Diabetes and Chocolate
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- Diet Basics & Blood Sugar Control
Chocolate will raise blood sugars, which is mostly unavoidable due to sugar content, but it does not have to be omitted from a diet of someone with diabetes.
Chocolate can be of benefit to people with diabetes, but only when consumption is limited and your blood sugars are at a stable level.
How much chocolate should I eat?
Chocolate should be eaten in moderation to avoid spiking blood sugar levels. A few squares of a bar are unlikely to increase glucose levels significantly.
Similarly to people with diabetes, chocolate can be enjoyed in very small portions, but consuming too much will result in excess sugar and calorie consumption.
Special occasions, or when eaten as part of a healthy meal plan are suitable times for chocolate to be consumed by people with diabetes.
If you are at risk of having hypos, chocolate can also be appropriate to have before or during exercise to prevent blood sugar levels dropping. However, if you have problems with your weight, you should consult a doctor before taking chocolate for exercise.
Diabetes and chocolate – is it good for me?
The beneficial nutrients of chocolate include flavonoids, which are found in cocoa. Flavonoids have been found to reduce the risk of many chronic illnesses such as cancer, stroke and coronary heart disease.
While flavonoids can be good for you, the negatives of chocolate consumption affect both those with and without diabetes.
People with diabetes will see their blood sugars rise upon eating chocolate, and too much consumption can increase the risk of complications developing such as cardiovascular problems.
Another risk in eating chocolate is the calorie content, which is very high and can contain a lot of sugar, depending on which type of chocolate you choose. Overconsumption can lead to weight gain which also increases the risk of heart problems.
Which chocolate is healthiest?
Dark chocolate is the healthiest chocolate to eat as the cocoa content is often around 70 per cent, which means there is less room for added sugar.
While dark chocolate tends to have a higher fat content than milk chocolate and a slightly higher number of calories, it also has higher levels of healthy flavonoids and tends to be less addictive and more filling.
Dark chocolate can reportedly also improve insulin sensitivity, which makes it a superior pick for people with diabetes.
Should I buy diabetic chocolate?
Some people find that diabetic chocolate can be of benefit, especially when trying to control blood sugar levels.
However, the source of sugar is not completely eradicated as sweeteners such as polyols (sugar alcohols), maltitol and sorbitol can still affect blood glucose levels.
Polyols can have laxative effects, which is a complaint from many who eat diabetic chocolate. These laxative effects can vary between individuals, though.
Another issue can be the price of diabetic chocolate, which is substantially more expensive than regular chocolate.
For these reasons, many find diabetic chocolate lacks enough benefits to merit being purchased regularly compared to non-diabetic chocolate.
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Last reviewed: March 10, 2015 at 14:32
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