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Can Dark Chocolate Increase Blood Sugar?

Does Chocolate Raise Your Blood Sugar?

Does Chocolate Raise Your Blood Sugar?

As long as you choose flavonoid-rich dark chocolate, the sweet treat could have a number of beneficial effects on health, including lowering your blood pressure and your risk for heart disease. The beneficial compounds in dark chocolate may also help minimize your diabetes risk, according to a study published in "The Journal of Nutrition" in February 2014. However, this doesn't mean eating a lot of chocolate won't have an effect on your blood sugar. The composition of a food, the portion size you eat and when you eat it can all make a difference in the effect of a food on your blood sugar levels. Video of the Day Because of their different composition, some types of chocolate have a greater effect on blood sugar than others. Out of the three macronutrients, carbohydrates have the greatest effect on blood sugar; however, if a food also contains a significant amount of fat or protein, these nutrients slow down the absorption of the sugars from the food and lessen the impact of the food on your blood sugar. Dark chocolate has 12.9 grams of carbohydrates per ounce, which is slightly less than the typical 15 grams considered a serving of carbohydrates for diabetics. Milk chocolate and white chocolate are higher in carbohydrates, with about 16.8 grams per ounce, so they'll have more of an impact on your blood sugar if you eat too much of them. Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load Glycemic index is a tool used to help estimate the potential effect of a food on blood sugar levels. Pure sugar has a glycemic index of 100. Foods that are high on the glycemic index are more likely to cause spikes in blood sugar levels than those lower on the glycemic index. Dark chocolate has a glycemic index of 23, and milk chocolate has a glycemic index of 42. These are both within the low range beca Continue reading >>

Can Diabetics Eat Chocolate?

Can Diabetics Eat Chocolate?

If you have diabetes, you can eat anything -- although possibly not in the quantities you'd like. That includes chocolate. Some types of chocolate, such as dark chocolate, might even have health benefits, in moderation. Portion control is the key to enjoying foods like chocolate if you have diabetes, the American Diabetes Association reports. Dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols, plant substances that act as antioxidants and that might also help prevent heart disease and lower blood glucose levels. Types of Chocolate All chocolate is not created equal in terms of health benefits. When it comes to foods high in simple sugars, less is better if you have diabetes. Dark chocolate contains more cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate, so you can eat a little more of it if you're controlling your calories or sugar intake. With dark chocolate, the higher the cocoa percentage, the better it is for you. Look for dark chocolate with at least 70 percent cocoa, registered dietitian Mitzi Dulan recommends. White chocolate contains no cocoa and is higher in calories and saturated fat than dark or milk chocolate. Potential Benefits According to a study that appeared in the January, 2015 issue of ARYA Atherosclerosis, high-cocoa polyphenol-rich chocolate lowers blood pressure and insulin resistance in patients with diabetes and high blood pressure. Insulin resistance restricts the uptake of glucose into cells, which causes blood glucose levels to rise. People who ate white chocolate did not experience a decrease in blood pressure or insulin resistance. In a British study published in the November 2010 issue of Diabetic Medicine, diabetics who consumed chocolate high in cocoa for 16 weeks experienced a decrease in total cholesterol and an increase in high-density lipoprotein, the so-c Continue reading >>

6 Foods That Lower Blood Sugar

6 Foods That Lower Blood Sugar

A healthy lifestyle of exercise with a well-balanced diet should go a long way towards keeping blood sugar levels even. For example, for maintaining good blood sugar levels, my doctor recommends a diet rich in healthy protein and fats, lower in carbohydrates, and plenty of low-carb produce. But beyond the general principles, there are some wonderful foods that specifically help keep blood sugar levels in a healthy place. Here are six of them. Tea: Animal studies have shown that black, green, white and oolong teas all help with blood sugar control. One study found that after drinking six cups of tea a day for eight weeks, patient’s blood sugar levels were 15-20 percent lower than before! Drinking tea is a beautiful and traditional practice that could also have a positive role in healthy blood sugar levels. Dark chocolate: One important aspect of good blood sugar control is how your body handles insulin. Dark chocolate was found to reduce insulin resistance, a vital part of keeping healthy blood sugar levels. This is good news for chocolate lovers — just make sure that it is a truly dark chocolate. Vinegar: In a surprising study at Arizona State University, vinegar was shown to have the same effect as a leading diabetes medication! In the study, patients were given a vinegar drink to consume before a meal rich in carbohydrates. Starting a meal with a salad with a vinegar dressing could be a good choice instead. Nuts: When diabetic patients swapped carbohydrate-rich snacks with nuts instead, they were able to lower their general blood sugar levels over time. Nuts are a healthy source of protein, as well as many nutrients (such as vitamin E and selenium), so they are a smart addition to a healthy lifestyle. Chia seeds: This tiny seed is native to Southern Mexico and Cen Continue reading >>

