If you follow the paleo or keto diet, you may be wondering if you can eat chocolate. And the good news is—yes, you can! The key is to pay close attention to the ingredients used in the chocolate bar and make sure you consume dark chocolate with a high percentage of cacao solids in order to stay within the guidelines of these diet plans.
Is it really possible to eat a decadent treat like chocolate on the paleo and keto diets? To choose paleo and keto friendly chocolate, you need to know the ins and outs of each diet plan. Keep reading to learn more about what to look for when choosing a chocolate bar that’s right for your diet plan.
Can You Eat Chocolate on a Paleo Diet?
Before you can decide if you should eat chocolate on a paleo diet, you need to know just what the paleo diet is. It’s based on what hunter-gatherers would have eaten during the Paleolithic era. This consists of lean meats, fresh fish, fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts—all foods that could be obtained by hunting and gathering. Another important part of the paleo diet is that it limits dairy products, refined sugars, legumes and grains—foods that became common when farming emerged about 10,000 years ago.
While our hunter-gatherer ancestors did not have access to the type of chocolate we consume today, they did have cacao beans, which grow on the Theobroma tree (cacao tree) and, therefore, fall into the seed category.
So can you eat chocolate on paleo? Yes—chocolate is a safe choice for the paleo diet.
Many people opt for the paleo diet because of health issues and also to promote weight loss. The goal of the diet is to eat whole, nutrient-dense foods rather than processed foods. The paleo diet is high in fiber, potassium and antioxidants.
Chocolate is made from the cacao beans that are split into two parts: cocoa butter (the fat) and cocoa solids. But other ingredients like milk, sugar and soy lecithin are often added to finished chocolate bars. Aren’t all these items on paleo’s “do not eat” list
It’s true that some chocolate contains these items. That’s why it’s so important to read the ingredient list and be diligent in seeking out paleo-friendly chocolate bars that do not contain these products.
There are a variety of chocolate types, including dark, milk and white chocolate. Is dark chocolate paleo? Yes, if you choose dark chocolate with a higher percentage of cacao—at least 70 percent, but 85 percent is even better. Keep in mind, a higher cacao percentage means the chocolate bar contains less sugar and fewer filler ingredients like soy lecithin or vanilla.
When eating chocolate on paleo, you should avoid milk chocolate and white chocolate because both of these types of chocolate contain milk and sugar.
No matter what diet plan you follow, dark chocolate should be consumed in moderation due to the high calorie content. One or two squares a day is plenty! For those on the paleo diet chocolate makes a good snack.
If you want your chocolate sweetened but you’re avoiding processed sugar, look for dark chocolate made with honey, coconut sugar, maple sugar or maple syrup. Another great option to add a bit of sweetness to your chocolate is including dried fruits like dates or raisins.
Is cocoa powder paleo? Yes! Unsweetened raw cocoa fits within the bounds of the paleo diet. You can even make your own chocolate using unsweetened raw cocoa and adding natural sweetener or the dried fruit of your choice.
Can You Eat Chocolate on a Keto Diet?
Now, we’ll turn our attention to the ketogenic (keto) diet, which is high in fat and low in net carbohydrates. Instead of relying on the fuel your body receives from carbs like grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits, your body burns stored fat for energy. When you reduce the number of carbohydrates you consume, your body goes into a metabolic phase known as ketosis, and that’s when your body turns fat into ketones in the liver.
Just as with the paleo diet, chocolate can be part of a keto diet if you know what kind to choose. Is dark chocolate keto? Because the keto diet requires a high fat and low carb intake, dark chocolate is the best choice for a keto diet—it’s low in both sugar and net carbs. So is dark chocolate keto? Yes—and to make sure you stay within the guidelines, make sure your dark chocolate contains a minimum of 70 percent cacao solids or more.
An important part of the keto diet is balancing your carbs throughout the day to keep your keto ratios in balance. When following keto chocolate must fit into your net carb ratio for the day so that you do not slip out of ketosis. Most keto diet guidelines recommend staying between 15 and 30 grams of net carbs per day, or 5 to 10 percent of total calories.
A standard 28-gram portion of dark chocolate—about four squares—has around 12.5 grams of net carbohydrates, and even this large portion (a standard recommendation is one to two squares) falls within keto’s guidelines for net carb consumption. For comparison, 28 grams of unsweetened, 100 percent cocoa has 3 grams of net carbs (approximately the same amount as in one square), while that same amount of 70 to 85 percent dark chocolate contains up to 10 grams of net carbs.
People may choose the keto diet in order to lose weight, reduce their appetite and boost their metabolism. Portion control is another important factor to consider when eating a calorie-rich food like dark chocolate. A single dark chocolate bar may contain almost 80 grams of sugar, so eat it in moderation.
No matter whether you choose the paleo diet or the keto diet, when you enjoy a dark chocolate treat, you will reap the health benefits dark chocolate has to offer. Because chocolate comes from the cacao bean, it contains an abundance of nutrients such as copper, iron, magnesium, and manganese. It is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which have been shown to protect against heart disease, improve insulin sensitivity, reduce blood pressure and LDL “bad” cholesterol, build the immune system and protect the brain.
Cococlectic’s dark chocolate bars are perfect for either of these diets. Each month, Cococlectic features a different American small-batch bean-to-bar chocolate maker that is passionate about their products and creates their chocolate bars from scratch using only three main ingredients: cacao beans, sugar and cocoa butter.
At Cococlectic, the chocolates featured are vegan, non-GMO, fair-trade and ethically sourced. They do not contain any soy, gluten, dairy or nut, but they may be produced in a facility that handles these ingredients.
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