Can Diabetics Find Delicious Chocolate?

(Hint: The answer is “yes”)

Disclaimer: if you’re diabetic or need to watch your sugar intake, always consult with your doctor before adding new foods to your diet.

As anyone struggling with diabetes knows, many of the foods most people take for granted have to be avoided to maintain health and blood sugar levels. Fortunately, high quality chocolate is no longer on this list. Science is finding all kinds of physical health benefits but you don’t need a Ph.D to know that the sumptuous feeling of chocolate melting in your mouth is good for your mental health as well!

How is sugar free chocolate made?

Both dark and milk chocolate usually substitute maltitol in place of sugar. Maltitol is a sugar alcohol – a bit of a misnomer as it is neither sugar nor alcohol. To our taste buds, though, maltitol is about 90% as sweet as sugar with only half the calories. For diabetics, the great news is that only a portion of maltitol is absorbed through the intestines and the part that is absorbed is absorbed slowly, so there’s relatively little rise in blood sugar levels.

Dark chocolate does not have as much sugar as milk chocolate so sugar free varieties also contain less maltitol than milk chocolate. When fillings or creams are placed in sugar free chocolate varieties, maltitol or other sugar alcohols are used in place of sugar as well.

Health benefits of chocolate

Chocolate has numerous health benefits but like all things, should be consumed in moderation. Benefits include:

  • Flavinoids are B vitamins / antioxidants and are the main health benefit of chocolate. They’re found in many plant based foods. These antioxidants are thought to reduce bad cholesterol
  • Fat profile – yes, chocolate contains fat but since it comes from a plant, it’s better for you than animal fats. Dark chocolate contains primarily monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid which is important for brain function and your immune system.
  • Resveratrol – this powerful antioxidant has been demonstrated to protect the body from heart disease and dark chocolate contains among the highest concentration of resveratrol per serving, second only to red wine
  • Cacao – It’s not just science fiction that chocolate makes your mood better. Cacao is a precursor for important neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin and also assists in their
    continuous transmission, similar to the way antidepressants are thought to act

You may have noticed from the list that dark chocolate has higher benefits that milk chocolate and that’s generally true. If you do go with sugar free milk chocolate, the above benefits still apply but to a lesser extent.

Taste

Here’s the best part of all, when you purchase high quality sugar free chocolate, independent taste testers have been unable to tell the difference between sugar free and traditional chocolate. The key is high quality. The lower quality sugar free chocolates may take advantage of the fact someone avoiding sugar just wants to have some chocolate and will buy what’s put in front of them and therefore use lower grade chocolate. So if you’ve been turned off by sugar free chocolate before, I encourage you to give it a try again as the quality and recipes have improved.

This article was written by David Smith, owner of UltimateChocolateShoppe.com. You can find them on Facebook or follow David on Google+

Image credits: http://ultimatechocolateshoppe.com

Find more diabetes related posts:

  • Top 10 Diabetic Chocolates for Christmas
  • Diabetes-Friendly Chocolate Ice Cream
  • What To Include In Diabetic Gift Baskets
  • Cocoa for Diabetes Treatment
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