What's in my Chocolate? What is PGPR???!!!


So… I try to eat natural foods.  Organic if possible.  No chemicals, no preservatives, no antibiotics.  No fungicides.  No genetically modified foods.

Why?  I truly believe the food we eat is making people sick.  I believe that food is contributing to diabetes, heart disease, autism.  Just do some research.  Things you read will surprise you.  Things I read surprised me.

For the past few months my son has been complaining about brain fog and inability to concentrate.  He’s convinced he has ADD and wants to go on medicine.  Did you ever read the side effects?  So today we went to a naturopathic doctor who thinks gluten is contributing to his issue.  I stopped eating gluten, myself, around Christmas time — after suffering for over 5 years with significant back pain.  I had read a book which discussed arthritic symptoms that people get after eating gluten and figured I’d give it a shot to see what happened.  I have no more back pain.  It’s not a coincidence.  And, by the way, gluten is now bio mechanically engineered.  It’s not what we used to eat when we were younger.

So. . . bread and pasta with gluten I can do without.  Even cake or cookies.


WHAT HAVE THEY DONE TO MY CHOCOLATE?  I totally had a chocolate craving yesterday.  I was at the food store and figured I’d read some labels (like I always do) to choose the best item.  I saw the words PGPR in the ingredients.  I didn’t remember ever seeing that ingredient before and pulled it up on my blackberry in the store.  I couldn’t believe what I read.  It’s a manufactured fat that they now use in what they call “low cost chocolate”.  It’s in Hershey’s, MARS and Nestle products.  I didn’t get buy any chocolate that day after reading about PGPR.

Per Wikipedia, “[PGPR] is primarily used to reduce the fat content of chocolate. Since 2006, commercial-grade candy bars, such as those made by Hersheys and Nestle, made an industry-wide switch to include PGPR as an ingredient – a possible indicator of a cost saving measure by the commercial chocolate industry. Makers of PGPR (see source link below) such as Danisco and Palsgaard indicate that PGPR can be used to replace the more expensive cocoa butter as an ingredient in chocolate. Palsgaard’s website asserts, “Cocoa butter is an expensive raw material for chocolate manufacturers. By using PALSGAARD 4150 the chocolate recipe has lower costs in terms of less cocoa butter but also gives the benefit of having less fat.”[2]

PGPR is a yellowish, viscous liquid composed of polyglycerol esters of polycondensed fatty acids from castor oil. It may also be polyglycerol esters of dimerized fatty acids of soya bean oil.

PGPR is strongly lipophilic, soluble in fats and oils and insoluble in water and ethyl alcohol. In chocolates it is used as a viscosity-reducing agent.[3] It is virtually always paired with lecithin or another plastic viscosity-reducing agent.”


I feel betrayed, actually.  Not only do I love chocolate, and eat it all the time, but I actually fed it to my kids.  For years.  Research does not know what long term affects PGPR has on a person.  A fat insoluble in water just doesn’t sound healthy.  I don’t think big business and food manufacturers should compromise our health to give their shareholders more profit.

Do you?

What’s in my chocolate.

What’s in my food.

It’s time for people to start asking.

Embrace the www.timetoplay.com philosophy:  You have to be healthy, happy, have money and have a work life balance to have quality of life.  TimetoPlay.com provides all types of resources to help you have a better life.  NEW: poetry corner for people to post their words and self expression and the “Ask Dr. Matt” column where you can confidentially ask relationship questions.  It’s time to enjoy life.

34 replies
  1. Tami Racaniello
    Tami Racaniello says:

    That’s why I tell my clients to always read labels, even on things they consume regularly, because ingredients can change without warning, as many companies look for cheaper ingredients, or fillers to lower manufacturing costs & increase profits. That’s why soy protein & soy protein isolate are so prevalent in foods now. A bar I enjoyed that used to be raw, now puts soy isolate in there, so I stopped buying it. The good news is that there is still some integrity in food manufacturing, and good quality chocolate can be found. Some chocolate manufacturers even benefit environmental causes, animal organizations, & support fair trade.

      TIMETOPLAY says:

      It just isn’t right that I have to pay extra for non GMO products or to really look into the ingredients to see what I’m actually buying — if I can figure it out. The government is making it increasingly difficult for us to really know.

  2. Tami Racaniello
    Tami Racaniello says:

    It is frustrating that label claims do not match up with label ingredients (such as the statement “all natural”), or that we as consumers have to really investigate what we are putting into our bodies. There are alternatives, & it may take a little more work at first to be a smart shopper, but it is possible. Education on food labeling, & a food store tour with a knowledgeable person, saves a lot of time, effort and money. That is a service I provide, and I know a few of my colleagues do that as well. If anyone is looking, I am happy to help, either myself, or with a referral to a colleague in their area.

