Unless you have been living off the grid, you have probably at least heard of the Keto Diet. From celebrities to the medical community to average folks, people are experimenting with this restrictive way of eating that often yields really positive results. There is a lot to wrap your head around when it comes to the Keto Diet – what foods you can and cannot eat and why – but let’s talk about the one of the most important questions:
Are chocolate bars Keto friendly?
Before we get to the bottom of this, let’s take a look at some of the Keto basics. As a disclaimer: this will not be a comprehensive Keto how-to, and if you are looking to drastically overhaul your diet and lifestyle, it is always advisable to consult professionals.
So, what is the Keto Diet?
The system has been around in one form or another for nearly 100 years and was first created to help patients with epilepsy control their seizures and other symptoms. It fell out of use for epilepsy patients as seizure-preventing drugs became more reliable.
Dr. Russell Wilder is credited for creating the diet, which measures four parts fat for every one-part protein and carb. All other Keto Diets are based on this four-to-one macronutrient ratio.
The diet, or versions of it, have come and gone into the mainstream several times over the last century, and this recent resurgence has been a big one. The diet, when followed strictly, has fairly consistent results to help people lose weight rapidly and improve their overall well-being.
People report (and studies confirm) all kinds of benefits of the low-carb high-fat lifestyle, including:
- Improved cognitive functioning
- Reduced inflammation from high blood sugar
- Slowed spread of various cancers
- Reduction of sugar addictions
- Increased female fertility
As you can see, these are big claims and can provide hope for a lot of people who struggle with health issues. But as with any diet, there are pitfalls to avoid so that it doesn’t negatively affect your health.
Ok, let’s get back to the question: Are chocolate bars keto friendly?
The Keto Diet consists of consuming a good amount of fat and protein along with a small amount of carbohydrates that should primarily come from vegetables.
It does entail counting calories, and it encourages people to eat “real food”, not processed food. If you decide to embark on the diet, you will hear things like putting the body into a state of “ketosis” and that by not following the strict rules, it is easy to “fall out of ketosis”. (We’ll go over some of this later in the post.)
The Keto Diet does require you to limit your sugar and saturated fat intake. So, where does chocolate fit in? Generally speaking, milk chocolate is off limits, but dark chocolate is a different story.
Dark chocolate, though it does contain some sugar, generally has a more bitter flavor than milk chocolate. This is because it contains a higher percentage of cocoa solids.
For some people, dark chocolate is an acquired taste while others won’t bother with anything sweeter. The more bitter the better! And that is great when it comes to the Keto Diet.
So, is chocolate a Keto food? Well, chocolate that has a high cocoa content, like 85% for example, contains more fat than protein and carbohydrates combined. Technically, it does count as a Keto Diet food!
What’s more is that cacao is incredibly high in antioxidants. Cacao contains a high level of polyphenols, which combat oxidative stress in the body. So if you are on the Keto Diet and run into a chocolate craving, make sure to satisfy it with high-quality dark chocolate.
Not only is dark chocolate a suitable snack to have in moderation while on the Keto Diet, it can also promote heart health in addition to just being a really satisfying treat. You really don’t need much in order to enjoy it and feel satiated. The key is to choose dark chocolate varieties with at least 70 percent cocoa solids in order to consume the most flavanols.
If dark chocolate is not your cup of tea at first, you might find that as you continue on the Keto Diet, your sugar cravings lessen and that sweets you enjoyed in the past suddenly become too sweet. You may find yourself gravitating towards more bitter things and getting rid of things like flavoured hazelnut coffee creamer in the morning.
So yes, dark chocolate fits within the confines of the Keto Diet. As you get used to the diet, and you will need to be careful to eat “good fats” as opposed to “bad fats”, which include saturated and trans fats. Some examples of fats you can boost your meals with are:
- Wild-caught salmon
- Olive oil
- MCT oil
- Coconut butter
You can always get custom chocolate bars specifically for your own needs.
Ketosis – what is it and how do you know?
Simply put, ketosis is a normal, metabolic state where your body burns stored body fat for fuel instead of glucose, or sugars. So all that extra fat your eating? It’s not going to make you fat, it’s going to provide fuel for your body to produce the energy you need.
To know if your body is in ketosis, you need to measure your ketones, otherwise you are basically just guessing. There are three ways to measure your ketones:
Urine tests: these tests measure acetoacetate and will tell how you many ketones are being passed into your urine. It is useful as you’re starting the diet, however, you will eventually stop excreting acetoacetate and will need another method to ensure you’re still in ketosis.
Breath tests: these tests measure acetone and capture that “sweetness” on your breath. It is quick and easy to do but the results are not always consistent.
Blood tests: by far the most accurate way to test if you’re in ketosis but you will need a kit to measure your levels accurately.
In conclusion, following a Keto Diet can have great benefits, but definitely do your research to see if it is right for you. And while you are doing all that studying, don’t forget to enjoy some dark chocolate!