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What the Heck is Activated Charcoal?

 Activated Charcoal
Activated Charcoal

Have you heard that black is the new black in the foodie world?

Black ice cream, baked goods and lemonades are hitting store shelves, and all get their dark color from the same source: activated charcoal.

Activated charcoal is “making more and more appearances in everyday food products and being recommended to be taken as a supplement/etc.,” shares Jodi Bullock, holistic health coach and food consultant. “Activated charcoal is carbon that has undergone a different process than the kind you use in your grill.”

Common Charcoal vs. Activated Charcoal

Here’s the gist: common charcoal is made from peat, coal, wood, coconut shell or petroleum while “activated” charcoal—similar to common charcoal—is created for medicinal use. Essentially, charcoal is heated in the presence of a gas that causes it to develop lots of internal spaces or “pores.” These pores help activated charcoal “trap” chemicals. The activated charcoal we use in our Charcoal Chia gr8nola is from coconut shells.

How is Activated Charcoal Used?

Small doses of activated charcoal are used as a natural remedy to help alleviate gas, bloating, detoxification and hangover prevention. Plus, it can also be used as a first-aid treatment for poisoning. While it should never replace emergency medical treatment, taking activated charcoal can reduce harm from accidentally ingested poison.

The Benefits of Activated Charcoal

Some of the benefits are:

  • Detoxifies the gut
  • Flushes heavy metals
  • Whitens teeth naturally
  • Eases food poisoning
  • Alleviates stomach issues, gas and bloating
  • Aides with digestion
  • Improves skin

“The idea behind charcoal is that it promotes healthy detoxification,” Bullock shares. Small amounts of activated charcoal can help you detox if you’ve indulged too much, but note: it’s not a magic fix. “Some people recommend it as a more regular supplement to help protect our bodies from toxins, environmental pollutants and more” explains Bullock.

How Much Activated Charcoal Should You Take?

While removing toxins from the gut, brain and overall body is a great idea, you have to be careful about the amount of charcoal you intake. “Charcoal does bind toxins; however, it can’t discriminate if it’s grabbing onto bad bacteria, mercury or actual nutrients in your body,” says Bullock.

According to Medscape, one tablet or capsule is typically 250-260mg (each brand varies), and recommended dosages range from 500mg an hour before a meal for prevention to 1-2 grams after a meal for relief. Dosage amounts vary depending on the situation and can range from 1-2 grams, three times per day, for a total of 3-6 grams.

How Much Activated Charcoal is in gr8nola?

A small amount of activated charcoal goes a long way, and we put just the right amount for you to reap the benefits but without having to limit yourself. Here’s the breakdown:

Gr8nola Servings


Activated Charcoal

1 serving

⅓ cup


3 servings

1 cup


6 servings

2 cup

1200mg (1.2g)

Full bag (11.5oz)

~3.6 cups

2200mg (2.2g)

When consuming activated charcoal, don’t forget to drink plenty of water throughout the day, especially to help promote its detoxifying benefits.

What Does Charcoal Chia Gr8nola Taste Like?

If you are jumping on the activated charcoal train for the first time, don’t worry—it doesn't taste burnt or anything like you'd think coal tastes. In fact, food-grade activated charcoal for consumption is odorless and tasteless! While our Charcoal Chia gr8nola gets its beautiful, earthy black hue from this detoxifying superfood, the flavor profile is more like our Original flavor that’s made with coconut sugar instead of honey (vegan-friendly), nut-free and packed with an extra crunch and nutrient punch from chia seeds. Trust us when we say this might become your new favorite's incredibly delicious! (Think of it like a "clean" Oreo :). #CookiesNClean

Shop Charcoal Chia

Note: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.