Is Dark Chocolate Good for Diabetes?

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Surajeet Kumar Patra, MBBS, MD, FDIAB, MBA & APMP March 21, 2022

Last updated on September 9th, 2022

People love chocolates universally. Dark chocolate is bitter in taste. It has more of cocoa with a higher trustworthy fan following. Now, the question may arise among diabetic’s minds, if dark chocolate is good for diabetes. If so, what makes dark chocolate safe for diabetic patients? Does dark chocolate help in glucose control? In what amount, diabetics can have dark chocolate per day? Let’s learn more!

Dark Chocolate vs Milk Chocolate

Chocolate is available in diverse ranges. In dark chocolate, people use high quantity of cocoa liquor to prepare it. Dark chocolate is also known as semi or bittersweet chocolate. Also, it comprises at least 35% cocoa liquor in combination with sugar. Milk chocolate is formed when condensed or powdered milk is an additional constituent. White chocolate is milk, cocoa butter, and sugar.

Nutritional Information of Dark Chocolate

The GI value of dark chocolate is 23. The value is very low in comparison to the GI of milk chocolate 42. This logically makes dark chocolate a safer option for diabetic patients. In 50 grams of dark chocolate, the following nutrients are present:

  • Calories: 252
  • Total Carbs: 29.8 g
  • Sugars: 25.74 g
  • Total Fat: 17.1 g
  • Saturated Fat: 10.04 g
  • Monounsaturated Fat: 5.61 g
  • Dietary Fiber: 2.8 g
  • Protein: 1.95 g
  • Trans Fat: 0.495 g
  • Potassium: 145 mg
  • Calcium: 12 mg
  • Sodium: 8 mg
  • Iron: 1.38 mg

Milk chocolate comes from milk solids and sugar. Instead, dark chocolate comprises 70 to 85% of cocoa. This ingredient makes dark chocolate a heart-healthy choice. Hence, when consumed wisely, dark chocolate benefits the overall health of a person.

Is Dark Chocolate Good for Diabetics?

This bar comprises more than 10 g of fibre as well as 7 g of protein. In addition to potassium, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus, it also contains vitamins A, B, E, and K. Dark chocolate packs antioxidants.

Summary

Dark chocolate contains vitamins, minerals, polyphenols, and flavonoids. All these are rich sources of antioxidants. These fight with health problems and ageing. Flavonoids and polyphenols present in dark chocolate help in stimulating insulin production. Also, they help in reducing insulin resistance. Dark chocolate lowers the levels of cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart problems. A little piece of this sweet delight post-meals would not impact the sugar levels in diabetics.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Having Chocolate For Diabetics

Besides sustaining a craving, there can be advantages of consuming chocolate, particularly dark chocolate.

Potential Advantages

Plant chemicals known as flavonoids might aid in improving insulin sensitivity and lowering insulin resistance. In addition, dark chocolate might aid in lowering blood clotting. Flavonoids present in dark chocolate might:

  • lower down insulin resistance
  • improve endothelial function
  • decreases the risk of future heart issues.

Endothelium lines a person’s heart and blood vessels. In endothelial dysfunction, there is a greater risk of cardiac problems like stroke.

Dark chocolate contains polyphenols. Polyphenols are compounds having excellent antioxidant properties. Antioxidants battle oxidative stress and tissue damage resulting from free radicals. Also, they assist the body cells to utilize insulin more efficiently. As a result, dark chocolate reduces insulin resistance.

  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Packs powerful antioxidants
  • Improves blood flow
  • Reduces risks of heart disease
  • Protects skin from sun
  • Reduces cholesterol levels
  • Improves the working of the brain
  • Controls blood glucose

In combination, flavonoids and polyphenols improve the effectual production and use of insulin. As a result, helps in controlling blood glucose levels.

Summary

Dark chocolate helps in lowering LDL or bad cholesterol. It also enhances the levels of HDL cholesterol in individuals having high cholesterol. As a result, it decreases the risk of cardiovascular disorders. The flavonoids present in dark chocolate might aid in decreasing blood pressure. Antioxidants present in it deals with the free radicals responsible for aging and health problems. This implies that dark chocolate packs strong anti-aging properties. The low GI of dark chocolate makes it a safer option for people with diabetes.

Downsides of Dark Chocolate For Diabetics

All chocolates are not similar. Milk and white chocolate are devoid of the similar benefits as dark chocolate. Consuming foods such as chocolate cake or cookies won’t offer benefits just like a small piece of dark chocolate. Consumption of an excess of chocolate may result in problems with weight gain and blood sugar.

