Dark Chocolate May Have Health Benefits for those with Type 2 Diabetes
Good news for dark chocolate lovers: Recent studies (published in Diabetic Medicine) have shown that consuming 45g of dark chocolate per day can yield positive results for those with type 2 diabetes.
While sugar intake is a main area of concern for diabetics, and consequently chocolate is typically seen as a food that should be avoided, when it comes to cholesterol the advantages of dark chocolate can make it a worthwhile addition to the diet.
Benefits for Cholesterol
People with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely as people who do not have diabetes to develop cardiovascular disease. One of the main contributors to heart disease is a low level of HDL (high density lipoprotein) or “good” cholesterol. This is where dark chocolate can help. The studies showed that HDL levels increased and the overall cholesterol balance was improved when participants consumed 45g of dark chocolate each day.
The dark chocolate used in the studies contained 85% cocoa solids. Participants were given 15g individually wrapped bars and they were asked to consume one bar three times per day. They were also instructed not to consume any other chocolate during the study and not to make any other changes in diet or lifestyle. The results of this study indicated that the dark chocolate took the place of other snack foods and tended to reduce the guilt that comes with eating too many unhealthy snacks. While this was a positive discovery, the most important finding was that dark chocolate can provide the means to potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Consuming Dark Chocolate Creates No Substantial Risks for:
- Weight gain
- Insulin resistance
- Glycemic control
What this Means for You
The research suggests that chocolate with a very high cocoa content (about 85%) should be included in the diets of individuals with type 2 diabetes. Of course, the chocolate should be added to a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle. This allows for a little indulgence without the guilt and with the knowledge that it may help protect you from cardiovascular disease.