Diabetes and chocolate do not usually go hand in hand. Pure chocolate on its own is bitter, so sugar and fat are tossed in the mix to counterbalance the taste and to achieve the creamy, rich texture. Chocolate is said to be harmful to diabetics because of the added sugar and fat. But what about dark chocolate that has a minimal amount of sugar and fat?
Research has shown that chocolate may help to manage diabetes, lower the risk of heart disease, and improve mood. Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, a group of compounds known to decrease cholesterol levels (lower the bad cholesterol and increase the good cholesterol) and cut back on the risk of blood clots. Several studies have also found how chocolate can help relax blood vessels, leading to lower blood pressure. And that’s not all. This lovely treat also plays a role in blood glucose control as it can improve insulin efficiency.
In contrast, white chocolate does not harness the same benefits of dark chocolate according to studies. It is, however, important that diabetics eat dark chocolate in moderation as it still contains some amount of sugar. In excess, it will increase blood glucose levels and also lead to weight gain. Diabetics who decides to try out dark chocolate should not forget to include it in their calorie and carbohydrate counts.
Dark chocolate has more cocoa and less sugar compared to other types of chocolate. Look for dark chocolate that has a higher amount of cocoa—at least 70% cocoa. White chocolate is bad for diabetics as it has no cocoa and is high in calories, and fat.
A disadvantage of dark chocolate is the high amount of caffeine that may interfere with sleep. Dark chocolate also contains oxalates which can increase the risk of kidney stones. Experts usually recommend one ounce of dark chocolate per day. People who experience migraine headaches should also avoid chocolate as it can be a common trigger for it.
There are many ways to enjoy dark chocolate. It can be eaten on its own or added to baked goods such as tarts or cakes. If you love dark chocolate, try talking to your dietician or doctor about incorporating it into your meal plans.
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