Raw and unrefined: Chocolate the Prodigy way

Coconut and Sugar cubes
Coconut and Chocolate
Coconut and Sugar cubes
Coconut and Chocolate
At Prodigy, we’re revolutionising chocolate, crafting rich, comforting chocolate bars with less than 20% sugar content and NO refined sugar. Why is this our mission? Read on to find out.

 

Refined sugar is everywhere. Check the back of any pre-packaged food and you’ll find names like corn syrup, glucose syrup, galactose and maltose skulking in the ingredients list. We want to kick those names out of the snack world, making natural sugars and clean ingredients the new standard.  

No sickly sugars with empty calories. No ingredients taken over by sky-high sugar content. Just smooth, creamy chocolate that’s jampacked with nutrients. And here’s the reason why... 

Natural sugar tastes incredible 
Prodigy chocolate is made from pure and deliciously rich cacao. We don’t want to cover up that real chocolate flavour with processed, overpowering refined sugars. Instead, we lightly sweeten our chocolate bars using a range of mouth-watering natural sugars that are packed with benefits.  

This makes sure our chocolate is not only better for you but tastes the way chocolate should — creamy, comforting and with added bite.  

Refined sugar is overly processed 
Put natural and refined sugar side by side and you might not notice a difference, yet their flavour, ingredients and even how they’re produced are different.  

Refined sugar begins its life as a plant in the form of sugarcane. Sugarcane stalks are cut, crushed and the juice is heated until it crystallises into raw sugar. The raw sugar is then melted down again and filtered to remove molasses. The final step involves bleaching the sugar with bone char — a carbon made from heated animal bones, to turn it into its recognisable white colour. This over-processing not only strips sugarcane of its natural goodness but adds in steps that impact the environment.  

Let’s compare this to the natural sugar we use in our Prodigy bars — coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is processed in 2 simple steps. Liquid sap is collected from the flower buds of the coconut palm tree, which causes minimal damage to the tree. It’s then heated until it crystallises. That’s it.  

Refined sugars are empty calories 
‘Empty calories’ is a phrase that’s thrown around a lot, but what does it actually mean? Essentially, empty calories are applied to food and drinks that don’t supply any nutritional value.  

Natural sugars like coconut sugar, honey, and fruit syrups contain ingredients such as fibre, vitamins, minerals and protein. Not only do these added ingredients give your body a healthy boost but they help slow down how quickly sugar enters your body, which stops those dizzying sugar highs and draining crashes.    

Refined sugar isn’t so helpful and contains little to no nutritional value. That means when it’s crammed into everyday treats like sweets or mainstream chocolate bars (where it usually takes up over 50% of the bar) you’re giving yourself calories but none of the good stuff.  

Natural sugars have a lower glycaemic index 
So natural sugars have a richer flavour and are processed in a less harmful way, but there’s still more benefits to them.  

To show the core difference between natural and refined sugars, we need to look at something called The Glycaemic Index (GI). To stop this from turning into a science lesson, here’s the main thing you need to know about the GI.  

  • It’s a ranking of carbohydrates in foods, showing how they affect blood glucose levels. 

  • Foods on the low end of the GI scale (below 50) are absorbed, digested and metabolised more slowly. This links to a slow rise in blood glucose levels.   

Eating foods on the high end of the GI scale causes spikes in the body’s blood sugar levels. This then leads to crashes, with side effects including nausea, bloating, anxiety and trouble concentrating. Along with this roller coaster of sugar spikes and crashes, high GI foods can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart diseases.   

Here’s a list of the four main types of sugar on the GI scale.   

  • Glucose: 100  

  • Sucrose: 65  

  • Lactose: 46  

  • Fructose: 19  

 

Now, unless you eat a whole bushel of them, an apple isn’t going to affect your blood glucose levels that much. But grab something processed that’s packed with refined sugar, and you’re looking at a GI level of well over 50. And any chocolate with glucose syrup can be a staggering 100! So, when it comes to (we’d say necessary) treats like chocolate, what are the low GI alternatives? 

Coconut sugar 
Coconut sugar is one of those ingredients that seems too good to be true. This natural wonder contains potassium, iron, zinc and antioxidants, is full of inulin that helps benefit your digestion, is organic and cruelty-free, and has a sweet and delicious caramel flavour.  

Even better, coconut sugar can have a glycaemic index as low as 35, so you can dig into a bar of Prodigy chocolate without dealing with the side effects of sugar spikes.  

Zero refined sugar, zero artificial sweeteners  
With many food manufacturers starting to wise up to the dangers of refined sugar, more and more zero-sugar products have been hitting the shelves. From drinks and sweets to breakfast cereals, zero-sugar products can seem like a great option, but many replace their sugar content with artificial sweeteners. And these have their downsides.  

The main problem with artificial sweeteners is what they can do to your gut. Referred to as the second brain, the gut is an incredibly important part of the body, connected to the (actual) brain by an army of chemicals and neurons. These neurons have their own set of reflexes that send and receive information via the brain through a link called the brain-gut axis.  

What this boils down to is that our brain and our second brain are constantly updating each other on what’s going on. It’s why we get ‘butterflies’ in our stomach when we’re nervous and feel sluggish when we’ve overeaten. Pair this with the fact that our gut influences the body’s level of serotonin — the ‘happy chemical’ that regulates your mood, and it’s safe to say that keeping your gut happy keeps you happy as well.  

Now, back to the artificial sweeteners. Certain types, including saccharin, can disturb the balance of bacteria in the gut. This acts like a domino, causing knock-on issues such as laxative effects, that can interfere with the production of serotonin. Even artificial sweeteners that are boasted to come from ‘natural sources’ are usually so heavily processed that they still cause real issues to your gut.  

Luckily, there’s plenty of natural sweetening alternatives that are healthy, delicious — and used in Prodigy chocolate bars.  

Lucuma  
More sweetness without the sugar. That’s the simple aim of artificial and natural sweeteners. But choose the right one and a lower sugar content isn’t the only positive.  

This is the case with an ingredient that’s in all Prodigy chocolate bars — Lucuma. Lucuma is a Peruvian superfruit that’s nicknamed “gold of the Incas”. Similar in taste to a sweet potato and with a decadent caramel flavour, it’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and healthy carbohydrates. Dried and ground into a fine powder, lucuma is added to our chocolate bars, adding a mellow sweetness that lets the flavour of cacao shine through.  

No labs, no unnatural chemicals, and nothing to make our gut unhappy. Natural ingredients like lucuma are an incredible way of making great-tasting chocolate that’s brimming with goodness.  

The best ingredients make the best treats. We believe that health and happiness should go hand in hand. That’s why the natural sugars in our Prodigy chocolate bars aren’t just packed with vitamins and minerals but help create chocolate that’s irresistibly creamy and smooth. Chocolate that proudly breaks the mould, ignores the ‘rules’ of mainstream manufacturing, and champions the natural snacking revolution.  

EAT NO EVIL! Explore our range of REAL chocolate bars.

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