The good news is that chocolate doesn’t have to be excluded from your diet this Easter. A diabetic eating chocolate may raise eyebrows amongst some people but within reason, chocolate consumption is okay in moderation. In most cases, chocolate will cause blood sugar levels to rise, therefore it’s best to limit chocolate treats to small amounts and to avoid eating when blood sugars are already higher than the recommended blood glucose levels.
A recent survey carried out by the team at global diabetes community Diabetes.co.uk, revealed that over half of diabetics interviewed still buy chocolate as a treat, they just eat smaller quantities and only a quarter bought it to increase their blood sugar levels. Only 5% rarely or never buy chocolate!
The survey also revealed that the majority of ‘diabetic chocolate’ is bought by people who do not have diabetes rather than the people consuming it! 54.4% of people with diabetes would avoid buying chocolate labelled ‘suitable for diabetics’ despite that, they reported that the 33.5% of the chocolate bought for them was ‘diabetic friendly’ and 45.5% of people with diabetes eat the chocolate that they have always eaten, but just have smaller amounts.
Is eating chocolate good or bad for you? Chocolate contains a number of beneficial nutrients, some of which called flavonoids are thought to guard against heart disease. It is also thought that dark chocolate may help control cholesterol. However, the bad news is that larger quantities of chocolate can be disadvantageous to health in other ways. If a larger amount of chocolate is consumed, it will raise blood sugars which increases the risk of complications, of which cardiovascular problems is one. Secondly, the calorific content of chocolate is relatively high and therefore overconsumption of chocolate could lead to weight gain which also raises the risk of heart problems.
How much chocolate should I eat? For most people with diabetes, chocolate is best restricted to a few squares to prevent too much of an increase in sugar levels. For people with diabetes without weight problems, chocolate can be appropriate to have before exercising. For more strenuous activity, however, even shorter acting carbohydrate may be required.
Which chocolate is best for me? Chocolate with higher amounts of cocoa solids are best, as the sugar and fat content will often be lower as a result. For high cocoa solids content, dark chocolate is usually a good pick.
Is diabetic chocolate better for my sugar levels? Generally speaking, diabetic chocolate is made by replacing some or all of the sugar content with an alternative source of sweetener, such as the polyols (sugar alcohols) maltitol and sorbitol. Polyols can have laxative effects and therefore they should not be consumed in large quantities. The effect of polyols may vary from person to person. Some people find diabetic chocolate to be beneficial compared with regular chocolate, however, many people with diabetes find diabetic chocolate to not have enough redeeming benefits.