A Balanced Diet

Balanced meal involves fruits, veggies, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. Add in heart-healthy fat products such as fish, olive oil, avocado, seeds, and nuts. People must moderate the use of:

  • high GI foods
  • saturated fats and trans fats
  • refined grains such as white rice

A diabetic person must consume a healthy and balanced diet. It is not only part of an overall healthy lifestyle, also it is a part of treatment plan. Balanced diet and a regular physical activity keep sugar levels in the normal limit. Also, they keep a person’s weight stable. Healthy weight aids in proper glucose control and lowers the risk of diabetes complications.

Diabetes control occurs via a blend of:

  • monitoring what a person consumes and drinks
  • consuming recommended anti-diabetes drugs
  • regular physical activity

Also Read: Reverse Your Diabetes Within 30 Days

Healthy Recipes of Chocolate For Diabetics

When a person wishes chocolate or something chocolaty, there are few ways to make desserts healthier.

  • Cookies: At times, a person wishes to have choco chip cookies. These gluten-free quinoa choco chip cookies would offer goodness of high-fiber choco chip.
  • Chocolate cake: If a person is in the mood for cake, check out this formula for gluten-free choco mug cake. It comprises fiber to assist in proper glucose control while offering a chocolaty flavor.
  • Longing for choco brownies: These gluten-free, high-fiber brownies would offer a person with nutrition and protein while striking the sweet spot.
  • Chocolate and Peanut butter: If a person is in the mood for this typical recipe, try out these no-bake choco bites with peanut butter.

Most of these recipes are free of gluten. And, diabetic patients do not require avoiding gluten unless diagnosed with celiac disorder.

Summary

Diabetics might have a little part of dark chocolate as a post-meal sweet two times every day. the two times can be after lunch and after dinner. Always opt for a bitter variation that consists of 70 to 85% cocoa. The carb content in the dark chocolate shows the amount of sugar present in it. Keep it to 15 grams to 30 grams for one serving. The taste of a grated dark chocolate is just marvellous over smoothies, oatmeal, and yoghurt.

Why Lifestyle Modifications Matter

Keeping the glucose levels in target limit is a vital part of diabetes management. This can be combined with diet, medicines, and physical activity. All of such factors act in combination to generate optimal health and avoid diabetes complications. Diet and regular physical activity may help:

  • Improves blood flow
  • keep weight in a healthy limit or aid in weight management
  • avoid or delay diabetic complications
  • burn additional calories
  • stabilize the levels of blood glucose, blood pressure, and cholesterol
  • provides a person with more energy
  • improves a person’s mood

A person’s diet is based upon insulin or other diabetes medicines. And, a doctor might work with a person on the best times to consume, carb consumption, and diet planning. It’s not simple to incorporate certain lifestyle modifications, but a person does not have to do it alone.

Risks of Over Intake of Chocolate for Diabetics

Excessive consumption of dark chocolate can cause a spike in blood glucose levels and weight gain. Cocoa also contains caffeine, which may cause excess urination, sleeplessness, faster heartbeat, and nervousness.  Do not consume compound chocolate as it contains vegetable oil like palm and soy, and not cocoa butter, making it difficult to digest for diabetics.

Use Breathe Well-being app to discuss with expert diabetes educators or dieticians. It is a powerful diabetes reversal platform. It makes use of natural means of diabetes reversal. Let’s reverse diabetes together.

Summary

You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of chocolate if you have diabetes, just consume it in moderation. Not all chocolate is the same, and dark chocolate has health benefits that other kinds don’t have. Also, consider your lifestyle behaviours like diet and exercise before deciding to indulge. If you’re looking to incorporate chocolate into your diet, talk with your doctor about the best ways to do so.

FAQs:

Does dark chocolate contain less sugar?

Each kind of chocolate comes with a diverse sugar content. Dark chocolate, containing high amounts of cocoa, consists of much less sugar as compared to milk or white chocolate.

How often can a diabetic eat Dark Chocolate?

With dark chocolate, moderation is key. A small piece (20-30 grams) of dark chocolate for diabetes is permissible. Big and small brands alike sell specially-made diabetic chocolate today. Check the food label for cocoa and sugar content.

Which dark chocolate is safe for people with diabetes?

Rather than ‘diabetic’ chocolate, go for a high-quality dark chocolate. Dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa is the best option. It has a stronger flavor in comparison to milk chocolate, so a person is likely to consume a bit less.

Does dark chocolate spike the levels of blood glucose?

A simple way to include cacao to a person’s diet is by having dark chocolate. Even though, an excess of it may result in a spike in blood glucose. Thus, it is suggested to have dark chocolate in limits.

References:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/diabetes/chocolate-for-diabetics
  2. https://www.everydayhealth.com/type-2-diabetes/diet/why-dark-chocolate-one-best-desserts-diabetics/
  3. https://phablecare.com/diabetes/dark-chocolate-good-for-diabetes/

Last Updated on by Dr. Damanjit Duggal 

Disclaimer

The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.

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