Are you someone who loves chocolates but is afraid of including them in your diet because you are diabetic? Well, you need not be! Several studies have shown that there are far-reaching benefits that eating chocolates can have in the body of a diabetes patient, provided the patient eats the right variety and in the right quantity. In this article, we shall analyze the risks and benefits that eating chocolates can have in a person who is already suffering from a chronic and complicated illness like diabetes. So, come and join in for the article “Can diabetics Eat Chocolates? Is It Good or Bad?”
Table of Contents
Types of Chocolate
Well, chocolates can be differentiated into white, dark, and milk chocolate. In order to understand the relationship between chocolates and diabetes, you need to know how each of these chocolates is different from the other. When you seethe chocolates reading as 35% or say 78%, the percentages represents how many doses the variety contains cacao butter or cacao solids. Higher percentage denotes that the particular variety is much closer to the original chocolate.
Dark chocolate is the one that is considered the closest to the original chocolate. To qualify as a dark chocolate, the chocolate should contain ingredients such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, vanilla, lecithin, as well as sugar. Anything more shall not be qualified as a dark chocolate, as pointed out by the Fine Chocolate Industry Association.
White chocolates are the ones that contain a huge amount of cacao butter which is then mixed with sugar and milk.
Finally, milk chocolate is the one which is made from the cacao solids which is then mixed with sugar and either of the milk powder, liquid milk, or condensed milk.
In the paragraph that follows, we shall discover whether eating any of these chocolate varieties is safe or not for the diabetic patients.
Which Variety of Chocolate is the Best for Me If I Have Diabetes?
Well, as per the experts, if you are someone who suffers from diabetes, then the dark chocolate is the best for your health as the same is nearest to the original chocolate and more a number of cacao solids in it, the lesser is the amount of sugar and fat making it comparatively healthy for patients suffering from diabetes. Having said that, you cannot have an overdose of chocolates. Stick to the recommended quantity of chocolate as suggested by the experts for all the diabetic patients.
Some Nutritional Facts About Dark Chocolate
As seen above, the dark chocolate is considered to be the best type of chocolate for the diabetes patients. In order to be considered dark, chocolates should contain at least 70 % cacao solids. The following nutritional facts about dark chocolate will further its health benefits:
- An ounce of dark chocolate contains 13 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, and 168 units of calories
- It has a glycemic load index of 4
- It also contains the all useful omega-3 fatty acids to the amount of 9.5 milligrams.
- It is a rich source of several nutrients such as copper, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, as well as phosphorous.
- The dark chocolate is also known to contain monounsaturated fat which is considered a healthy variety of fat for the diabetes patients
- Finally, dark chocolate contains caffeine and the bromine which are considered great for the health of individuals.
Health Benefits of Chocolate for Diabetes Patients
A moderate quantity of chocolate does not do any harm to the diabetes patients if the same is added to the diet under the supervision of an expert. Following are some of the benefits that this delicious food has to offer:
- Chocolates are a rich source of flavonoids which protects an individual against several types of heart-related conditions
- Flavonoids also help in the reduction of the bad cholesterol accumulated in the patient’s body. Besides, the risk of blood clots caused by various diabetes-related complications are further reduced to a great extent
- The flavonoids and flavanols present in the chocolate go a long way in protecting the damage caused to the blood vessels owing to diabetes as these elements are considered to carry high antioxidant properties.
- It is a known fact that eating chocolates can improve the release of “well-being” and “feel good” hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin. These hormones are essential to the human body as they help the body to fight against stress. Stress, we should not forget, is an important contributor to several health problems caused to the body particularly during diabetes. By combating the stress hormones, chocolate helps in managing diabetes efficiently.
- When you suffer from diabetes, the level of blood glucose is generally high. High blood glucose levels lead to increased production of harmful substances known as free radicals. Free radicals are considered to have a damaging effect on the body as they lead to oxidative stress and damage the cells of the body. Antioxidants can damage these free radicals allowing the cells to function efficiently.
- When you eat a pure form of chocolate, the content of caffeine and the obromine is quite high. This keeps the memory sharp and further improves the functioning of the brain.
- Dark chocolates also go a long way in helping the body to develop sensitivity to the hormone insulin. Insulin resistance of the body is the main cause of several complications caused by diabetes and by improving insulin sensitivity, dark chocolates benefit the patients in a big way.
Having seen the above health benefits of dark chocolate, you should note that these benefits mostly apply to the dark chocolate. The other two varieties of chocolates namely the milk chocolate and the white chocolate hardly enjoy the above-mentioned benefits.
Risks of Eating Chocolates in Diabetes
If you are diabetic, you have to be extremely careful of what you eat. As such, you need to know the risks which eating of chocolate can have on your health. Following are some of the known risks of eating chocolate, particularly if you are someone who suffers from diabetes:
- As chocolates are high in total sugar and calorie content, there is a high risk of putting on additional weight. Weight management and shedding of extra calories, as we know, is an important part of diabetes management.
- Also, as seen above already, dark chocolate contains a high amount of caffeine. The same can disturb the normal sleep cycle of a diabetes patient, leading to complications in the body.
- Besides, chocolates also contain oxalates. The oxalates can cause kidney stones in individuals.
- Large quantities of chocolate can also cause an increase in the levels of blood glucose which further gives rise to several unwanted complications in the body of a person who is already suffering from a chronic illness like diabetes.
Thus, eating chocolates, even if it is dark, does have some adverse implications that you must be aware of. It also means that you should be mindful of the total quantity of chocolate that you eat. Care should be taken not to go beyond the recommended quantity. The following paragraph talks about the recommended quantity of chocolate that one should have.
What is the Recommended Quantity of Chocolate in Diabetes?
Too much of everything is bad, as they say. Although chocolates, particularly the dark variety has so many health benefits, eating too much can take away those benefits and instead cause more harm.
The recommended quantity of dark chocolate for those who suffer from diabetes is around one ounce for a maximum of five times a week.
Also, when you are including chocolate in your daily diabetes meal plan, make sure that you count the total carbohydrates that you take as part of your overall diabetes meal plan. Choose a variety which is dark and does not contain too much sugar. Finally, avoid eating chocolates in the night because the caffeine content of the chocolate tends to keep you awake thereby disturbing your sleep cycle.
We hope that the above article has been helpful in improving your understanding of the relationship between diabetes and chocolates. Chocolates, particularly the dark variety can be safely included in the diet of a diabetes patient, provided you do not go overboard and eat only the recommended amount. Also, an expert supervision is always important because what suits one patient may not necessarily suit your body and disease as well!