Whether you’ve recently been diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with the condition for some time, managing a healthy diet can be one of the biggest daily challenges you face. And cutting chocolate out completely probably sounds like a miserable prospect.
But is that necessary? Can diabetics eat chocolate safely? What is “diabetic chocolate” and how does it differ from regular chocolate? Read on to find out. We’ll answer all these questions and more.
Can You Eat Chocolate If You Have Diabetes?
Diabetes is a lifelong condition in which the body fails to process food effectively, resulting in a high blood sugar level. There are two types of diabetes, type one and type two. A person with either of these conditions will have to make changes to their diet — possibly along with medication and insulin injections — to remain healthy.
There is no specific diet recommended for diabetics but a varied and healthy diet will help you to manage your blood sugar level and maintain a good level of energy. Diabetics must be especially mindful when eating foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar. If these are consumed in excessive amounts, this may lead to a spike in the blood sugar level which can cause health complications. You can still enjoy such foods as occasional “treats” — this applies whether you have diabetes or not!
A lot of chocolate has a high sugar content which makes it an unsuitable choice for a person who already has or is prone to having an elevated blood sugar level. Regular milk chocolate and sugar-sweetened dark chocolate have a higher glycemic index (GI) than sugar-free chocolate (also known as no-added-sugar) and unsweetened dark chocolate. The GI of food shows how quickly it will raise blood glucose — or “blood sugar” — levels.
Small amounts of low GI chocolates can generally be consumed safely by diabetics. Look for chocolates with higher amounts of cocoa solids as this generally means that the sugar and fat content will be lower. Dark chocolate is a great choice and a delicious treat!
What Does Sugar-Free Chocolate Contain?
Without sugar, what gives diabetic chocolate its sweet taste?
Most sugar-free chocolate is sweetened with maltitol which the body does not digest completely, resulting in a slower rise in blood sugar and insulin levels compared to sucrose and glucose.
However, it is still a carbohydrate with a glycemic index, so it's wise to enjoy your sugar-free chocolates in moderation. Choose high-quality products that feel like a real treat and you’ll be less inclined to binge.
It’s worth noting that other types of sweeteners can be used in sugar free chocolate too, such as sorbitol and aspartame, however these often have a bitter after taste and are known to have a stronger laxative effect - which is why we use maltitol.
How to Enjoy Chocolate as Part of a Healthy Diet
The advice for diabetics is similar to that given to people without the condition — if you want to live a long and healthy life, eat a varied diet and eat “treats” in moderation.
Seek out sugar-free and dark unsweetened chocolate. If you struggle to limit yourself to a few squares or can’t avoid eating the whole box of truffles once they’re open, consider portioning your treats. Decide how much you want to eat in a day and pop this amount in a container. Wrap the rest up and put it away. With chocolate as delicious as ours, it’s very hard to resist “just one more piece”!
Forget about those cheap tasting, bitter diabetic chocolates you may have tried, or rather endured, before. Our sugar-free Pod chocolates are handmade with luxury Belgian chocolate sweetened with maltitol. Tried and tested by diabetics, our range truly is amongst the best sugar free chocolate on the market.