Theobromine Content of Foods

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Food NameTheobromine
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, processed with alkali2634
Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, processed with alkali2445
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened2057
Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, plain1763
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid1597
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares1297
Dairy drink mix, chocolate, reduced calorie, with low-calorie sweeteners, powder833
Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids802
Cocoa mix, no sugar added, powder658
Chocolate, dark, 60-69% cacao solids632
Beverage, instant breakfast powder, chocolate, sugar-free, not reconstituted608
Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, regular, dry mix596
Candies, chocolate, dark, NFS (45-59% cacao solids 90%; 60-69% cacao solids 5%; 70-85% cacao solids 5%)515
Chocolate, dark, 45- 59% cacao solids493
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  • Abbreviations: g = gram, mg = milligram, mcg = microgram, kcal = kilocalorie, kJ = kilojoule.







Theobromine

Theobromine (theobromide), also known as xantheose, is a bitter alkaloid of the cacao plant, with the chemical formula C7H8N4O2. It is found in chocolate, as well as in a number of other foods, including the leaves of the tea plant, and the kola (or cola) nut. It is in the methylxanthine class of chemical compounds, which also includes the similar compounds theophylline and caffeine. (In caffeine, the only difference is that the NH group of theobromine is an N-CH3 group.) Despite its name, the compound contains no bromine—theobromine is derived from Theobroma, the name of the genus of the cacao tree, (which itself is made up of the Greek roots theo ("God") and broma ("food"), meaning "food of the gods") with the suffix -ine given to alkaloids and other basic nitrogen-containing compounds.

Theobromine is a slightly water-soluble (330 mg/L), crystalline, bitter powder; the color has been listed as either white or colorless. It has a similar, but lesser, effect than caffeine in the human nervous system, making it a lesser homologue. Theobromine is an isomer of theophylline, as well as paraxanthine. Theobromine is categorized as a dimethyl xanthine.

Effects of Theobromine on Humans

The amount of theobromine found in chocolate is small enough that chocolate can, in general, be safely consumed by humans. However, theobromine poisoning may result from the chronic or acute consumption of large quantities, especially in the elderly.

While theobromine and caffeine are similar in that they are related alkaloids, theobromine is weaker in both its inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases and its antagonism of adenosine receptors. Therefore, theobromine has a lesser impact on the human central nervous system than caffeine. However, theobromine stimulates the heart to a greater degree. While theobromine is not as addictive, it has been cited as possibly causing addiction to chocolate. Theobromine has also been identified as one of the compounds contributing to chocolate's reputed role as an aphrodisiac.

As it is a myocardial stimulant as well as a vasodilator, it increases heartbeat, yet it also dilates blood vessels, causing a reduced blood pressure. However, a recent paper published suggested that the decrease in blood pressure may be caused by flavanols. Furthermore, its draining effect allows it to be used to treat cardiac failure, which leads to and is exacerbated by an excessive accumulation of fluid in the body.

A 2004 study published by Imperial College London concluded that theobromine has an antitussive (cough-reducing) effect superior to codeine by suppressing vagus nerve activity. In addition, theobromine is helpful in treating asthma, since it relaxes the smooth muscles, including the ones found in the bronchi.

A study conducted in Utah between 1983 and 1986, and published in 1993, showed a possible association between theobromine and an increased risk of suffering from prostate cancer in older men. This association was not found to be linear for aggressive tumors. While the association may be spurious, it is plausible. Prenatal and infant exposure to theobromine appeared possibly associated with hypospadias and testicular cancer in one population study.

As with caffeine, theobromine can cause sleeplessness, tremors, restlessness, anxiety, as well as contribute to increased production of urine. Additional side effects include loss of appetite, nausea, and vomiting.

