unique in taste, ingredients, and nutrients.

Here's a list of key differences between raw chocolate and dark chocolate.


  • A main difference between raw chocolate and dark chocolate is the amount of enzymes in each. Raw chocolate has thousands of living enzymes that have been preserved through the chocolate’s processing. All enzymes aid in healthy digestion and overall well-being, as well as enhance the absorption of vitamins and minerals found in raw cacao.
  • Because dark chocolate is heated during processing, the enzymes are removed. However, most raw chocolate is cold pressed into the forms of cacao paste, cacao butter, or cacao powder.

Sugar Content

  • A huge and obvious difference between raw chocolate and dark chocolate is the amount of sugar. On the market, all dark chocolates have added sugar, unless you buy 100% unsweetened chocolate bars for baking, which is actually 100% cacao dark chocolate.
  • Although chocolate baking bars are heated, they’re the closest type of dark chocolate you can purchase that’s similar to raw chocolate. Many raw chocolate brands don’t add refined sugar like dark chocolate, but some may add natural sugars instead. At Righteously Raw, we offer excellent raw cacao bars and raw chocolate macaroons that’ll rid your refined sugar cravings.


  • A third major ingredient difference is milk, which is found in many dark chocolate brands. Raw chocolate, however, has no added milk and is dairy-free. Although some dark chocolates have no added dairy, they do have soy lecithin, coconut milk, or oils; these types of emulsifier’s aren’t allergen-free or natural. Although raw chocolate has no added milk, some brands use raw cacao oil or raw cacao butter as natural, dairy-free sweeteners.


  • Although this word isn’t very familiar to people, it’s important for people to know. Mycotoxins are a form of fungus found on fermented foods, including coffee, mushrooms, peanuts, and even dark chocolate. Raw chocolate, however, prevents mycotoxins through a special processing method; when cacao beans are harvested and crafted into raw chocolate, they’re immediately preserved without heating.
  • Mycotoxins have been linked to weak immune function, yeast growth, and sugar cravings. Although a little dark chocolate isn’t life threatening, it’s always best to purchase and consume raw chocolate if you’re concerned about mycotoxins.


  • Although most people don’t find a taste difference between 100% dark chocolate baking bars and 100% raw chocolate, there are a few subtle differences that make raw chocolate healthier. First, raw chocolate is fresher than dark chocolate. Because dark chocolate contains added sugar, a higher glycemic index, and is more processed, it’s less fresh than raw chocolate.
  • In addition, there’s also a difference between cocoa powder (heated chocolate) and raw chocolate. Cocoa powder is richer in taste and flavor, however, it’s lower in vitamins and antioxidants. Raw chocolate, on the other hand, is nearly twice the antioxidant level compared to dark cocoa powder.

Vitamins and Minerals

  • You probably didn’t know that raw cacao has the most magnesium, iron, Vitamin B, and zinc content per serving, out of all foods. Raw cacao is also the number one antioxidant food in the world. Additionally, raw cacao can fight acne, scars, and aging marks on skin, due to its high sulfur content. Dark chocolate, however, contains fewer minerals and antioxidants because it’s heated and more processed.


  • Last but not least, most raw chocolate originates from Criollo Arriba, which is well-known for its high quality cacao beans. When purchasing raw cacao, always check the label for quality; it’s important to know the origin of the raw chocolate before buying it. In addition, raw chocolate is also caffeine-free, whereas dark chocolate is high in caffeine. If caffeine is a problem for you, then definitely choose raw chocolate.

Whatever chocolate you choose, make sure to avoid added milks and sugars for the healthiest and high quality chocolate!

At Righteously Raw, we offer healthy, vegan, and all-natural raw chocolates to choose from. Start browsing our raw cacao products here.


  • Christine

    I just discovered you! I’ve loved chocolate my whole life and now will feel guilt-free doing so!

  • Kevin Christian Sarte Diez

    Hey, thank you so much for the info, like people now a days trying to make the foods we it taste awesome, but the quality is the down side(process stuff alkali or other refine carbs out their).

    Thanks by the way trying to finds if Dark is a really healthy foods compare to the 100%.

    Pretty sure what I’m going to buy now.

  • Jerome

    Thank you, very educational. Are you saying that you should make your cocao beverege without milk to enjoy a healthier version of chocolate?

  • Lucille Therrien

    Is raw cacao carcinogenic?

  • Milada

    How is it possible that raw chocolate is caffeine free, but dark chocolate is high in caffeine?

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