Diabetes Is Not the End of Chocolate

This article was written exclusively for Information About Diabetes by type 2 diabetic and chef Ward Alper.

For some of us with diabetes, chocolate is a big deal – made bigger because we are told we can’t have it.

If the way you manage your diabetes is by controlling your carbohydrate intake, chocolate may still be a possibility.

This is how I approach chocolate in my diabetic life. It works for me, but it may not work for others. It is always a good idea to talk it over with your personal diabetes care team.

Enjoying Chocolate with Diabetes

As I walked out of my doctor’s office six years ago, I was in a state of shock. I looked at my doctor and said, “So I guess no more chocolate, eh?” He put his thumb and index finger almost as close as he could and said, “Well, maybe just a little”

That was all I needed.

Three chocolate chips was never going to be enough for me, and a half a bag of them was going to be too much.

Step 1: Finding Chocolate

Once the dust of the diagnosis settled, I went to the “stupidmarket” and read the label on every – and I do mean every – chocolate product I could find, including bars, cocoa and chips.

Well, as it happens, dark chocolate is actually not that high in carbohydrates. And, believe it or not, it even has some fiber. It is the white sugars and milk solids that pump up the carbs.

This is not to say that all dark chocolate is a good choice. Look for the ones that are 70 percent cocoa or more, as they are going to be your better choices.

You have to decide if chocolate is worth adding to your personal carbohydrate budget. I discovered that the commonly available Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder has very little carbohydrate (3 grams of carbohydrate and 1 gram of fiber per tablespoon). One tablespoon goes a very long way in flavoring a recipe.

Step 2: Using Chocolate

Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder, Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate and Ghirardelli Dark chocolate chips are permanent parts of my pantry.

I use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder to flavor my “flour” mixture (part flour and part toasted ground nuts) for chocolate cake, for my Double Chocolate Ricotta Crème, and mixed into the filling for my Chocolate Silk Tart (recipe below).

Perugina Bittersweet Chocolate is made in Italy by Nestle. It is so incredibly rich that 2-3 squares (each square is 2.7 net grams of carbohydrates) will satisfy your craving – not habit – for chocolate.

As for chocolate chips, Ghirardelli Dark chocolate chips are a pretty good choice (8 grams for 16 chips).

Step 3: Eating Chocolate

The chocolate confections are all very good, but what if you want a piece of chocolate to melt in your mouth?

Good news! Depending on what you choose to allow yourself, and how well you read and understand labels, you can even have an ounce or so (about one-third of a bar) as a treat from time to time, but only if it works for your body.

Sadly, not all of us can tolerate even the smallest amount of chocolate. The entire Snickers bar is most likely a poor choice, even if it one of the dark chocolate varieties.

Dark chocolate is the far-better choice. I know many of you think you don’t like dark chocolate or think that bittersweet chocolate is bitter (it really is not). I think you will very quickly find yourself starting to really enjoy the richness and deep chocolate flavor of these varieties. Just remember that in baking, crèmes and custards, the dark chocolate flavor is softened by the other ingredients.

Recipe: Chocolate Silk Tart

Using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder and a granulated sugar substitute, I have created a tongue-titillating, soul-satisfying, utterly romantic chocolate silk confection almost guaranteed to make any celebration – well, you know. (Recipe below.)

Just don’t forget to put it on a special dish and have some raspberries handy for decoration.

Fall in love with chocolate all over again.

Enjoy, be healthy, be DECADENT!

Click here for Ward's Chocolate Silk Tart recipe!

Get more cooking tips and recipe ideas from Ward Alper, the Decadent Diabetic, on his website.

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