Nibble your Nibchoc guilt free

Tue Jun 23, 2009 9:40am EDT
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By Eleanor McCausland

OXFORD (Reuters Life!) - A new business in Oxford claims to have found a healthy alternative to the sugar- and dairy-laden chocolate bars often blamed for contributing to a growing obesity crisis in the wealthy Western world.

Nibchoc, a cacao bar marketed as "more than chocolate, without the guilt" is designed in a way that retains the nutritious properties of cacao that are lost in commercial dairy chocolate-making.

Its inventor, Rachel Niblock, was inspired to create the product after working in the NHS.

"My background always involved thinking holistically about what people need," she said. "One of the things which really concerned me was the 'healthy' claim of some products that actually contained a lot of refined sugar and fats, and didn't taste very nice. I don't want to have a healthy product that tastes rubbish."

Nibchoc is designed to provide a satisfying "chocolate hit" without any of the additives found in chocolate. It is made with cacao nibs, from the fruit of the Theobroma Cacao tree, which in their raw state contain over 300 chemical compounds that render them highly nutritious.

However, this nutritional power is diluted in the manufacture of chocolate, which adds dairy and refined sugars.

Nibchoc preserves the benefits of the cacao nib by using healthier alternatives. The bars are sweetened with agave nectar, a low-GI naturally occurring sweetener, and bound together with coconut oil, which has been found to promote the formation of so-called 'good cholesterol' in the body. Because of these natural sugars, most of Nibchoc's products are suitable for diabetics, vegans and coeliacs.

After experimenting with raw cacao in her own kitchen, making bars and wrapping them in cling film, Niblock began selling it to small delis around Oxford. Eight months ago, she left her job to work at Nibchoc full time.   Continued...