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

5 Blood Sugar Friendly Diabetic Snacks

back to Overview Looking for some snacks that are blood sugar friendly? Health coach and mySugr blogger Markus Berndt shares some of his secrets for taming the snack monster. Diabetic Snack Attack Today is all about diabetic snacks, or snacks that are more blood sugar friendly than your typical carb bombs we often crave. Thankfully we have Markus here to help. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May of 2012 which catalyzed his devotion to healthy living through diet and exercise. He’s currently a management consultant for workplace health promotion and a health coach. He writes a popular blog (in German) at www.diabetesade.com and contributes regularly to the German side of our website. He has lots of great information to share, and from time to time I’ll do my best to bring a translation to you in English. Over to you, Markus! A Universal Feeling We all experience the urge to snack (if not outright binge) and reward ourselves with culinary delights. The monster is hungry! Finding snacks that are blood sugar friendly can help a lot. Of course, when the urge strikes, we’re not craving health food. Unfortunately, it’s usually the common snack foods, which, by the way, are designed to addict us. It’s a vicious cycle that can be really hard to break free from. So what to do? We don’t want to cave in completely, but constantly nibbling on naked celery isn’t fulfilling either. Finding blood sugar friendly snacks is often really hard. But thankfully there are a few goodies that we can turn to for some satisfaction without needing to feel terribly guilty. These small snacks that, in moderation, will increase your blood sugar a “tolerable” amount and are still really tasty! Some of them I even consider to be miracle products of nature! Walnuts These are cl Continue reading >>

Six Common Foods That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

Six Common Foods That Raise Your Blood Sugar Levels

AFFECTING 1.8 Million Australian's, diabetes is the world's fastest growing chronic disease with two people developing the disease every 10 seconds. With National Diabetes Week around the corner (July 12-18), Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse pharmacist Carolyn Clementson, is dishing up the worst foods for your blood sugar. Carolyn Clementon says most people think they know what foods are high in sugar, but glucose can be hiding where we least expect it. "Everyone associated chocolate, soda and lollies with sugary danger foods when talking about diabetes, however the below foods are equally as risky and will cause a spike in your blood sugar," she said. Food made from refined white flour are easily digestible starch and which will raise your blood sugar level, instead it's best to opt for brown versions. 2. Chinese Food Dishes that are high-calorie, high fat, high-sodium, and high-carb can spike blood sugar dramatically. Dishes to avoid include fried entrees, orange chicken, sweet and sour dishes and anything served with a sugary sauce. If you are craving Chinese, prepare something at home using steamed veggies and low-sodium, low-fat condiments and flavourings. 3. Potatoes They might be a vegetable but they are far from healthy, potatoes are notorious for increasing blood sugar because they're digested into the bloodstream quickly. A healthier option is to swap potatoes for sweet potatoes. 4. Energy Bars Although energy bars can seem like a healthy snack it is important to read the label! Energy bars are often made from refined flours and sugars and can have a higher sugar content than a Mars Bar! Choose bars that are made with nuts, whole grains and fewer natural sweeteners. 5. Bananas and Melons Although seen as a healthy choice, not all fruits are created equal. Fruits Continue reading >>

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

The Benefits Of Chocolate For Diabetes

Ohhhhhhhhhh….Chocolate! Chocolate! How many times have you just had that sometimes nearly overwhelming urge to have some chocolate—in any form! You can have a chocolate bar, chocolate milk, chocolate cake, brownies, a chocolate ice cream sundae or a cup of hot cocoa just to list a few forms of chocolate. Oh wait—you can have dark chocolate, milk chocolate, orange, mint or raspberry-flavored chocolate or white chocolate….so much to choose from! But….should you? And if you should, just how much is enough and how much is overdoing it? Are there “healthier” forms of chocolate? Many of us sure as shootin’ hope there is! The “Dark” History of Chocolate Chocolate comes from the fruit and seeds of the cacao tree and is native to the Amazon forest. Botanically, the cacao tree is known as Theobroma cacao – this tree has three major varieties; the Forastero, the Trinitario and the Criollo. The Forastero is the most commonly used variety while the rarest and most prized for its aroma and its delicate taste is the Criollo variety. Christopher Columbus is credited with being the first European to come in contact with the cacao bean—he and his crew found—and stole, apparently—a canoe filled with various food items, including baskets of cacao beans. The cacao beans were actually used as local currency, but their chocolate quality was missed for another twenty years until Hernando Cortez brought 3 chests of cacao beans, this time stolen from the Aztecs, back to the court of the Spanish king—and the popularity of cacao and chocolate took off![1] The history of chocolate though, actually appears to be much older, going back to at least the Mayan civilization and possibly the Olmec civilization that predates the Mayan civilization. The traditional chocolate be Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Chocolate