  3. Greg
    Greg says:

    Fats are naturally insoluble in water. Mix your cooking oil with a pot of water. Do they mix? Nope. PGPR, despite it’s ‘scary’ chemical name, is made from a FDA approved castor oil and is a safe compound made up of those same Omega-9 fatty acids that are considered heart healthy. The sugars and milk fat you feed your kids with your chocolate candies should be a much higher concern.

      TIMETOPLAY says:

      Thank you for your response. I do have a problem with the chocolate companies removing the cocoa butter, a naturally occurring ingredient in chocolate to sell it to beauty companies, etc., and replacing it with a man-made ingredient. FDA approved or not, there are no long term studies that show the safety of this man made chemical. And, they removed it without telling the public. Since 2006. It is wrong. I appreciate the comments regarding the sugars and milk fat that we all eat when we eat chocolate. As far as our family, we don’t eat chocolate on a daily basis, nor do we over indulge. As desert has always been a staple in our diet since I was young, I didn’t really consider the health affects until I started reading about 2 years ago. The first book I read was Dr. Aziz’ “The Perfect 10 Diet”, which discusses that, if your 10 main hormones are not in balance you will have disease. It is really a “no brainer” when you read the book! Dr. Aziz just joined TimetoPlay.com as a professional resource. It is important to me to bring professionals — as a grass roots project of people helping people — to the site to help provide information about health, happiness, financial and work/life balance — not organizations that may have been swayed by lobbiests, not big corporations. Regarding sugar, you would like Dr. Carlson’s submission — controversial? Yes. Does his medical findings make sense? Absolutely. With timetoplay.com I hope to provide information to plant a seed and start a person’s road to discovery of information that will lead them to have a better life. You do sound like you have some type of background that might be helpful to people. If you are interested in talking further about helping me in my mission and have something to submit as a professional resource or other ideas for this new site and project, please email me at doreen@timetoplay.com or call 631-331-2675. Thank you again for your time — spread the word! If we all help each other we can all have a better life.

    • Sara-A. Young
      Sara-A. Young says:

      Hmm… The FDA? Really? The FDA that somehow managed to pass Aspartame through their ‘rigorous’ testing and foist it off on an unsuspecting public with their stamp of approval? THAT FDA? Wow. Well, on one hand I’m glad to have run into someone who still believes that government agencies are there for our protection. On the other hand I’m kind of disappointed that there are still so many. A company that allows Aspartame, a substance known to cause brain tumors, accelerates the incidence of diabetic retinopathy because it turns to formaldehyde in the retina of your eye and contains formic acid – found in the sting of fire ants… yep. That’s a company I can get behind.
      Sorry if I sound a bit testy, but my stepfather had laser eye surgery to ‘correct’ his vision because of diabetic retinopathy due to the fact that he had been drinking ‘diet’ soda and eating other ‘diet’ food products at the suggestion of his doctors who were operating under the umbrella of the American Medical AND the American Diabetic Associations who, by the way, are funded in part by Monsanto, the company who bought G.D. Searle, the creator of Aspartame. No one told him that he was ingesting a poison and that if he had stopped his consumption of these products that he probably could have reversed some if not most of the effects of it in his system. The FDA allowed this poison into the market and continues to uphold it’s position. The FDA has also taken years to even come out with a ‘non-toxicity recognition statement’ for Stevia which has been used for hundreds of years by the native South American people with no negative side effects. Something is amiss, I think.

        TIMETOPLAY says:

        Sara – I have to say I love your thinking. I apologize if you thought I believe the FDA is working in the best interest of the people. I guess my sarcastic tone did not come across. I absolutely believe the FDA, for the most part, is allowing dangerous chemicals into our food (and approving dangerous medications with rediculous side affects, too!) and causing so many of the health problems that are now bankrupting our wonderful Country due to healthcare costs. Root cause, anyone????

        I would love for you to help me with my http://www.timetoplay.com project somehow. The site is a “quest for quality of life”. A place to empower people and get them to wake up and be motivated. In the Aspartame info you wrote about, it is horrific how you can see the negative affects it is causing and how it is still allowed to be in our food. It pains me that the schools in our area removed all the sodas with high fructose corn syrup and have replaced them with diet. How many more people have to be sick? How about the pregnant women who drink diet sodas thinking they are doing better for their unborn children and the increase in children being born with autism — they found children with autism have larger brains. Could it be a connection? And an opthalmologist practice I know just added another doctor with a specialty in caring for people with diabetic retinopathy. Coincidence?

