Diabetes is a severe health condition where the blood sugar levels in a person becomes very high. These people have to take good care of their diet by monitoring consumption of sugar, and carbohydrate. Generally, diabetics are advised to avoid sugary items, so incorporation of chocolate in the diet is a concern for many. In this article we will look at whether a diabetic can eat chocolate as a part of their healthful diet plan.
How healthy is chocolate for a diabetic?
Chocolate is available in different forms depending on the sugar, milk, and calorie content in it. Not all types of chocolates are created equal. Due to difference in their content, they offer different types health benefits to a person. If you are a diabetic, you need to look for a type of chocolate that has got low calorie content, and sugar in it.
Chocolates are mainly classified into two forms: Milk chocolate, and Dark chocolate.
- Milk chocolate has double amounts of sugar, and lesser nutrients, and fiber as compared to the darker varieties of chocolate. Milk chocolate only adds fat, and calories, with negligible levels of antioxidant, and flavonoids.
- Dark chocolates, on the other hand have more than 50% cocoa, and less milk content than milk chocolates. Due to which these chocolates are less in calories, and sugar content. Cocoa contains less of the amount of sugar and calories in it. It is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, phytonutrients and fiber, that makes it beneficial for a diabetic.
According to the studies performed on effect of dark chocolate on diabetes, it has been found that people who eat this type of chocolate at least once in a week showed low risk of diabetes. 25 grams of dark chocolate when consumed for 8 weeks showed low levels of blood pressure, and fasting blood glucose in a diabetic.
Health benefits of Chocolate for a diabetic
Dark chocolate, and cocoa are packed with a wide range of nutrients that includes fiber, magnesium, potassium, iron, calcium, copper, manganese, zinc, riboflavin, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin A and Vitamin E, and pantothenic acid.
Dark chocolate helps in maintaining cardiovascular health, enhancing insulin sensitivity and stimulating cognition abilities in a person. Due to its rich nutritional composition, it is seen as a functional food like vegetables, whole grains, and fruits.
Dark chocolate has a natural occurring compound called polyphenols that possess antioxidant properties. It safeguards your body from any damage caused due to oxidative stress in the body.
Polyphenols are present in good amounts in dark chocolate that enhances insulin sensitivity/ response. This helps in controlling the levels of glucose in the bloodstream. Improved insulin sensitivity delays, or prevents the commencement of diabetes in a person.
How to find the best chocolate if you are a diabetic?
Dark varieties of chocolates are the only advised, and safer option available for a diabetic. It is rich in the polyphenols, antioxidants, and cocoa content that makes it a healthy choice in diabetes.
When you are in the market to find the right chocolate for diabetes, then you should go for darker variations of cocoa that has a minimum of 70% cocoa in it. Such chocolates are rich in antioxidants, fiber with minimal amounts of sugar.
Always check the nutritional label on the packaging to check about the presence of any added sugar, or artificial sweetener in it. Prefer the one that doesn’t have artificial compounds in it.
Enjoy Dark Chocolate in Moderation
Though dark chocolate is rich in nutrition, and less in calories, it doesn’t mean that you can eat it in any amounts. Excess of any food can cause you negative effects. Same goes with chocolates too. If you over consume it, you will exceed the permissible amount of sugar, fat, calories in the body. It will cause an imbalance in your blood sugar levels, and aggravate your health condition.
1 tablespoon of cocoa has only ten calories and 2 grams of fiber. According to doctors, ideal permitted dose of chocolate in a day is 20 grams (or a ¾ piece of dark chocolate) that equates to one to two tablespoons of cocoa. Eating it in this limit will provide you cardiovascular, and other health benefits easily.
There is a lot of confusion among diabetics regarding consumption of Chocolates. After knowing all these benefits, we can say that only dark chocolate is safe to be included as a part of a healthy diabetic diet. Limit its intake by counting carbs, and sugar in it. Combining it with other conventional diabetes-friendly foods will keep your blood sugar levels in check.