Cacao and cocoa may sound similar, but both of them are unique when it comes to taste, nutrition, and cost.
CACAO is the purest form of chocolate you can consume, which means it is raw and much less processed than cocoa powder or chocolate bars. It’s thought to be the highest source of antioxidants of all foods and the highest source of magnesium of all foods.
Cacao nibs are simply cacao beans that have been chopped up into edible pieces, much like chocolate chips without the added sugars and fats.
Cacao powder contains more fiber and calories than cocoa powder since more of the nutrients from the whole bean are still intact.
COCOA is the term used to refer to the heated form of cacao that you probably grew up buying at the store in the form of cocoa powder.
Though cocoa may seem inferior to raw cacao, it’s actually very good for you (and less expensive) if you choose a variety without added sugars and milk fats or oils.
Cocoa powder is produced similarly to cacao except cocoa undergoes a higher temperature of heat during processing. Surprisingly, it still retains a large amount of antioxidants in the process and is still excellent for your heart, skin, blood pressure, and even your stress levels.
If you buy cocoa powder, be sure you buy plain cocoa powder, not cocoa mixes, which often contain sugar.
You can use cocoa powder and cacao powder interchangeably in baking recipes, smoothies, oatmeal, cookies, homemade raw treats, or even stir them into your coffee for a homemade mocha.
Both cacao and cocoa are highly nutritious for you and are sure to satisfy your chocolate cravings around the clock! If you want more nutrients, I would suggest you choose cacao, but if you want less calories and decent source of antioxidants, then definitely go with cocoa powder.