Diabetes And Chocolate

Tweet A diabetic eating chocolate may raise eyebrows amongst some people but within reason, chocolate needn’t be completely cut out of your diet. In most cases, chocolate will cause blood sugar levels to rise and in light of this it’s best to limit chocolate consumption to small amounts and to avoid eating when blood sugars are already higher than the recommended blood glucose levels. 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. However, it should be noted 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 alco Continue reading >>

Healthy Blood Sugar Part 4: The Chocolate Effect

Healthy Blood Sugar Part 4: The Chocolate Effect

As I wrap up this series on blood sugar and pre-diabetes, it seems only fitting to end by discussing the good and the not-so-good of chocolate. The research is compelling – there are so many studies touting the health benefits of cacao. A species of theobroma, or “food of the gods,” others have called it the “food of the devil” – suggesting there may be a dark side to chocolate. Let’s dip into the very controversial issue of chocolate: is it for the gods, the devil, or just us regular folk? This article also contains my conclusion to the entire Pre-Diabetes four-part series. After dedicating the past four weeks to the study and exploration of this newly documented cultural epidemic, I’ll tell you my final thoughts on what needs to be done to get us – and our addiction to the sweet taste – back on track. What We Mean When We Say Chocolate Chocolate, like coffee and tea, is loaded with over 300 powerful chemicals and antioxidants that deliver numerous health benefits, according to one report on the British Broadcasting Corporation. But let’s be clear from the start: not all chocolate is created equal. It is the cacao in the chocolate that delivers these health benefits, not the added milk or sugar. The benefits of chocolate are generally noticeable in dark chocolate, with a cacao content of 70% or more. In this article, when I talk about the benefits of chocolate, I am referring to the constituents and effects of the cacao bean, not chocolate energy bars, cakes, or other chocolate treats. Let’s take a look at some of the major constituents of chocolate. The Power of Chocolate – Unpacking the Components As many of us know from experience, chocolate releases neurotransmitters called endorphins (also called endogenous morphine) in the brain, which c Continue reading >>

Diabetes And Dark Chocolate

Diabetes And Dark Chocolate

Share: Mouthwatering dark chocolate; could it be true that there are health benefits to eating it? Should someone with diabetes avoid the sheer pleasure of dark chocolate? Are there any precautions to take? What is the real story surrounding dark chocolate and diabetes? Last but not least DiabetesCare.net has a list of 5 recipes that include dark chocolate for your utter enjoyment. The health benefits of eating chocolate: Research scientists are studying good bacteria found in the digestive tract of people that normally eat cocoa. Preliminary findings are pointing in the direction that this bacteria is helping to ferment antioxidants and fiber found in cocoa. These bacteria are thought to help create compounds that are anti-inflammatory and help with our cardiovascular health. In one study of healthy individuals, it was found that by eating a small square (8 grams) of dark chocolate (70% cocoa chocolate) every day for a months’ time an improvement in vascular function over their own baseline as well as the control group was shown. This small amount can potentially help to decrease the risk of heart disease. The research was done on pure, unsweetened cocoa powder and it is advised that even the darkest chocolate must be consumed in moderation to avoid excess calories and weight gain. At this time scientists can not recommend an ideal amount of cocoa powder to eat. (1) For people with type 2 diabetes, daily dark chocolate consumption of 20 grams per day (that was rich with polyphenols) helped increase the sensitivity to insulin. This is important for blood glucose control. Increasing insulin sensitivity may also help delay the onset of type 2 diabetes in people with pre-diabetes. (1) A review of literature in 2012 found that eating dark chocolate every day reduced blood Continue reading >>

