Let’s be real. Everyone craves chocolate while on the keto diet once in a while. So you may be wondering what you can eat in order to feed those late-night cravings? Keto dark chocolate is the answer.
As the keto diet focuses on a low-carb, low-sugar, and high-fat food consumption, you unfortunately have to cut out a lot of your favorite sweet treats from your daily meals. But thankfully, the one dessert you still can consume and that won’t kick you out of ketosis is dark chocolate.
On keto, you don’t have to completely cut out sugars, but you have to keep them near the minimum. That is why keto dark chocolate is the most perfect solution for this sugar cut as it has far less sugar than a normal milk chocolate bar.
Dark chocolate is actually one of the healthiest desserts you can eat in general. Rich in antioxidants and heart-healthy cocoa, it makes it 100% suitable for the keto diet.
What makes dark chocolate keto?
You might be wondering “how is dark chocolate keto? I thought that I have to cut out all sweets while on the keto diet?” The answer is, it is keto. And no, you don’t have to cut out all sweets while on the keto diet.
Dark chocolate contains less milk, less sugar, and more cocoa than your classic milk chocolate. This higher concentration of cocoa makes dark chocolate keto-friendly, and milk chocolate, not so much.
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, dark chocolate contains 50-90% cocoa solids, while milk chocolate only contains 10-15%.
With this higher cocoa percentage and lower sugar percentage, dark chocolate is acceptable to be eaten on the keto diet.
What is keto chocolate made of?
Keto dark chocolate – or simply dark chocolate – is a cocoa packed nutritious dessert.
The dark chocolate process begins with fermented and roasted cocoa beans. The cocoa nibs from the beans are then turned into chocolate liquor. After this, the liquor is further transitioned into the cocoa solids which are used in dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate is made from cocoa butter, sugar, and 50-90% cocoa solids. These cocoa solids are packed with flavonols – a plant nutrient that helps protect the heart.
Flavonols in cocoa have been shown to:
- Improve blood flow by relaxing your blood vessels
- Fight cell damage
- Lower blood pressure
- Lower inflammation
- Help reduce the risk of heart disease.
So not only can you eat keto dark chocolate guilt-free while on the keto diet, but it will bring you many health advantages too.
9 dark chocolate health benefits which you didn’t know:
To add on to the already very pleasant and surprising benefits of dark chocolate, let me share with you some more health benefits that you probably didn’t even know about.
- Dark chocolate is one of the most powerful sources for antioxidants – Dark chocolate is packed with organic compounds that work as powerful antioxidants such as polyphenols and flavonols. Studies show that dark chocolate has more antioxidants than some of your favorite fruits including acai berries and blueberries.
- It may help prevent heart disease and lower the chances of stroke – The flavonoids packed in dark chocolate are the ones which help with heart health. They support blood vessels to relax and help prevent cholesterol pack in the arteries.
- Dark chocolate is a mood and cognition booster – Many studies have shown clear evidence of cognitive enhancement, improved moods, and bettered memory. Again, all due to the flavonoids in dark chocolate.
- It is packed with nutrition – A 100 gram 70% – 80% dark chocolate bar contains:
- 67% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) for iron
- 89% of the RDI for copper
- 98% of the RDI for manganese
- 58% of the RDI for magnesium
- 11 grams of fiber
- Also packed with zinc, potassium, and phosphorus.
- Dark chocolate is good for the skin – The minerals and vitamins found in dark chocolate such as iron and magnesium are very beneficial for your skin. The manganese in dark chocolate helps with the creation of collagen and the antioxidants can protect the skin from UV rays from the sun.
- Helps with cholesterol – Dark chocolate is known to lower cholesterol. Studies say that the cocoa in dark chocolate helps with the raising of high-density lipoproteins and the lowering of low-density lipoproteins.
- It can help reduce the risk of developing diabetes – The flavonoids in dark chocolate were discovered to reduce oxidative stress. This stress is the primary cause of insulin resistance. By reducing resistance, you can decrease chances of developing diabetes.
