I Have Type 1 Diabetes And I Love Chocolate Am I Okay Doc
Chocolate has this incredible power to help us through periods of stress, to make us feel good But also to make us feel guilty! When you live with Type 1 diabetes, you can indulge in the supreme happiness of eating chocolate. But it is not that simple!
Is Dark Chocolate Good For Diabetics
Recently, dark chocolate has gained a lot of hype as the best snack for diabetics.
The secret lies in the formation of the sweet snack. It comprises polyphenols. The natural compound has immense antioxidant effects, which prevent damage due to radical molecules.
Moreover, Polyphenols present in dark chocolate benefits insulin sensitivity and how it is processed inside the human body.
This helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Increased insulin sensitivity, in such a case, may delay, or slow down, or even prevent the early onset of diabetes.
How Much Dark Chocolate Should I Have
As with so many other things, too much of a good thing is, well, too much! There is no commonly accepted dosage for dark chocolate. Dark chocolate does contain a lot of calories and a moderate amount of sugar. Make sure you include the chocolate in your carbohydrate count. Talk to your physician and your nutritionist for specific recommendations. In general, aim for about 1 ounce of dark chocolate 4-5 times a week. This is probably easiest to keep track of as solid chocolate, but you can also use about 4 ounces of baking chocolate and spread out the baked chocolate item over 4-5 days.
1 ounce of solid chocolate is equivalent to about 28 grams and 28 grams is equivalent to a bit over 5 ½ teaspoons, so you can also use 1 teaspoon of cacao powder in the evening to make a chocolate drink to relax with before you go to bed. Keep in mind, though, that cacao IS a stimulant and may not be the best thing to have right before bedtime!
So becareful but chocolate alternatives can be possible edible or be included in a diet.
TheDiabetesCouncil Article | Reviewed by Dr. Christine Traxler MD on June 03, 2020
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Whats The Percentage Of Cocoa
Not all dark chocolate bars really carry all the benefits.
They must have the label of dark chocolate, but their cocoa quantity can be less by as much as 30 percent.
Indeed, to reap maximum perks of the snack, buy the bar having 70 percent cocoa or more. Generally, it is mentioned on the front package.
Dark Chocolates Are Good For Diabetics Time To Celebrate It
The rising number of diabetes cases aside, or the 1.6 million deaths this disease claims every year, one would think that this would mean a decrease in the overall consumption of one of the most widespread representation of sugar or sweets in general: chocolates. It didnt, in fact, chocolate consumption actually rose every year.
While this trend is somewhat alarming, it comes with a silver lining. Dark chocolate, or those with 50% and up cocoa content, has been discovered to possess several medicinal qualities that can immensely benefit people with a sweet tooth. Weve gathered five health benefits that you can get from eating dark chocolate bars daily in moderation, of course.
Unprocessed cocoa beans and dark chocolate are among the most potent sources of antioxidants in the world, surpassing even blueberries and the widely-recognized superfood Acai berries. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants that include polyphenols, flavanols, catechins, among others. Antioxidants are important because they fight free radicals that destroy living cells, induce premature aging, and whose presence alone causes an increase in risks of heart disease, cancer, and other diseases.
Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth
Just be sure its not milk chocolate. Or god forbid, white chocolate .
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How To Choose The Right Dark Chocolate
Since youve already known the benefits of eating dark chocolate and how good it can be for diabetes, you might have planned by now to start buying this sweet and have a good stock of it on your fridge. But wait, theres still more that you need to know.
You must remember that not all chocolates are created with the same levels and ingredients. When it comes to buying dark chocolate, there are still guidelines you must follow, especially if you have diabetes.
- Choose a higher cocoa percentage It is highly recommended to only purchase dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa or more. Always read the label and the key ingredients of the product you will buy.
- Limit intake with extra sugary ingredients As much as possible, limit yourself from eating dark chocolate with extra sugary ingredients. Instead, consume dark chocolate bars with nuts and almonds.
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Yes You Can Eat Chocolate With Type 2 Diabetes Heres How
Finding room in a diabetes-friendly diet to fit in indulgences can be trickyespecially if you are a notorious chocoholic. If we are being honest, it is nearly impossible to find an equally satisfying replacement for good, old-fashioned chocolate. The good news is, even if you are working on managing your blood sugar levels, chocolate can be a part of an overall healthy, diabetes-friendly diet. Here are a few tips to get your chocolate fix without derailing your diabetes management plan.
