Aww. What a cute little acronym! So tiny and innocent. What are you doing in my chocolate, little PGPR? You wern’t there a few years ago. Let’s find out what you are.
PGPR is known in the candy industry as polyglycerol polyricinoleate.
Wow. Cool! Wonder why they put you in my Hershey’s chocolate bar. Could it be because it makes the chocolate better?
Of course not. PGRP is used to replace the expensive cocoa butter that is normally found in chocolate.
Well, is it better for you?
Of course not.
What you need to know:
The 1996 study conducted by Andrew Waterhouse of UC Davis which discovered the phenols (potent antioxidants) in chocolate also revealed that these antioxidants come from cocoa butter and the stearic acid it produces. It demonstrated that the phenols prevented LDL cholesterol from building up in arteries. Another study had subjects follow diets in which the majority of fat calories came from either chocolate or butter; only those with the butterfat diet showed an increase in LDL cholesterol.
This is why dark chocolate, which usually contains between about 30% and 50% cocoa butter, is touted for its antioxidant properties, and a bar of Hershey’s milk chocolate is not. Unfortunately, Hershey’s in particular – one of the biggest users of PGPR – has also moved to take advantage of the new healthier perception of dark chocolate. Not only have they begun buying small high-end chocolate producers like Scharffen-Berger and Joseph Schmidt Chocolates, but they have also expanded their dark chocolate line and begun marketing it heavily as a healthy treat. Besides the irony of their simultaneous replacement of antioxidant-filled cocoa butter with PGPR in their cheaper chocolates, they have put corn syrup in many items from the more expensive and supposedly healthy dark chocolate line.
This is the kind of behavior that buying PGPR-enhanced chocolate supports. Dishonest; unscrupulous; pulling the wool over consumers’ eyes. Read your ingredient listings carefully, and research the unfamiliar, and you can feed your mind as well as your body.