Food Sources of Theobromine

Theobromine is the primary alkaloid found in cocoa and chocolate. Cocoa powder can vary in the amount of theobromine, from 2% theobromine to at least 10%. There are usually higher concentrations in dark than in milk chocolate. Theobromine can also be found in small amounts in the kola nut (1.0–2.5%), the guarana berry, Holly berries, Ilex guayusa, Ilex paraguariensis (yerba mate), and the tea plant. 1 oz of milk chocolate contains approximately 60 mg of theobromine but 1 oz of dark chocolate contains about 200 mg. In general, theobromine levels are higher in dark chocolates (approximately 1%) than in milk chocolates (0.1–0.5%). Higher quality chocolate tends to contain more theobromine than lower quality chocolate. Cocoa beans naturally contain approximately 1–4% theobromine.

Foods Highest in Theobromine Content

Theobromine content is in mg per 100 g of food weight.



Theobromine
Foods Rich in Theobromine (100 g)

2634
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened, processed with alkali

2445
Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, processed with alkali

2057
Cocoa, dry powder, unsweetened

1763
Cocoa, dry powder, hi-fat or breakfast, plain

1597
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, liquid

1297
Baking chocolate, unsweetened, squares

833
Dairy drink mix, chocolate, reduced calorie, with low-calorie sweeteners, powder

802
Chocolate, dark, 70-85% cacao solids

658
Cocoa mix, no sugar added, powder

632
Chocolate, dark, 60-69% cacao solids

608
Beverage, instant breakfast powder, chocolate, sugar-free, not reconstituted

596
Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, regular, dry mix

515
Candies, chocolate, dark, NFS (45-59% cacao solids 90%; 60-69% cacao solids 5%; 70-85% cacao solids

493
Chocolate, dark, 45- 59% cacao solids

486
Candies, semisweet chocolate

486
Candies, semisweet chocolate, made with butter

473
Puddings, chocolate flavor, low calorie, instant, dry mix

430
Cookies, chocolate sandwich, with creme filling, regular

426
Candies, sweet chocolate

424
Chocolate-flavor beverage mix for milk, powder, without added nutrients

424
Desserts, rennin, chocolate, dry mix

368
Candies, dark chocolate coated coffee beans

363
Cookies, graham crackers, chocolate-coated

362
Puddings, chocolate, dry mix, regular

356
Cake, chocolate, dry mix, regular

345
Malted drink mix, chocolate, with added nutrients, powder

345
Malted drink mix, chocolate, powder

324
Coffee and cocoa (mocha) powder, with whitener and low calorie sweetener, decaffeinated

323
Cocoa mix, powder


Theobromine
Foods Rich in Theobromine (100 g)

294
Coffee, instant, with sugar, mocha-flavor, powder

290
Beverage, instant breakfast powder, chocolate, not reconstituted

277
Chocolate-flavor beverage mix for milk, powder, with added nutrients

247
Syrups, chocolate, fudge-type

245
Puddings, chocolate, dry mix, instant

242
Cake mix, pudding, dry, german chocolate

240
Cake, marble, dry mix, pudding-type

238
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, MILKY WAY Midnight Bar

231
Baking chocolate, mexican, squares

230
Chocolate-flavored hazelnut spread

223
Cookies, chocolate wafers

215
Cake, snack cakes, creme-filled, chocolate with frosting

215
Cake, chocolate, commercially prepared with chocolate frosting, in-store bakery

212
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, TWIX chocolate fudge cookie bars

207
Cake, chocolate, dry mix, pudding-type

205
Candies, milk chocolate

203
Candies, milk chocolate, with rice cereal

198
Candies, MR. GOODBAR Chocolate Bar

195
Syrups, chocolate, HERSHEY'S Genuine Chocolate Flavored Lite Syrup

190
Chocolate syrup

188
Frostings, chocolate, creamy, dry mix

185
Candies, sweet chocolate coated fondant

183
Candies, milk chocolate, with almonds

178
Candies, milk chocolate coated coffee beans

169
Cookies, chocolate sandwich, with extra creme filling

168
Candies, NESTLE, CRUNCH Bar and Dessert Topping

166
Pie crust, cookie-type, prepared from recipe, chocolate wafer, chilled

159
Cookies, marshmallow, chocolate-coated (includes marshmallow pies)

152
Candies, truffles, prepared-from-recipe

150
Candies, chocolate covered, dietetic or low calorie

146
Frostings, chocolate, creamy, dry mix, prepared with butter


Theobromine
Foods Rich in Theobromine (100 g)