1. Choose quality over quantity
While this mantra is applicable to almost any food, it is especially important for more processed foods like chocolate. If you are looking for a simple chocolate bar, look for one that has few ingredients and minimal additives This might mean skipping the typical Easter or Halloween candyor at the very least eating them only very occasionallyand opting for a higher-quality chocolate bar to indulge in more often.
Darker chocolate contains higher amounts of antioxidants, which protect cells from damage. Dark chocolate also tends to be lower in sugar and can curb a chocolate craving in small amounts.
Not a fan of dark chocolate? Look for milk chocolate options that contain the least amount of ingredients. And be mindful of portion sizes milk chocolate tends to be higher in sugar and saturated fat.
2. Savor the moment
3. Pair it with other flavorful foods
4. Avoid total chocolate deprivation
5. Time your treats appropriately
Dark Chocolate: Risks Of Overconsumption For Diabetes
- 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.
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Tips For Eating Chocolate With Prediabetes
So you have prediabetes. Can you have chocolate? Yes. Can it actually be good for you? Yes. But do you need to be choosy about which kind you consume? Also yes.
If you want to take advantage of the health benefits of chocolate, then youll need to make healthy choices when it comes to picking out your chocolate products. Not everything that is called chocolate is actually good for you. Here are some tips to follow to make sure you are consuming only healthy, high-quality sources of chocolate:
1.Avoid candy and sweets. Anything that is labeled chocolate but is really just a candy or dessert needs to be avoided. We are talking Easter eggs, Valentines chocolate, Halloween candy, cupcakes, and cookies. These almost always contain very small amounts of actual cocoa bean and are super high in sugar, carbs, and other unhealthy additives.
2.Read labels and ingredient lists. If the ingredient list is short and simple and the product doesnt contain hidden sugars, carbs, and additives, it is likely a healthier option. If the ingredient list is long and theres a lot of other junk in there other than just cocoa, stay away from it.
3.Look for chocolate bars with high cacao content. The darker the chocolate, the better. This means more polyphenols and less sugar. Chocolate bars with cacao contents upwards of 80% are much healthier than those with only 40 or 50%.
Dark Chocolate: It’s Awesome For You
Dark chocolate is a nutrition powerhouse. It’s actually called a superfood, like blueberries and cranberries!
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- is high in antioxidants
- is high in fiber
- is high in minerals
- has 50 to 90% cocoa
- is high in flavanols, which increase insulin sensitivity, which means you have less chance of Diabetes, which is awesome!
“The evidence from these studies suggests that cocoa may be useful in slowing the progression to Type 2 Diabetes and ameliorating insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome.”
Use Of Dark Chocolate For Diabetic Patients: A Review Of The Literature And Current Evidence. Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives. 2017.
Research also suggests dark chocolate may:
- Lower your blood pressure
- has only 10 to 50% cocoa
- is high in dairy
Cheap chocolates contain butter fat, vegetable oils, artificial colors, artificial flavors, wax and sometimes NO cocoa at all!
Do yourself a favor and pledge with me right now, “I will NEVER eat milk chocolate again!“
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What Kind Of Chocolate Can Diabetics Eat
Its a common myth that if youre a diabetic, you cant eat any sweets. But, in general, sweets are equally important and tasty for them as they are for you. What are some of the best chocolates for diabetics? And what kind of chocolate can a diabetic eat?
To know more about this, you have to understand how standard chocolates are made. Standard commercial chocolate bars are mostly made from sugars, fats, and a specific portion of chocolate to enhance their taste. Most of the time the chocolate used in standard bars is very artificial. They use artificial cocoa powder, cocoa butter, and sugar alcohols.
If we go in-depth there are a lot of chocolate variants but to make it simple for you I categorized it into different parts. Semisweet and almost zero sugar dark chocolates. Some of them are made in the form of a bar, dessert, or spread form. Keep in mind that going for sugar-free chocolates is always the best option and try to stay away from regular milk chocolate.
Dark Chocolate And Insulin Resistance In Diabetes
One study found the risk of having diabetes was reduced by 35% for those who ate chocolate versus those who did not. Researchers continue to discover evidence that people with diabetes can eat chocolate and mend insulin resistance caused by type 2 diabetes.
Studies have shown that chocolate may protect against insulin resistance. More evidence suggests chocolate has an insulin-sensitizing effect on the body. Because it is highest in flavonols, dark chocolate is best for improving insulin resistance.
Dark chocolate has also shown promise in preventing heart disease that is often associated with diabetes. Additional research is needed to determine whether chocolate may repair damage to the pancreas caused by type 2 diabetes.
