Diabetics can still enjoy chocolate in moderation at Easter

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On Easter Sunday millions of Britons will enjoy indulging in a little more chocolate than usual. The chocolate egg has been associated with the holiday for more than one hundred years. However, for some people there are some potential risks when it comes to eating a lot of the confectionery.

People with diabetes are warned not to eat foods that can cause their blood sugar to spike, as it is already at a higher level than usual.

Due to the sugar content of chocolate it could be assumed that diabetics should avoid it at all costs.

However, experts have said that the sweet treat can be enjoyed at Easter as long as it is in moderation.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Goran Petrovski – senior attending physician at Sidra Medicine – explained more.

He said: “It is a myth that people with diabetes should avoid eating chocolate, as it is sweet and full of sugars.

“It can be consumed in small amounts and not too often, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle.”

What are the risks of eating chocolate?

He continued: “Chocolate is high in energy, sugar and saturated fats that affect the glucose levels.

“If consumed regularly and in large amounts, it may also raise cholesterol levels and cause weight gain – as well as dental issues and heart complications in the long-term.

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“Usually, people with diabetes will choose ‘diabetic chocolate’ or ‘sugar free chocolate’ as a ‘healthier’ option for them.

“Always remember to check the label to find out about the content. These products can be lower in sugars, which are replaced by fats, which is not so good.

“Alternative sweeteners like sugar alcohols (maltitol and sorbitol), can also be added, which have a laxative effect. Stevia is a natural sweetener and a better choice when choosing ‘healthier’ chocolate.”

How much chocolate can a diabetic eat?

“People with diabetes can still enjoy chocolate at Easter – in moderation,” Mr Petrovski said.

“The better choice for people with diabetes is high-quality dark chocolate with around 70 percent of cocoa, as the sugars and fat content is often lower than white or milk chocolate.

“Check the labels for the carbohydrate contents and adjust the insulin dose – then enjoy a sweet treat.

“Flavonoids (plant chemicals) in dark chocolate may also reduce the insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity.

“There is evidence to suggest it can help to reduce blood clotting and reduce future cardiovascular problems too.”

His advice was backed by Doctor Justine Butler, head of research at Viva.

“It’s a myth that people with diabetes have to avoid chocolate – you can enjoy it, just in moderation and not too often,” she added.

“In fact, good quality dark chocolate provides many powerful phytochemicals and some essential nutrients. Its antioxidants help fight inflammation, protect blood vessels and DNA from damage and aid our immune system.

“One study even suggests that the antioxidant activity of cocoa may even reduce the risk of diabetes – but they stress it must be either cocoa or dark chocolate that you eat and only in moderate amounts.

“To get the most out of chocolate, go for dark chocolate, as this has the highest cocoa content – between 60 and 99 percent. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, is made with dairy milk, contains less cocoa and its benefits are reduced.”

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