Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate (PGPR) Popping Up In Sugar-Free, Low-Carb Chocolates

Filed under: Business — @ September 25, 2006

Ever since I started livin’ la vida low-carb, I have become like a hawk reading nutritional labels and ingredients of foods that are supposed to be acceptable for people who are following the low-carb way of life. Anytime I see something strange that I’ve never heard of before, then I know it’s time to do some research and find out what it is really all about.

One such ingredient is something known as PGPR, or Polyglycerol Polyricinoleate. This is something that you will find in the ingredients list for Dove Sugar-Free Chocolates made by Mars, Inc. I personally LOVE Dove chocolates and was thrilled to learn they made a sugar-free version which I was hoping to add to my low-carb lifestyle. But if the whopping 17g of the nasty sugar alcohol maltitol they use to sweeten each bag didn’t turn me off, then the PGPR did!

My food science source informs me that PGPR is an emulsifier used in chocolate and is made from castor bean oil. It is used primarily to improve the viscosity of the chocolate so it will melt in your mouth better. The lower the viscosity, the better the texture feels inside of your mouth. Products like chocolate chips and Hershey’s kisses which are thicker chocolates have much higher viscosity so they will keep their shape.

The only other approved emulsifier used in the United States besides PGPR is lecithin while European chocolates can also contain YN (ammonium phosphatide) and CITREM (citric acid esters of mono- and di-glycerides).

Why do manufacturers use PGPR? Cost-cutting, of course. Our society relies so heavily on mass-marketed products that businesses will do whatever they can to cut corners in production to bring what they believe is an acceptable end product to the consumer at the lowest possible cost.

Sounds like a smart business strategy, right? After all, why else would all these companies be pouring stomach-busting maltitol and lactitol in their products? It’s cheap and the consumer backlash is minimal, that’s why.

Using PGPR enables the chocolate company to actually cut down on the amount of cacao butter they add to their product which is much more expensive than sugar. But the problem comes in when you attempt to make the chocolate sugar-free since sugar alternatives are quite a bit more expensive than sugar is. The varying levels of PGPR allows companies to change the taste, texture, and other such properties of the chocolate.

Although there are no specific safety concerns with PGPR and it can work well for creating a decent chocolate product, the sticking point for me is the fact that it could be used to cut corners which produces nothing more than an inferior product. In other words, did the Mars company use PGPR to purposefully make their Dover Sugar-Free Chocolates as cheaply made as possible? That’s not doing the consumer any favors and I’m here to call them on it.


If you are looking for some high-quality sugar-free, low-carb chocolates, then you may want to visit LowCarbChocolates.com. They have the very best selection of chocolates available for people who are diabetic or enjoying the benefits of livin’ la vida low-carb. No PGPR shows up in these chocolates.

Be on the lookout for this new mysterious ingredient called PGPR so you will know which chocolate companies are cutting corners to sell you an inferior product. Refuse to just settle for this and demand the very best. If you are going to indulge, then make it the highest-quality possible, right?


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