Alternatives to chocolate
Unfortunately, some people have allergic reactions to chocolate. For chocoholics, this can be devastating news. Luckily, chocolate allergies are rare. In the case of chocolate related allergies, there are some alternatives.
One alternative is diabetic chocolate, which is chocolate including no added sugars. These chocolates are usually sweetened with sugar alcohols, compounds that are chemically like sugar and alcohol. Sugar alcohols have a sweet flavor but are not fully digested by the body. While sugar alcohols do not raise blood glucose levels as much as sugar, they do raise it. Diabetic chocolates containing sugar alcohols should be limited.
Is dark chocolate good for diabetics?
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay
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Dark Chocolate Versus Milk Chocolate
There are different varieties of chocolate. Dark chocolate is made when a high amount of cocoa liquor is used. Dark chocolate is sometimes called semi or bittersweet chocolate, and it contains at least 35% cocoa liquor plus sugar. Milk chocolate results when condensed or powdered milk is an added ingredient. White chocolate is only cocoa butter, sugar, and milk.
How Else Does Chocolate Affect Your Health
A lot of research has looked at chocolate consumption and health, especially heart health. Most of the findings are positive. That is especially good news if you have diabetes, since diabetes is a risk factor for heart disease and related conditions. Various studies have linked chocolate consumption to lower blood pressure, triglycerides, and total cholesterol levels, and lower levels of unhealthy inflammation, according to a review article published in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling. Many studies have included people with diabetes.
It is however of note that women who are pregnant should avoid chocolate, particularly if you have gestational diabetes.
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Analyze The Nutrition Table
Most of the time, the brand claims its snacks as perfect replacements for your sugar-loaded bar. In contrast, the product has really low nutritional value.
The nutrition table offers a clearer picture of the ingredients and presence of cocoa in dark chocolate. Also, it helps you understand the kind of nutrition you can expect from the snack.
This 5-point guide clearly shows how you should buy dark chocolate. It should be low calorie, nutrition-dense, and high in cocoa.
Anything less than 70% cocoa isnt worth it at all.
The Most Important Thing
Dark Chocolate Might Actually Help Prevent Diabetes
Dark chocolate is made up mostly of cocoa bean solids and cocoa butter, which come from the plant Theobroma cacao. Cocoa beans offer incredible health benefits, as they contain many different important nutrients. Cocoa beans are one of the top food sources of something called polyphenols , for example. These polyphenols give dark chocolate various health benefits.
One of those benefits is supporting healthy blood sugar regulation. The compounds in cocoa beans and dark chocolate can help in many different ways, including slowing carbohydrate digestion and absorption in your gut, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing oxidative stress. Evidence from several studies suggests that dark chocolate intake can improve fasting plasma glucose levels and measures of insulin resistance.
And heres the great news. People who eat dark chocolate with lots of polyphenols have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
Eating dark chocolate may help to improve insulin resistance, regulate blood sugars, and slow the progression of type 2 diabetes. This means that if you have prediabetes, dark chocolate might just be able to help you prevent your prediabetes from developing into full-blown diabetes.
Dark chocolate can also help prevent the serious cardiovascular complications that are associated with prediabetes and insulin resistance. And for those who have already developed diabetes, chocolate consumption in moderate amounts may also be useful to supplement treatment.
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Is Eating Chocolate Good Or Bad For You
Chocolate contains a number of beneficial nutrients, some of which called flavonoids are thought to guard against heart disease
However, it should be noted that larger quantities of chocolate can be disadvantageous to health in other ways.
If a larger amount of chocolate is consumed, it will raise blood sugars which increases the risk of complications, of which cardiovascular problems is one.
Secondly, the calorific content of chocolate is relatively high and therefore overconsumption of chocolate could lead to weight gain which also raises the risk of heart problems.
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A Diabetic And Dark Chocolate May Raise Eyebrows Amongst Some People But Within Reason Chocolate Need Not Be Completely Cut Out Of Your Diet
A diabetic eating chocolate raise so many questions among some people but you know what chocolate neednât be completely cut out of your diet. In most cases, chocolate will cause a rise in blood sugar levels and thus itâs best to limit chocolate consumption to small amounts and to avoid eating when blood sugars keeps on fluctuating. As chocolate contains several beneficial nutrients, some of which called flavonoids are thought to guard against cardiac diseases. However, larger quantities of chocolates are harmful to health in other ways.Consuming chocolate in a larger dose, it will raise blood sugars which increases the risk of complications, of which heart related problems is one. Also, the calorific content of chocolate is relatively high and hence over consumption of chocolate could lead to weight gain which also raises the risk of heart problems.