My question concerns the consumption of pure, unsweetened cocoa. The cocoa to be consumed could either be boiled or mixed with tap water. Its consistency could range from buttery to creamy to soda-like. I could consume the cocoa without any sweeteners or other additives, although occasionally I might add a dash of cinnamon or other spice or even a teaspoon of peanut to sweeten it up a bit. Leaving aside the dietary limits for these occasional additives, is there a practical limit to the amount of cocoa a healthy person could consume per day?

I understand that eating a kilo of anything, even so-called "super foods", could make you sick, but as a practical diet plan, I'm thinking of a regimen that consists of oatmeal with cocoa for breakfast, a lunch of cocoa-coated veggie fries, chilled cocoa with peanut butter or whipped cream for my dinner dessert, and the usual sauces and dips made out of cocoa. In short, every meal will have the dark brown powder as an ingredient.

This isn't an entirely hypothetical question. I've adopted a cocoa-based diet as a means of curbing my unhealthy craving for sweets, having recently learned I have symptoms of prediabetes. By accident I discovered that after eating extra dark chocolate I found my usual bland banana super sweet. After several days of trial, I found I could drink my usual chilled breakfast cocoa without adding milk. The net effect is that I could have a satisfying "dessert" that consists entirely of a teaspoon of skim milk and cinnamon, one-third cup oats diluted in water, and flavored by three tablespoons of cocoa powder!

  • 4
    I would be a little wary of how much I consume, due to possible heavy metal contamination-berkeleywellness.com/healthy-eating/food-safety/article/…
    – JohnP
    Commented Jun 17, 2017 at 0:21
  • I made the mistake of drinking a smoothie made with a cup of cocoa powder recently. About an hour later I was nauseous I was having a headache and felt generally not well. Even the next day I still felt a little off but much better.
    – user19886
    Commented Jun 24, 2020 at 17:16
  • @JohnP Good for an answer
    – paulj
    Commented May 24, 2021 at 17:43

1 Answer 1


Cocoa powder is rich in the nutrients iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorus, and also contains significant amounts of theobromine and caffeine. Overdose information about many of these is hard to come by, but it looks like the limiting factor is going to be either iron or theobromine, with consumption of around 100-300g of cocoa powder being enough to cause symptoms.

And as a side note, it appears that theobromine has appetite-suppressing effects.

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