        RE: PGPR — it pains me that this was being put into our food — without us knowing — just substituted in — since 2006. I cannot understand how things are so quiet that we don’t know.

        How about trans fats… did you know that trans fats were invented as a candle wax and then someone decided to use it in our foods to keep it fresher? Wouldn’t you think how candle wax could totally clog arteries?

        What are people thinking when they let these things be approved. You would expect people to have a conscious.

        I’m serious about you helping me with this informational project somehow and will email you my cell phone # so we can talk.

        Thank you for writing to me. It justifies why I am spending so much time in trying to get this project out there.


  4. Sara-A. Young
    Sara-A. Young says:

    I just want to say thank you for having this site. I noticed the ingredient PGPR just a couple of weeks ago and decided to look it up but this is the first opportunity that I’ve had to get online and search. Your article is the first one I decided to go to and I just wanted to say thanks for having straight forward info about this weirdness.

  5. Gordon
    Gordon says:

    Thank you for the info on PGPR. I won a 120g Hershey bar at my wife’s MS support group, and later noticed an ingredient that I didn’t recognize, namely PGPR. Now that I have read your blog, I too, am feeling really betrayed by Hershey. No more adulterated chocolate for me!

    As for the FDA, it is totally without credibility — just another corrupt governmental entity that acts as an extension of pharmaceutical and agribusiness corporate interests. The FDA is directly responsible for the abysmal health of the overly credulous American public.

    Living a high quality life is quite a challenge in this “sick, sad world” (search engine Daria Morgendorfer). Thank you for your efforts, Doreen. God(dess) speed!

      TIMETOPLAY says:

      Thank you for your comments, Gordon! I hope your wife is feeling well. It is a shame that we do put trust in organizations that we think are doing the right thing. I do believe you and I have become enlightened. I agree with your comment on abysmal health and truly believe that these things are contributory to illnesses like MS. Please keep in touch, and if you have any interest in becoming a guest blogger, let me know. My http://www.timetoplay.com project is just about ready to launch and I hope to make a huge difference in the quality of life of regular people like us.

  6. Greg Patrick
    Greg Patrick says:

    Timetoplay, you can still eat chocolate. Just look at the bag or box for the PGPR ingredient. I just found out about this & I already read conflicting stories on this. Some say it is ok, others say it is not. I also found out the new Hershey’s Air delight kisses have this ingredient. The normal Hershey’s do not have this-yet (Hopefully they never will). I am surprised this would be allowed to be put in any food.

      TIMETOPLAY says:

      All Hershey’s products on Long Island have the PGPR in it. Except the syrup as I’ve seen so far, but that has high fructose corn syrup, which I try not to use in my home, either. The largest problem I see with this is that the companies substituted the item without informing the public. They removed the profitable cocoa butter to sell for other purposes and substituted the fake fat in instead. The food manufacturers should not be using items in our foods, chemicals, dyes, etc., that can potentially make people sick. It is just wrong. Thank you for your comment. If there is anything of interest you would like to know about let me know and I’ll research it out. Also check out http://www.timetoplay.com where I have been gathering professional resources who have tips / words of wisdom to make our lives better. Doreen

      • Greg Patrick
        Greg Patrick says:

        Timetoplay. You mean the regular Hershey standard candy bars & standard kisses in New York have the PGPR in them? In Indiana the Standard kisses don’t have PGPR neither does the standard candy bars. I am little concerned if you have them in the normal products. That means they may add PGPR to the rest of the products. The oil is also a bean. We don’t do well with beans.

        • TIMETOPLAY
          TIMETOPLAY says:

          Yes, Greg. The standard bars and kisses have them in them. It’s also in Nestle and Mars products. I don’t know if Indiana has different rules / laws / standards, but it’s in ours. That would be interesting to find out.

    • imahapigirl
      imahapigirl says:

      Hershey’s does use PGPR.. I have a Hershey bar right here with the ingredient on the label. Also , the air bars are made in Mexico. Hershey has eliminated quite a few jobs in the U.S. and now makes some items in Mexico.. and keep adding more to the list. Read your labels. Balmer makes alot of their candy in Mexico too. I won’t buy any candy unless it is made here. Wilbur chocolate is the best tasting IMO.

