Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Low Carb Snack Tip: Dark Chocolate.

I am in no way affiliated with any brand mentioned in the following post.

Many people, especially women, find a pitfall in dieting being chocolate, sometimes calling themselves "chocoholics." Honestly I'm not a big fan of mainstream chocolate, my sweet indulgences fall more into soft baked goods and fruit-flavored chewy candies personally. But if chocolate is a pitfall on your low-carb diet, here's a tip; very dark chocolate.

Benefits of very dark chocolate include antioxidants, low sugar content, high in fat, and feeling fancy. Also because the cocoa content is so high, it's very hard to pig out on chocolate of this calibre. Usually one to two large squares is plenty for me. If you're new to very strong concentrations of cocoa, at first it's going to suck. Bad. When you take the first bite you'll run to your sugar or sweetener and dump a scoop into your mouth. Or maybe that was just me. But continual nibbling throughout the next 2-3 days and the bitterness soon disappears, probably because you become acclimatized to it. After that you can really savor the rich, deep flavor.

I'm not talking Hershey's dark, either. I prefer mine to be over the 80% cocoa range. The best dark chocolate always has a percentage of cocoa content on the package.Two brands that I prefer are Lindt Excellence and recently, Ghirardelli.

Lindt Excellence is the first brand I spotted in the candy aisle at my local Wal*Mart. It honestly caught my eye for the idea that the antioxidants in dark chocolate helped to aid in acne, only later to find out it's a great idea for a low-carb high-fat diet.

Excellence comes in many different flavors, but the plain chocolate bars is what I'm focusing on. They come in 70%, 85%, 90% and 99% concentrations of cacao. I advise to avoid the 70% due to a controversial new formula change that isn't very popular according to Amazon reviews. Also, 99% seems to be a rare find... At least for me. In the mean time, there are the 85% and 90% cocoa concentrations, as I like to call them, "80 bars" and "90 bars."

Onto nutrition facts. The 90% bar has a 40g serving, in which there are 210 calories, 170 of which come from fat. 20 grams of total fat, 11 of which are saturated. Yum. Total carbohydrates are 14 grams, Dietary Fiber is 5, leaving 9 Net Carbs and 3 grams of sugar. Finally, there are 5 grams of protein.

The 85% bar's 40g serving also contains 210 calories, 160 coming from fat. 18g of total fat, 11 of which are saturated. 8g of total carbs, 3g fiber, 5g net carbs, and 5g sugar. 4g of protein.

Now, how a bar with a slightly lower concentration of cacao can have lower net carb content boggles my mind, but y'know, whatever.

While I was grabbing Lindt bars the other day at Wal*Mart, I spotted just underneath, Ghirardelli is also making a line of extra dark chocolate. However, because the concentrations come in 60%, 72%, and 86%, most of them fall short of my personal preference, but it's totally up to you how many carbs you will allow in your chocolate. I've only tried the 86%, called Midnight Reverie.

Midnight Reverie is noticeably sweeter compared to Lindt, and as a result I was able to actually eat a real serving size as opposed to a half or a quarter like usual. A bit worrying for me, personally.

A 45g serving size of Midnight Reverie contains 240 calories, 210 of which come from fat. Whoa. 23g total fat, 14 of which are saturated. 14g total carbs, 5g of dietary fiber, 9g net carbs, and 5g sugar. Finally, 3g protein.

Most of Ghirardelli's products go either too high or too low for my tastes. Their baking bars come in 60%, 70% and 100%. Needless to say while baking some funky granola bars with my Mom, I tried a bite of the 100%, and almost died. Not really, but it was far too bitter even for my tastes.

But even then, go on ahead and explore your local giant grocery store and check out the chocolate aisle for once, and look out for any cocoa percentages, and you might save yourself from having a milk chocolate breakdown binge. It also helps to keep it in your desk drawer for munchies.

See ya'll later.

UPDATE: I just picked up a Green & Black's Organic 85% Cocoa bar. It's very nice, has a hint of sweetness and very creamy. 40g serving, 260 cals, 190 fat cals, 21g total fat, 13g saturated fat. 14g Total carbs, 5g dietary fiber, 9 net carbs, 6g sugar. 3g protein.


  1. I just read you blog before going shopping and though that I should buy some chocolate ... I'm in the UK and we have "Green & Blacks" and Lindt, with Lindt generally be cheaper.

    I noticed that there was a "new 70% mild" next to the original 70%,85% and 90%. The 70% bar is most commonly available and I find the 90% too bitter unless I've become acclimatized to the 85% first.

    [I has a similar expirence guinness and could not stand it at first.]

    I've enjoyed you articles - hope you continue.

  2. Just tried Lindt's 85%. Delicious....and low carb! I never watched my carbs until I went on the GAPS diet with my 15 year old daughter to help clear her eczema (which it did). Since then, I've been sticking with a low carb/no grain diet because I like my energy level and the fact that I took off 5 pounds without changing anything else. I think I need to go to the store to buy some more, now that you mention it! Thanks for the "tasty" post.

  3. Baker's Chocolate. 100% cocoa. It's an acquired taste...

  4. Lindt Excellence 85% Cocoa 3.5 OZ. bar has new formula. Serving size 4 squares (40g) 230 calories, 170 calories from fat. Total fat 18g, Saturated fat 11g, Trans Fat 0g. Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 15mg,Total Carb 15g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Sugars 5g. Protein 5g. So the total carb is slightly double from the previous formula.

    In my final sentence of previous post I said,"So the total carb is slightly double from the previous formula [of Lindt's 85% Cocoa bar]." That should read "slightly under double the total carbs in the previous formula...15g vs 8g."

  6. haha I just put up a random post today and I mentioned I cannot get into dark chocolate. LOL

  7. I love 85% cocoa chocolate and I don't find it bitter. LOL

    I think I would LOVE it if I found a 95-100%!

  8. I like to look at the fiber-to-sugar ratio in whatever bar I'm looking at. Lots of "dark" chocolate has 4 or 5 times as much sugar as fibre. I like them to be about equal, which usually requires close to 90% cocoa.

  9. When you're used to not eating sugar, 60% will definitely be way too sweet. Most 70% will be on the sweet side - especially Lindt 70%.

    Even the sweeter dark chocolates are low-glycemic anyway, so the number of carbs aren't as important if you're watching carbs: sugar becomes bound up in the chocolate and your body cannot easily process it without digesting the chocolate, and that takes a while - so the sugar is kept from producing an insulin spike.

    Flavor will become your primary determinant: Lindt's higher-percentage bars are not that great tasting; Ghirardelli's bars are rich, but have a bitterness many will not like. There is no such thing as a good-tasting Green & Black bar.

    You will probably end up with bars not available at the grocery, but they will be more costly: Askinosie, Bonnat, Coppeneur, Domori, El Ceibo, Fresco, Patric, Pralus, and Rogue are my top-rated. Nirvana can be found in health-food stores and is probably the only decent bar found in such places.

    If you're trying to lose weight, make sure you either exercise every day, or don't exercise at all. Exercise causes higher daily food cravings whether you exercised that day or not - read "Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It" for a complete explanation with research references.

    1. Geoff, thanks for this reply. I am googling around looking for LC dark chocolate recommendations and now I can check out all of yours! It is refreshing to see someone actually making the argument AGAINST exercise! (I have read Taubes and agree with what you've written)

  10. Trader Joe's 85% dark chocolate bars are my fav above all others. I let one square at a time melt in my mouth. There are subtle layers of flavor that you start to notice...a hint of to suck on before a meal, when your tongue is more open to the soft flavors. And this makes an excellent appetite reduction, too.