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Can Dark Chocolate Lower Insulin Resistance?

According to an analysis, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help lower insulin resistance...

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I’ll admit that my greatest challenge on my own weight loss journey has been my addiction to sweets and the immutable law that I’ve established that every lunch and dinner needs to be followed by some form of dessert (dessert after brunch is debatable depending on the time of day). The desire, or more accurately, demand that I have for dessert has led to more than one weight loss setback.

Enter dark chocolate... 

The Science:

A 2017 meta-analysis of several dark chocolate studies has provided a beacon of light in this no-sugar darkness. According to the analysis, dark chocolate contains flavonoids that help lower insulin resistance “while also altering glucose resistance and reducing oxidative stress. 

In one study included in the meta analysis, a group of 20 individuals with hypertension were divided into two groups, one receiving 100 grams of dark chocolate, the other receiving 90 grams of white chocolate (the difference between the two being the dark chocolate contained flavanols, the white chocolate did not. After 15 days, the dark chocolate group experienced lower blood pressure, decreased LDL cholesterol, and improved insulin sensitivity. 

This article provides a list of the healthiest dark chocolates, along with the most unhealthy so that you can choose wisely. 

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I would be remiss if I didn’t provide a little warning here (as did many of the studies included in the meta-analysis above). This post isn’t intended to suggest you go wild eating dark chocolate squares. Regardless of the percentage of cacao in your chosen chocolate, most brands also include added sugar which you should avoid. That being said, should you suffer from the same sweet-tooth affliction that I do, try having 1-3 chocolate squares as a substitute for dessert (86% Ghirardelli pre-packaged squares are my go-to form of cacao). 

For Signos members, I’ve included an experiment to determine your glucose response from different dark chocolate squares.

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About the Author

Bill Tancer is a New York Times best-selling author. He is a co-founder and the chief data scientist at Signos and the creator and host of Signos’ podcast, Body Signals.
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Please note: The Signos team is committed to sharing insightful and actionable health articles that are backed by scientific research, supported by expert reviews, and vetted by experienced health editors. The Signos blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. If you have or suspect you have a medical problem, promptly contact your professional healthcare provider. Read more about our editorial process and content philosophy here.

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