PGPR, mmmm…

wait what’s that???

Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR) is a clear, light brown, viscous liquid made from castor oil and it’s lurking in our chocolate.

<pause for indignant responses>

I know right!?!  That’s what I said!

I’m really trying to clean up my diet to make sure I’m doing what I can for my training but I like to indulge every now and then.  Chocolate is one of those things I like to indulge in.  At work we have a snack bar.  It’s pretty much our open vending machine and I steer clear of everything in there with the exception of sunchips, water and Reeses (the fun size).  Chocolate and Peanut Butter are to me the Brad and Angelina of the candy world. On Friday, I was indulging in a Reeses when I decided to take a look at the ingredients on the wrapper and noticed: PGPR.  I was immediately intrigued and wondered what it was.  That’s when I found the aforementioned information.  I honestly didn’t know too much about castor oil other than it’s a lubricant for wheels.  I looked that up too and found that natural castor oil was first identified as a laxative and lubricant.  It was also used as an aircraft lubricant during WW I.  Why would our dear chocolate makers want to put this chemical in our chocolate?  Money of course.

PGPR is used as an emulsifier to make the chocolate smoother which results in a thinner coating of chocolate.  Less chocolate means less chocolate costs.  The lower cost also comes from replacing most of the cocoa butterfat in chocolate with the PGPR.  But what do they do with the butterfat?  That’s the expensive part of cocoa actually and they sell it to the cosmetic companies.  Wanna see something ironic?

but it's just so good for you!

It just so happens that all of those anti-oxidants that chocolate has are in the cocoa butter fat. Hershey’s site does not have a listing on its ingredients and my camera is not capable of getting the detail of an ingredient listing on a bag of chocolate so you’re just going to have to trust me on this.  The listing goes:  Sweet Chocolate (sugar; chocolate; cocoa butter; cocoa processed with alkali; milk fat; lactose; soy lecithin; PGPR, Emulsifier; vanillin, artificial flavor; milk)

I didn’t find much on the effects of PGPR in humans.  However, while I never thought that a Reeses was good for you, I didn’t think it had crap like this in it; not to mention that the couple pieces of dark chocolate weren’t supposed to be bad at all.  If I’m getting chocolate, it’s going to be real quality chocolate from now on.

It looks like Hershey’s, Nestle, and I will be breaking up.   Grrrr . . .

Sources:

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/fcn/gras_notices/grn000270.pdf

http://www.castoroilhome.com/

http://candyrecapper.com/pgpr.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyglycerol_polyricinoleate

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