When you have diabetes, it is common to avoid sweets since these contain high levels of sugar. However, there are some sweet treats that you can enjoy. Diabetic chocolate is one of these options. There are several choices that you can explore. It is important to look at the nutritional content and ingredients to ensure that you pick one that allows you to indulge without causing a blood sugar spike.
WHAT IS THE BEST CHOCOLATE FOR DIABETICS?
As a diabetic, you do not have to give up chocolate completely when you choose the right type. Dark chocolate with a high cacao content is generally considered to be the best option. Cacao does not contain any sugar naturally, so it will not cause a significant boost in your blood sugar levels. Just make sure that there are no added ingredients, such as caramel or butterscotch, as these typically contain sugar that could increase your glucose levels.
There are numerous dark chocolate brands on the market. Most of them have a different flavor, so you should experiment in moderation to determine which one has a flavor that you enjoy the most. Experimenting with different cacao levels is also a good option because some people find high concentrations of cacao to be too bitter. To add some diversity to your options, look for things like dark chocolate with nuts or another ingredient that has low to no sugar content.
DARK CHOCOLATE MAY ACTUALLY BENEFIT DIABETES
Dark chocolate that has a high cacao content is not only low in sugar naturally, but it also has a diverse nutrient profile that can be beneficial for your overall health. In fact, when you have a small serving of dark chocolate every day, this may actually positively benefit your blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity. These effects are associated with the polyphenols that are present in cacao.
Polyphenols are a type of antioxidant rich naturally occurring compound. The improvements these compounds can make regarding your blood sugar are due to how they help your body to use insulin more efficiently. When your body is using insulin better, your blood sugar levels will be better controlled. Some research shows that eating dark chocolate just once a week can have a positive benefit on how your body uses insulin.
Cacao also contains flavanols, another type of compound. These seem to improve how well some of the cells in your body secrete insulin. When they are releasing more insulin, this may allow for better control over your blood glucose levels. The higher the cacao content in dark chocolate, the more flavanols are present. Because of this, it is important to choose products that have a high cacao level to reap the benefits of these compounds.
One study looked at how eating dark chocolate may impact common diagnostic and monitoring testing for diabetics. All of the study participants were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. Over the course of eight weeks, participants consumed either white chocolate or dark chocolate. Among those who were given the dark chocolate, they had noticeable improvements in their A1c levels and their fasting blood sugar levels. The participants who were given white chocolate during the study did not experience the same positive changes in their test results.
HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST DARK CHOCOLATE FOR DIABETICS
Not all dark chocolate is created equal. When you are looking for a good diabetic chocolate, one of the most important elements to consider is the cacao content. You want to find a chocolate that is at least 70 percent cacao. This information is usually listed on the front of the chocolate’s outer packaging so that it is easy to determine which chocolate is best for a diabetic. Avoid any dark chocolate that is under half cacao since the nutritional content will not be ideal for someone with diabetes.
The next factor to consider is the carbohydrate content. When you consume carbohydrates, they break down into sugar in your body. Because of this, if you are eating too many carbohydrates, you will see an increase in your blood sugar. Ideally, the dark chocolate that you choose should have fewer than 30 grams of carbohydrates, but under 15 grams is even better.
There are some diabetes-friendly dark chocolate options on the market that are designed especially for people with diabetes. They have a nutritional profile with important nutrients for people with diabetes, such as containing a good amount of magnesium. You can find these treats in multiple forms, such as chocolate bars, cake, pudding and similar options. Just be sure to read the nutrition label. Just because something says that it is diabetes-friendly chocolate does not mean that it truly is low in carbohydrates and sugar.
HOW OFTEN CAN A DIABETIC EAT DARK CHOCOLATE?
Enjoying dark chocolate once or twice a week is typically okay for most people with diabetes. You can better gauge how often it is okay to eat by monitoring how it affects your blood sugar. Use your blood sugar monitor to determine your blood sugar levels before you indulge and about one hour after you eat the dark chocolate. If the increase in your glucose level is not significant then you know that you can enjoy that specific dark chocolate brand without issue.
There are also a variety of easy diabetic desserts that contain dark chocolate, such as diabetic-friendly chocolate brownies, diabetic safe cookie recipes and diabetic-friendly chocolate cake recipes with stevia. You should use the same method of testing your glucose levels before and after eating these dark chocolate desserts to determine their impact. You should also make sure that you are only eating the serving size. If you are eating too much of these items, their impact on your blood sugar levels could be more significant.
IS SUGAR-FREE MILK CHOCOLATE GOOD FOR DIABETICS?
It is generally okay to eat sugar-free chocolate occasionally when you have diabetes. There are different sugar substitutes that companies use for these foods with the most common being maltitol, a type of sugar alcohol. Only some of this sugar alcohol is absorbed by the body during digestion, and absorption is slow. Because of this, any rise in your blood sugar levels will be minimal. Just make sure that you are following the serving size.
Since these chocolates do not contain any sugar, there are usually fewer calories. However, the calorie savings is usually not that significant. If you are working to lose or maintain weight, eating too much of these could make it more difficult. Eating large amounts at once may also cause intestinal discomfort due to the sugar substitutes that these have. Some people report issues like diarrhea and gas when they consume too much sugar-free chocolate due to the laxative effect of many sugar substitutes.
If you want to learn more about the diabetic chocolate choices that are best for you, your doctor can help you to evaluate the nutrition labels. This allows you to enjoy a treat without having to worry about a major increase in your blood sugar. Just be sure that you eat your chocolate in moderation, such as a small dessert option once or twice a week, or as a small snack for a sweet tooth. If you liked this article or found it to be helpful, please share on social media and post a link to it on your website.