  7. natschultz
    natschultz says:

    Pretty much ALL American chocolate now has PGPR in it. This is not a local thing – it is national since the FDA ok’d it in 2006. Maybe you have really old candy?
    BTW: I actually read about PGPR accidentally about a year ago while reading about GMO’s – back then a link to the wikipedia article stated that PGPR was actually created by a GENETRICALLY ENGINEERED bacteria or enzyme; it no longer says that (has been “positively” edited out). This is VERY common now – that is why I avoid ALL synthetic “vitamins” and “artificial flavors” and even “natural flavors.” Even “citric acid” and “ascorbic acid” used for Vitamin C are now GMO’s! Yep – made from a GMO bacteria or enzyme that digests GMO corn to create “Vitamin C.”
    FWI: Timetoplay, I too live on Long Island, and although I rarely eat chocolate, we were at the new Aldi recently, and their brand of candy called Route 1 has NO artificial flavors or preservatives! Same stuff (Aldi’s version) as Snickers, 3 Musketeers, Mounds etc, but NO PGPR or HFCS! We bought a bunch for Halloween. Also, their milk is all hormone-free and some of their cereals are all natural too, and a lot of their stuff contains no HFCS! Compare any box of an Aldi product to it’s Brand Name counterpart and the ingredient list is half as long! Aldi is owned by the same company as Trader Joes.

      TIMETOPLAY says:

      Thank you for your response! I’d love for you to contact me, as I’m building http://www.timetoplay.com and need people who are educated, like yourself, as contributors. The goal of timetoplay.com is to provide resources for people to have a better life. If you are not healthy you CANNOT have quality of life. I’ve worked in healthcare since 1987. Trust me. The people who live in nursing homes, as much as the facility leadership and staff try to make them have the best quality of life possible, would rather not be there. They are there because they are sick or otherwise unable to care for themselves. Prevention and disease postponement is key. Please email me at info@timetoplay.com with your contact info if you are interested in participating in a grass roots, “people helping people” project.

      • Greg Patrick
        Greg Patrick says:

        TimetoPlay & natschultz. The PGPR, Emulsifier is starting to appear in candy bars here. I ate them, they tasted fine to me. They don’t melt like Hershey’s Air delight kisses do. What is still odd. I just bought a big bag of Hershey’s standard kisses at wal-mart that didn’t have the PGPR, Emulsifier in them. The kisses tasted fine. Can kisses & candy bars without the PGPR, Emulsifier last for a long time? The Hershey’s Air delight kisses also have PGPR, Emulsifier in them.

  8. Mocha
    Mocha says:

    This is just terrible! I am a big chocolate lover and I noticed this strange 4-letter word PGPR right away . People beware. It’s in Hershey’s, Nestle as well as Cadbury and Dove brands. Ghirardelli isn’t any better. There is something that spells TBHQ in the ingredients…Basically, all american made chocolate brands use these fillers.

    Beware of ice cream too. The only normal ice cream brand that doesn’t put any chemicals in their products is Haagen-Daazs .

    Now, I only buy European chocolates such as Lindt, Milka, Merci etc. (Lindt tastes the best anyway.)

    • TIMETOPLAY.com
      TIMETOPLAY.com says:

      I read the labels of EVERYTHING we eat. It’s quite time consuming, but I choose products that are the lesser of the evils out there. Too bad we have to do this, but it’s definitely to our benefit. I do eat Breyer’s. Most of their product have very few ingredients and things I can decipher. Whole Foods carries some Breyer’s flavors, too, so I know they’re o.k.

  9. Mocha
    Mocha says:

    Hershey’s chocolate doesn’t taste good. All the chocolate taste is masked by huge amount of sugar per serving. Do you sometimes look at the amount of sugar per serving? A normal chocolate (such as Lindt) has about 20-25g while Hershey’s has 44g! that’s twice as much…

    • TIMETOPLAY.com
      TIMETOPLAY.com says:

      I actually had a Hershey’s with almonds yesterday — that’s what I had available. It actually tasted great, but I totally crashed when I finished it. I guess, when you choose certain things, you know the ramifications. Food should be fuel, it seems in our society it’s not thought of in that way. Did I need the Hershey’s bar? No. Guess I’ll think about that next time I see one. Thank you for your comment!

    • Michael
      Michael says:

      FYi the standard Hershey’s bar, 1.55oz, has 24g of sugar per serving (1 bar). I agree, they don’t taste very good but they don’t contain as much sugar as you say they do. I just grabbed some in the grocery store thinking of those campfire smores and as I sat down to eat one tonight, I noticed the PGPR in the ingredient statement, which led me to this site. I don’t buy chocolate very often but I will sure be on the lookout next time to avoid getting any artificial ingredients, as I do with most of my other foods. This was a real surprise and disappointment, for something that one would expect to be more “pure” as it once was.

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