Chocolate bar, chocolate cake, chocolate milk, brownies, a cup of hot cocoa, a chocolate ice cream sundae, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate, raspberry-, mint- or orange-flavored chocolate… So many options to choose from.
However, should we even choose if we have diabetes? How much is enough and are there chocolates healthier than others?
Let’s answer these and more questions regarding chocolates and diabetes.
The answer is yes. They can eat chocolate but in moderate amounts, just like any other food. In fact, people with this chronic condition should follow a balanced diet with lots of healthy foods and little sugary and high-fat foods.
So, even though they can eat chocolate, they should make sure they don’t eat too much to prevent blood glucose spikes.
If someone thinks it’s diabetic chocolate, they’re wrong. These chocolates contain sweetener like sorbitol or fructose which can affect our blood glucose levels. What’s more, it usually has more calories than regular chocolate, as well as trans and saturated fats which are bad for our blood glucose.
So, the right type of chocolate for those with diabetes is dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa. But, this doesn’t mean we can eat as much as chocolate as we desire, or until we satisfy our hunger. This type of chocolate contains less sugar and more cocoa.
And, according to a 2005 Italian study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, dark chocolate can reduce insulin resistance and blood pressure levels within a week.
In contrary, the participants who ate only white chocolate didn’t experience a reduction in their blood pressure levels and insulin resistance. Another 2010 study shows dark chocolate can reduce total cholesterol levels as well.
Insulin resistance prevents the glucose from entering into the body’s cells and fueling them, so the glucose remains in the blood and leads to high blood glucose levels over time. So, since dark chocolate can reduce insulin resistance, it’s beneficial for those with this disease.
Even though there’s no recommended “dosage”, moderation is the key. Dark chocolate is high in calories but low in sugar. But, it’s important to include it in the carbohydrate count.
Generally, eat an ounce of this chocolate four to five times weekly. Still, it’s best to consult a nutritionist or doctor for specific recommendations.
Another option is to make a chocolate drink before bed using a teaspoon of cacao powder. Just don’t forget that cacao might keep one awake longer than they want.