- May help with weight loss – Research actually discovered that dark chocolate helps control appetite. Neuroscientist Will Clower explains how eating a small amount of dark chocolate before or after your meals triggers hormones which signal your brain that you are full.
- It can help prevent depression – Theobromine is one of the chemicals of dark chocolate which can boost your energy. Phenethylamine is another chemical that becomes metabolized into your body as serotonin, providing mood-regulation and boosts.
Which dark chocolate is best for keto?
Now that you have learned about the benefits, let me teach you some important things you need to know about choosing the dark chocolate which is best for you and your keto diet.
As there are many dark chocolate options on the market, it is normal to not know which one to buy. But not all dark chocolate is made the same, so here is a keto dark chocolate choosing guide.
When choosing good dark chocolate, you have to look at the percentage of cocoa it contains. Also, look for one made with the least amount of ingredients as possible.
The amount of cocoa concentration in dark chocolate depends on the manufacturer, as well as its sugar content. This final concentration determines the quality and how rich the flavor is.
High-quality dark chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa. But this isn’t the only criteria you should be looking for. Here are some more:
- Sugar: It is normal to be in dark chocolate. The trick is to choose one that doesn’t have sugar listed as one of the first ingredients on the list. The more cocoa, the less sugar.
- Milk: High quality dark chocolate should not contain any milk, unless it is milk fat. This is simply butter without moisture. There can also be traces of milk caused by cross-contamination during the manufacturing process.
- Flavoring: Although it can be hard to spot specific taste-improvers, try to avoid them whenever found. If you really want flavored dark chocolate, go for organic brands.
Keto dark chocolate is made with very few ingredients. So if you read an ingredient list that takes up the whole packaging, just drop that chocolate brand completely and go for the minimal ingredient brand instead.
Can I eat dark chocolate on keto?
Like mentioned before, dark chocolate is one of the most recommended desserts for the keto diet plan. It is made with minimal ingredients that provide many health benefits – especially for your heart.
The cocoa found in dark chocolate is fueled with antioxidants. It even provides the same amount of antioxidants as any other keto-friendly fruit, such as raspberries.
How much chocolate can I eat?
Everything has its limits, even tasty dark chocolate on a keto diet.
When planning your food consumption on the keto diet, you need to keep in mind carb limits. During a keto diet, you need to keep your carb intake to under 50 grams of net carbs per day, but preferably under 20.
The less carbs you consume, the more efficient your ketosis and results will be.
Carb content varies by brand, but the average dark chocolate contains 3-10 net carbs per ounce (28 grams). With this, you can decide how much dark chocolate you can allow yourself to consume with your meals.
If you are planning on indulging on some chocolate after a long day at work, take this into consideration and limit the number of carbs you consume with your meals in order to not go over your daily carb limit.
Carb counting is important and necessary during the keto diet. If you don’t limit your carbs, keto won’t work.
The difference between 85% and 99% dark chocolate on keto:
Now that you know your limits, you still have to pick out a good-tasting bar. So you walk down the chocolate aisle in your local store. There are so many options and so many percentages.
What do they even mean and which should you even pick?
Well, it depends on flavor preference. A higher cocoa percentage doesn’t mean it will taste better as percentage has nothing to do with quality. The percent of cocoa in dark chocolate simply refers to the percent of cocoa solids in each bar.
The higher the percentage, the less sweet and more intense the flavor. But even if two different chocolate bar brands have the same percent, the flavor can still differ greatly.
One 70% bar can be made with more cocoa solids and less cocoa butter, while another 70% bar might be made with more butter, and less solids. It all depends on the brand. The only way to figure out what you like is to try different options out.
The bottom line is that if the chocolate is marked as dark chocolate, the percentage of cocoa concentration does not make such a difference if it is keto-friendly or not.
As long as the ingredient list is minimal and you do not spot any additives or unnecessary sugars, it is safe to eat on your keto diet.
Top 5 keto friendly chocolates you can eat:
It might take you 5 or 50 different tastes of keto dark chocolate brands until you find your favorite one. This is normal, but remember to keep the test-tasting within your daily carb limits so you don’t kick yourself out of ketosis in the process.