Why Diabetics Should Eat Dark Chocolate

Why Diabetics Should Eat Dark Chocolate

Everyone loves chocolate and it’s not hard to understand why. It’s delicious and it makes you feel good. There’s not much about chocolate not to love. Unfortunately, many chocolates are also filled with sugar and additives. They make that delicious chocolate unhealthy and even dangerous for diabetics. When you go with a good dark chocolate though, it can do your body and your diabetes a world of good. Here are five great things about dark chocolate: It’s Nutrient Rich Dark chocolate is super nutritious. It’s especially hearty when it comes to antioxidants. Dark chocolate is filled with flavonoids polyphenol antioxidants and catechins. These nutrients work to beat inflammation and fight against illnesses. Dark chocolate is also filled with fiber. Fiber is used by the body to aid digestion and keep your heart healthy. Dark chocolate is also rich in minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. Dark chocolate may have fats but they are healthy fats such as monosaturated fat and healthier natural saturated fats. Healthy fats like these keep your body running smoothly. It Can Keep Your Heart Healthy A study done in 2004 about the heart and dark chocolate found out a few interesting things. The study was done by the Journal of American College of Nutrition and discovered that dark chocolate created from cacao is rich in flavonoids. The antioxidant properties, along with the inhibition of platelet activity, and the activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase are all effects that protect your cardiovascular system and dark chocolate is responsible for them all. It really looks like eating some dark chocolate can do wonders for your heart. Which is funny considering what milk chocolate can do to it. It Can Lower Bloo Continue reading >>

7 Surprising Things That Make Blood Sugar Control Easier

7 Surprising Things That Make Blood Sugar Control Easier

Being asleep. Being awake. Hot weather. Cold weather. Seems there’s no end to the number of things that can raise your blood glucose levels. No wonder diabetes management can be such an obstacle course. But it’s not all doom and gloom. For every factor that unexpectedly sends your blood sugars spiralling out of control, there’s an equally unexpected – and often enjoyable – way to keep them under control. 1. Peanut butter We know that peanuts are great for people with diabetes. But one group of researchers from Brazil were more interested in peanut butter (and why wouldn’t they be). The team split participants into three groups: the first ate 1.5 ounces of peanuts; the second had three tablespoons of peanut butter with breakfast; and the third had no peanut butter or peanuts. They all ate the same lunch of white bread and strawberry jam. Interestingly, the researchers found that the peanut butter was better for blood glucose levels than the peanuts. The second group felt fuller for long, and had lower blood sugars when they were tested after lunch. Not all peanut butter is as good for you, of course. But the researchers found that the healthier brands can do you a lot of good. Turns out that peanut butter has a lovely combination of high protein, fibre and healthy oils. So you no longer have to feel ashamed for eating it straight from the jar with a tablespoon. I certainly won’t. 2. Red wine Red wine lowers blood sugars by stopping the intestines absorbing glucose. Recently, plenty of researchers have become very interested in the effects of red wine on weight loss and blood glucose levels. A number of studies reckon it could be beneficial. That said, drinking too much of it can cause problems (such as a build-up of fat around the liver), so everything in m Continue reading >>

The 15 Best Superfoods For Diabetics

The 15 Best Superfoods For Diabetics

beats1/Shutterstock Chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and research shows that these nutrients reduce insulin resistance, improve insulin sensitivity, drop insulin levels and fasting blood glucose, and blunt cravings. But not all chocolate is created equal. In a 2008 study from the University of Copenhagen, people who ate dark chocolate reported that they felt less like eating sweet, salty, or fatty foods compared to volunteers given milk chocolate, with its lower levels of beneficial flavonoids (and, often, more sugar and fat, too). Dark chocolate also cut the amount of pizza that volunteers consumed later in the same day, by 15 percent. The flavonoids in chocolate have also been shown to lower stroke risk, calm blood pressure, and reduce your risk for a heart attack by 2 percent over five years. (Want more delicious, healthy, seasonal foods? Click here.) Jiri Vaclavek/Shutterstock Broccoli is an anti-diabetes superhero. As with other cruciferous veggies, like kale and cauliflower, it contains a compound called sulforaphane, which triggers several anti-inflammatory processes that improve blood sugar control and protect blood vessels from the cardiovascular damage that’s often a consequence of diabetes. (Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people with diabetes, so this protection could be a lifesaver.) Sulforaphane also helps flip on the body’s natural detox mechanisms, coaxing enzymes to turn dangerous cancer-causing chemicals into more innocent forms that the body can easily release. Blueberries funnyangel/Shutterstock Blueberries really stand out: They contain both insoluble fiber (which “flushes” fat out of your system) and soluble fiber (which slows down the emptying of your stomach, and improves blood sugar control). In a study by the USDA, peopl Continue reading >>

Can Diabetics Have Chocolate?

Can Diabetics Have Chocolate?

