Is dark chocolate keto-friendly? If you are considering the ketogenic diet, it’s quite likely that you’ve read all about the foods that you may eat on the keto diet and the ones that you must avoid.
On the Foods to Avoid list, sweets are on top of that list, which means that if you are into chocolates, particularly dark chocolate, you may be rethinking your decision to embrace a low-carb ketogenic diet. But fear not! You can still enjoy dark chocolate. ( within reason of course! )
If this sounds like a dilemma you find yourself in, we might have some good news for you. But first, it’ important to remember that the keto diet is an ultra-low-carb, high-fat, and moderate-protein diet.
The success of this diet in weight loss depends on the production of ketones from the liver and their subsequent oxidation into energy.
In essence, your body is forced to rely on fats rather than carbohydrates and glucose as a source of energy. Keto is also dependent on macronutrient counting and adherence to prescribed macro ratios.
We are talking about 60-70% fats, 20-30% proteins, and 5-10% carbs. So, where does dark chocolate fit in this keto diet equation?
The good news for all dark chocolate lovers is that dark chocolate is keto-friendly. Dark chocolate is low in carbs, unlike the regular milk/ white chocolate bar that is quite high in carbs.
To understand this, let’s dive into the world of chocolate to determine how dark chocolate fits into the keto-friendly foods’ category.
About Dark Chocolate
Cacao is the main ingredient in chocolate. Cacao is 100% keto-friendly, and it also boasts a host of health benefits. Note that cacao is different from cocoa in that cacao represents the raw/ unprocessed product, while cocoa is alkalized cacao.
But even with these differences, the two words are often used interchangeably.
Dark chocolate has between 45-70% (or higher) cacao, and about 100g of dark chocolate has a blend of ingredients ranging from healthy fats and proteins to sugars, omega fatty acids, and carbohydrates.
Since some dark chocolate varieties have higher carbs content than others, you should be careful about the dark chocolate you choose. Always go for the dark chocolate with the highest cacao content, say 70%.
This chocolate is slightly bitter, I don’t know about you, But i enjoy the slight tartness immensely. It also has a lower carbohydrate content per comparable serving. You could also opt for the dark chocolate made with 100% cacao or the unsweetened chocolate since this chocolate boasts the lowest concentration of carbs, as low as 3g, net carbs. But I must note that completely unsweetened dark chocolate is even more bitter and not for everyone. I do like to have some with a cup of coffee though.
The other reason why dark chocolate is great for keto or any other diet is that cocoa used to make chocolate is called a ‘superfruit’ thanks to its high antioxidant activity.
The antioxidant properties of cocoa and dark chocolate (subsequently) has been shown to be as high as that of other antioxidant-rich fruits like acai berries and blueberries.
The dark chocolate also comes packed with Flavonols, which reduce the risk of heart disease. The Flavonols are responsible for lowering your blood pressure while also keeping the arteries healthy.
So, even as you embrace the keto diet, you can enjoy dark chocolate as a guilty indulgence or a keto snack.
Just remember that while most keto dieters find is very surprising to learn that dark chocolate is keto-friendly, you have to be careful when selecting the chocolate.
As mentioned above, you should opt for dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa/ cacao. With 70% or more cocoa, your dark chocolate will have between 3 and 10grams (net) of carbs for every ounce. Below you will find some picks that meet this criteria.
Our Favorite Picks
Choosing the best keto-friendly dark chocolate
1. Cocoa/ Cacao Content
As mentioned above, you should always go for the dark chocolate with the highest cocoa content since such dark chocolates have a low carbs content per ounce.
You need the low carbs content in the dark chocolate to encourage, rather than sabotage ketosis.
Does the dark chocolate come with good/ healthy fats? Fats are critical to the keto diet since the fat is responsible for the maintenance of ketosis.
The good fats you should be looking at include:
- The saturated fats in cream, red meats, eggs, butter, and coconut oil
- Monounsaturated fats, for example, extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil, and avocados
- Natural polyunsaturated fats, for example, the healthy fats from fish, flaxseed, or chia seeds
- Natural trans fats, for example, the fats from grass-fed meats and full-fat dairy.
The best dark chocolate (with a high cacao content) often contains good fats, for example, monounsaturated and saturated fats. A bar of dark chocolate with 90% cacao, for example, contains up to 22g total fat.
On the other hand, the milk chocolate bars are low in healthy fats, cacao, and they have a very high content of carbs. Therefore, this chocolate should be avoided since it will only sabotage your keto diet.