With so many brands, so many varieties, and so many options, I’ve gone through a lot of bars to find what I like. So let me share with you my top favorite picks:
- Lindt Excellence 90 Percent Cocoa Supreme: This cocoa packed bar gives you one of the richest and sophisticated tastes out on the market. At 90% cocoa, the flavor is undeniably smooth and balanced. The bar is also gluten free – adding a bonus star.
- Lily’s Sweets 70% Extra Dark Chocolate: With such a bold taste, you would never guess that this keto dark chocolate bar is sugar-free. Instead, it is sweetened with stevia and vanilla extract.
- Endangered Species Panther 88% Dark Chocolate: With a short and natural ingredient list, you can verify the quality of this delicious bar. This keto dark chocolate only uses cocoa purchased from fair trade and each bar contains educational information about the endangered species depicted on the wrapper. Bonus: 10% of the purchase price goes to the manufacturer to protect endangered species.
- Alter Eco Americas Organic Chocolate Bar: Packed with all-natural ingredients, this keto dark chocolate bar is made from ingredients harvested in Bolivia from small-scale Bolivian farmers. Vegan friendly and GMO free, it is also ideal for cooking due to its easy melting.
- Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs: These cacao nibs are simply crushed cacao beans from Peru. These nibs are ideal to use in different meals and ensure a pure, sugar-free experience. These nibs are entirely plant-based and dairy-free.
How to incorporate dark chocolate into your cooking:
Yes, a keto dark chocolate bar is absolutely delicious on its own, but sometimes you just want to change it up a notch.
On the keto diet you can easily get bored from eating the same dark chocolate bar over and over again. But don’t forget that this tasty bar can be chopped, melted, and shaved for other irresistible desserts as well.
From ganaches, mousses, puddings, and glazes, here are some more delicious things you can create with a dark chocolate bar:
- Use in your keto cookie recipes: Find your favorite keto chocolate chip cookie recipe. Then, instead of using regular milk chocolate chips, substitute them with chopped up pieces of your favorite dark chocolate Simple and healthy substitutions.
- Coat your snacks: Take some keto dark chocolate bars and melt them. Then simply dip your pretzels, bananas, strawberries, or whichever other snack of your tasting in the melted chocolate. Put in the fridge to set and enjoy at home or on the go.
- Make ganache: Ganache can be used for icing cakes or a sauce for your desserts. To make it, all you need to do is melt your keto chocolate bar with double cream over a double boiler.
- Chocolate bark: This dessert is perfect for the holidays. Just melt your favorite keto dark chocolate, pour it on a baking tray, top it with your favorite toppings such as crushed pretzels and salt, and let it set in the fridge. Add crushed candy canes for a minty taste and winter mood.
- Creamy hot chocolate: To give your hot chocolate a rich flavor, all you have to do is melt some dark chocolate over a double boiler, pour into your favorite mug, and add milk. Talk about a creamy and decadent flavor!
Tips for cooking:
- The double boiler method is the best for melting dark chocolate. This is done by filling a pot with water and putting it on the stove over medium heat. You then place a large heat friendly bowl on top of the pot and make sure the bottom doesn’t touch the water.
- When melting chocolate, melt slowly. Stir it continuously and evenly.
- Ganache is made with equal parts dark chocolate and cream. You can use it to frost cakes, flavor pancakes, or add flavor to truffles.
- Dark chocolate can last for several months if stored properly. If storing it at room temperature, properly wrap it and keep it away from heat. It can also be stored in the fridge or freezer after being wrapped tightly.
The bottom line:
Dark chocolate is the ultimate keto-friendly snack for your keto diet. Not only can it be eaten as a keto dark chocolate bar, but its versatility gives you the option to incorporate it into your cooking and the ability to give any dull dessert a rich boost of flavor.
The flavonoids in dark chocolate provide your body with many health benefits, making it the ideal sweet treat during your keto meal-planning. With so many options available in stores and online for delicious keto dark chocolate, you are given the ability to flavor up your day – with limits of course – whenever you choose.
So next time you get midnight cravings, feel free to open up and snack on a little bit of dark chocolate with happiness and guilt-free pleasure.
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