145
Frostings, chocolate, creamy, dry mix, prepared with margarine

145
Candies, milk chocolate coated peanuts

143
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, M&M's Milk Chocolate Candies

139
Candies, fudge, chocolate marshmallow, prepared-from-recipe

136
Cereals ready-to-eat, chocolate-flavored frosted puffed corn

136
Cereals ready-to-eat, MALT-O-MEAL, COCO-ROOS

130
Candies, MOUNDS Candy Bar

130
Candies, fudge, chocolate, prepared-from-recipe

129
Candies, fudge, chocolate marshmallow, with nuts, prepared-by-recipe

127
Cookies, chocolate chip, prepared from recipe, made with margarine

122
Ice cream sandwich

122
Candies, milk chocolate coated raisins

120
Ice creams, chocolate, rich

119
Candies, NESTLE, BABY RUTH Bar

116
Candies, KIT KAT Wafer Bar

113
Candies, chocolate covered, caramel with nuts

112
Candies, fudge, chocolate, with nuts, prepared-from-recipe

108
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, M&M's Peanut Chocolate Candies

106
Snacks, granola bar, KASHI GOLEAN, crunchy, mixed flavors

106
Frozen yogurts, chocolate, nonfat milk, sweetened without sugar

106
Frozen yogurts, chocolate

106
Frozen yogurts, chocolate, soft-serve

106
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, 3 MUSKETEERS Bar

104
Chocolate-flavor beverage mix, powder, prepared with whole milk

100
Cream substitute, flavored, liquid

100
Pie Crust, Cookie-type, Chocolate, Ready Crust

100
Candies, WHATCHAMACALLIT Candy Bar

99
Formulated bar, ZONE PERFECT CLASSIC CRUNCH BAR, mixed flavors

98
Frostings, glaze, chocolate, prepared-from-recipe, with butter, NFSMI Recipe No. C-32

97
Cereals, MALT-O-MEAL, chocolate, dry

95
NABISCO, NABISCO SNACKWELL'S Fat Free Devil's Food Cookie Cakes


Theobromine
Foods Rich in Theobromine (100 g)

92
Cream substitute, flavored, powdered

91
Cookies, chocolate chip, dry mix

89
Waffles, chocolate chip, frozen, ready-to-heat

85
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, SNICKERS Bar

83
Cookies, chocolate chip, commercially prepared, regular, higher fat, enriched

83
Fast foods, cookies, chocolate chip

83
Cake, snack cakes, cupcakes, chocolate, with frosting, low-fat

83
Cookies, chocolate chip, commercially prepared, regular, higher fat, unenriched

79
Candies, 5TH AVENUE Candy Bar

79
Frostings, chocolate, creamy, ready-to-eat

79
Fast foods, brownie

78
Cookies, brownies, commercially prepared

77
Cookies, sugar wafers with creme filling, regular

75
Candies, TOOTSIE ROLL, chocolate-flavor roll

75
Candies, caramels, chocolate-flavor roll

73
Dairy drink mix, chocolate, reduced calorie, with aspartame, powder, prepared with water and ice

73
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, M&M's Almond Chocolate Candies

72
Cookies, chocolate chip, refrigerated dough

72
Candies, REESE'S Peanut Butter Cups

71
Tea, instant, unsweetened, powder

70
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, TWIX Peanut Butter Cookie Bars

70
Puddings, chocolate, ready-to-eat

70
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, TWIX Caramel Cookie Bars

69
Ice cream, soft serve, chocolate

69
Milk dessert bar, frozen, made from lowfat milk

69
Ice creams, chocolate, light

68
Milk, chocolate beverage, hot cocoa, homemade

67
Formulated bar, LUNA BAR, NUTZ OVER CHOCOLATE

64
Chocolate syrup, prepared with whole milk

64
Candies, MARS SNACKFOOD US, MILKY WAY Bar

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