If you’re a diabetic, you know that too much sugar is not good for you. But what about chocolates? Should someone with diabetes avoid the sheer pleasure of indulging in chocolates? Or should they have a “diabetic” chocolate? Or should they just throw caution to the winds and give in to the cravings of eating chocolate? Let us try and answer some of these questions. What Chocolate is Good For Diabetics? Chocolate is made from the fruit and seeds of the cacao tree. Chocolates come in different varieties, ranging from dark to white to milk. All the health benefits we associate with chocolate are found in dark chocolates, which have natural antioxidants – flavonoids and flavanols. If the cocoa content ((a powder made from the seeds of cacao) is high, the chocolate will be purer, darker and less sweet. Unsweetened cocoa powder has 88 to 96 percent of cocoa, dark chocolate contains 45 to 80 percent, and milk chocolate has only 5 to 7 percent of cocoa. Dark chocolates are also good for diabetics. Polyphenols (nutrients with antioxidant activity) found in cocoa help in increasing insulin sensitivity, thus improving glucose metabolism and insulin function. What About Diabetic Chocolates? This is only one word for these — “NO”. Diabetic chocolates contain sweeteners, such as fructose or sorbitol, which can increase blood sugar levels. They tend to contain just as much fat as ordinary chocolate; in fact, they are often high in bad types of fats, viz. saturated fats and trans fats. Also, they usually have as many calories, if not more, than normal chocolates. What Are The Benefits of Chocolates? According to a 2014 study by researchers from Louisiana State University, the digestive tracts of people who eat chocolate contain good bacteria. These bacteria help in creati Continue reading >>

Dark Chocolate And Diabetes: The Benefits Of This Tasty Snack

Dark Chocolate And Diabetes: The Benefits Of This Tasty Snack

Hardly a day goes by without a media source advising us to "Eat a tomato each day for better skin," "have a glass of red wine each night with dinner" — or some other dietary directive. Perhaps you've heard about the potential health benefits of dark chocolate and diabetes. But is it true? Chocolate fans, rejoice! Yes, in fact, this snack could lower your diabetes risk according to Endocrine Abstracts. Daily consumption of dark chocolate is associated with positive effects on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar — two key factors in developing diabetes. But before you jump and start incorporating chocolate into meals, make sure you know the facts. The Link Between Dark Chocolate and Diabetes The secret of how dark chocolate works against diabetes lies within the sweet snack's makeup. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties (which protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules). Polyphenols in dark chocolate may improve insulin sensitivity, or how well insulin works in the body. This, in turn, may help control blood sugar, according to research published in Endocrine Abstracts. Such improved insulin sensitivity may delay, or even prevent, the onset of diabetes. A study published by the journal Appetite found that people who eat chocolate, including dark chocolate, at least once a week had a lower prevalence of diabetes and were at lower risk for diabetes four to five years later. The analysis of 908 nondiabetic people and 45 people with diabetes discovered that people who ate such chocolate less than once weekly were at twice the risk of diabetes versus those who ate it more than one day per week. But what if you already have diabetes? Well, there may be some benefits of dark chocolate cons Continue reading >>

12 Proven Foods Essential For Every Type 2 Diabetes Diet

12 Proven Foods Essential For Every Type 2 Diabetes Diet

Cut out bread. No sugar in your coffee. Only one potato at dinner. If you’ve got blood sugar problems then you’ve heard those instructions over and over. The focus is always on what you should remove from your diet, and it’s incredibly frustrating. What about what you can eat? What about the foods you should be adding to a diet for type 2 diabetes… the foods that can actually improve blood sugar control? Research shows there are many natural foods that can help. Either by reducing sugar absorption into the bloodstream, or by improving insulin resistance. It’s certainly worth your while to learn what those foods are, rather than just what to avoid. I’ve done some of the research here and strongly recommend you start with the following. 1. Almonds improve glucose metabolism Tree nuts – not peanuts, which grow in the ground – are linked with many metabolic health benefits. But almonds really standout when it comes to managing blood sugar. They are very low in carbohydrates, but that’s not why. The reason is Magnesium. Magnesium is an essential mineral involved in over 300 bodily processes, including blood pressure regulation and blood sugar control (1, 2). Alongside spinach, almonds and cashews are among the best sources of magnesium in the human diet. Several handfuls provides over 20% of the daily recommended intake (2). While the mechanism is unclear, having low magnesium levels is strongly associated with both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. It appears to impact on insulin secretion, which may be the reason that 25-38% of type 2 diabetics have low magnesium (4). Clinical trials have shown that restoring low magnesium significantly improves insulin response and reduces blood sugar levels (4, 5). Especially if you’re magnesium deficient and insulin resist Continue reading >>

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