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Friday, February 11, 2011

Dark Chocolate Good For Type II Diabetes In Moderation

You knew I would get around to this. IF you are a chocolate lover affectionately known as a "Chocoholic", and following this BLOG, you might be thinking, this guy is off his rocker, because I am NOT GOING TO go without chocolate.

I have known for some time about dark chocolate being better for you than the milder chocolates, however I also knew from experience that their was a certain amount of bitterness in the darker chocolates. Turns out that now that problem has been resolved.

It appears that dark chocolate can benefit "insulin resistance" which is the crux of a Type II diabetics problem to begin with. What it doesn't mean is that you can eat a couple of pounds of dark chocolate and you are good to go and will soon be healed of your Type II diabetes. It doesn't work that way. It does mean, you can enjoy without guilt a little dark chocolate in moderation and satisfy some of your cravings without doing yourself harm. If you are thinking in terms of  eating one 3.5 oz bar of chocolate in the morning, one in the afternoon and then what the heck , eat just one more during your favorite TV program in the evening, you need to study more.

I have in front of me a 3.5oz LINDT & SPRUNGLI excellence dark smooth chocolate bar which is 70% cocoa. Each serving has 17 grams of carbohydrates and 12 grams of sugar. The total bar contains 2.5 servings so if you eat the whole darn thing, you have just wolfed down 42.5 grams of carbohydrate and 30 grams of sugar. You will have successfully turned something that has health benefits taken in moderation into a carbohydrate/sugar overload to your system and it will definitely elevate your blood glucose to dangerous levels. If you just can't stop at one 3.5 oz bar, then you get the picture. One thing all Type II diabetics have to learn is portion control.

So what are the benefits of a LITTLE bit of dark chocolate?

Did you know that a benefit of dark chocolate is that it can help reduce insulin levels ? Unfortunately dark chocolate can be an acquired taste but for those suffering with diabetes it is well worth persevering as a benefit of dark chocolate is that it can counteract insulin resistance. But the really good news is that there is a new brand of chocolate on the market that has removed the usual bitter taste of dark chocolate thus producing an awesome tasting chocolate with huge health benefits. Yes, dark chocolate can now be viewed as a healthy food and used on a regular basis it has outstanding benefits especially for diabetes sufferers.
A benefit of dark chocolate is that due to its concentration of flavonoids it can can help in the battle against diabetes as it is rich in antioxidants. Which brings forth the question "what are antioxidants"?
Antioxidants are neutralizers of free radicals. Free radicals are simply explained as a phenomenon of today's living. Free radicals are a by product of breathing oxygen, they occur through general everyday pollution in the air, they are basically unavoidable in today's living environment. Molecules become damaged and split, the result being that the damaged molecule becomes a free radical. Environmental factors such as pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke and herbicides spawn free radicals.
It used to be that the body could handle free radicals, but as free radical production has become excessive, damage to the body is occurring. Of particular importance is that free radical damage accumulates with age. So the older we get the more susceptible we are to damage.
Why are antioxidants showing to be a benefit of dark chocolate and diabetes ? Cocoa powder is rich in flavonoids which in turn is rich in antioxidants and as such helps to counteract insulin resistance. Insulin resistance can be reversed by maintaining healthy weight, eating a good diet, exercising and stopping smoking. Those fabulous flavonoids help in keeping blood vessels healthy and they improve blood flow. That is extremely important for diabetics because they can develop circulation problems which can cause loss of extremities to occur.
Another amazing benefit of dark chocolate is that it is a terrific source of epicatechin. This compound is naturally occurring in cocoa powder that is used in commercially made chocolate, however, it is the main reason for the bitter taste, so commercial chocolate makers process this compound out to remove the taste problems. What this does in effect is to remove one of today's most beneficial compounds. Research at Harvard Medical School has doctors believing that epicatechin could potentially rid the western World of 4 major diseases, stroke, heart failure, cancer and type 2 diabetes.
This new chocolate, called Xocai, has developed a process of removing the bitter taste of epicatechin without removing any of the benefits. The result is a product laden with thousands of ORAC units. The ORAC scale was developed by the USDA to measure the amount of antioxidants in each fruit or vegetable. An optimal daily dosage is between 12,000 and 15,000 units. The average US diet contains 800 units. Now with Xocai chocolate all that is needed is 3 squares per day to provide the optimal recommended dosage. Those 3 squares a day only amount to 190 calories and just 8 grams of sugar, so it will not impact your calorie intake. Also Xocai chocolate suppresses craving so just another benefit of dark chocolate.
The alternative is you could eat 7 lbs of spinach or 13 lbs of red grapes or 52 lbs of tomatoes. There appears to be no contest!] or email

- Jean-Martin Charcot

He who fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for his children it will be a refuge. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life" (14:26-27)


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