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Can You Eat Dark Chocolate with Gestational Diabetes?

by | Feb 6, 2024 | Blog | 0 comments

Last updated 15 days ago.

Are you wondering: “Can you eat dark chocolate with gestational diabetes? Is it safe? How will my blood sugar respond?”

When folks are diagnosed I often find that their mind quickly goes to their favorite foods and the fear that they’ll have to cut them out of their diet. Gestational diabetes may raise questions about your favorite treats, and chocolate is often at the forefront of those concerns. 

The good news is, you can absolutely enjoy dark chocolate during this time, and what’s even better is that it comes with a range of health benefits. 

In this blog, we’ll explore the positive aspects of enjoying dark chocolate while managing gestational diabetes and discuss how mindful eating can be the key to maintaining a healthy relationship with this delicious food!

Dark Chocolate’s Health Benefits

One reason I love dark chocolate for gestational diabetes is that it comes with a range of health benefits! Let’s explore some of them quickly before we review my top tips for enjoying dark chocolate with gestational diabetes:

  • Antioxidants: Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants, particularly flavonoids, which play a crucial role in combating oxidative stress and promoting overall well-being.
  • Reduced Inflammation: In a study from 2018 researchers found that eating 30 g of 84% dark chocolate daily for 8 weeks significantly reduced inflammatory biomarkers in people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Heart Health Support: Studies suggest that moderate consumption of dark chocolate may contribute to improved heart health by enhancing blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
  • Brain Boost: A 2018 study found that the flavanols present in dark chocolate may enhance neuroplasticity (aka it can help you brain respond to injury and disease more effectively).
  • Essential Minerals: Dark chocolate contains essential minerals like iron, magnesium, and copper, contributing to various bodily functions, all of which are helpful when pregnant. 

While you shouldn’t feel guilty for enjoying any food (more on that soon), I still think it’s fun to know that there are some health benefits to this delicious dessert!

Can You Eat Dark Chocolate with Gestational Diabetes, chocolate gestational diabetes
Can You Eat Dark Chocolate with Gestational Diabetes? – 1

If You Feel Out Of Control

Clients often tell me they “just can’t trust themselves” around foods like chocolate. If this is you, I want you to hear this: 

When we put strict limitations on what we can eat, it can create a sense of deprivation, leading to feelings of being out of control around certain foods. This is especially true for treats like chocolate, which might become a “forbidden fruit”, intensifying our cravings. Instead of imposing rigid rules, I like to encourage intuitive eating, which offers a more flexible and compassionate approach to food.

Intuitive eating is about reconnecting with our body’s natural signals of hunger and fullness. When it comes to chocolate, listen to your body’s cues. If you’re truly craving it, denying yourself may only intensify the desire. Instead, allow yourself to enjoy the food mindfully.

To learn more about intuitive eating and how you can practice this eating framework in pregnancy and beyond, click here.

A few tips to guide you as you practice intuitive eating around dark chocolate:

  • Avoid the “Good” vs. “Bad” Mentality: Intuitive eating challenges the notion of labeling foods as “good” or “bad.” Instead, it emphasizes balance and moderation. Dark chocolate can absolutely be part of a balanced diet, even with gestational diabetes.
  • Learning from Your Body: Pay attention to how your body responds to different foods. You may find that dark chocolate doesn’t negatively impact your blood sugar or that it’s best enjoyed with other foods.
  • Ask Reflective Questions: Using your answers to the following questions as a guide, you can start to better understand your relationship with this food and your best next steps.
    • When you think about eating chocolate, what feelings come up?
    • Do you find yourself constantly craving chocolate?
    • Are you avoiding it out of fear?
    • Does it feel like it triggers an “out of control” feeling?
    • Do you feel guilty after eating it?

Tips For Eating Dark Chocolate With Gestational Diabetes

As mentioned above, it can be helpful to take the time to get to know your body and blood sugars. Everyone will respond differently to different foods, and you may even have different reactions depending on the day.

This is why it’s crucial to approach eating with curiosity, rather than judgment. Although, here are a few tips that pretty much anyone can implement to support their blood sugars and gestational diabetes journey.

  • Mindful Consumption: Savor each bite of dark chocolate mindfully, paying attention to its texture and flavor. Avoid rushing through the experience, allowing yourself to truly enjoy the moment.
  • Pair with Protein: Combining dark chocolate with a protein source, such as nuts or seeds, can help balance blood sugar levels and provide sustained energy.
  • Include as Part of a Meal: Enjoy dark chocolate as part of a balanced meal, incorporating fats, fiber, and protein to minimize its impact on blood sugar.
  • Quality Matters: Opt for high-quality dark chocolate with at least 70% cocoa content to ensure you reap maximum health benefits without excessive added sugars.

TLDR:

In the realm of gestational diabetes, the answer to the question “Can you eat dark chocolate with gestational diabetes?” is a resounding yes. Dark chocolate not only satisfies your sweet cravings but also offers a myriad of health benefits. By approaching chocolate mindfully and incorporating it into balanced meals, you can encourage a more positive relationship with this food, without compromising blood sugar balance. 

If you’d like to learn more about my approach to gestational diabetes nutrition and how I can support you, click here to book a free call.

Let’s ditch the restriction and stress for confidence and clarity in your relationship with food and your body!


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Emily PiazzaHi! I’m Emily.

I’m a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Full Spectrum Doula, Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor and mom of 3.

Emily helps pregnant and postpartum folks with gestational diabetes, disordered eating and eating disorders, and body image struggles. Through a weight inclusive, anti-diet lens she helps people confidently feed themselves for a healthy pregnancy and healing postpartum journey.

Schedule a free 15 minute discovery session with me.

As a special gift to anyone who books a discovery call, you will have access to my Intuitive Eating: Explained video lesson.


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