If you’re familiar with the ketogenic diet, you’ll know all too well that generally speaking, most generic desserts and sweet treats are off limits. This is largely due to the fact that they’re sweetened with sugar and contain heaps of carbs.
The keto diet is all about remaining in ketosis for a prolonged duration of time, and if you’re eating carbs, that just won’t happen. Now, in terms of sweet treats, chocolate is certainly up there as being one of the most popular foods, and most types of chocolate are packed full of sugar.
Some chocolate, though, such as dark chocolate keto varieties, are perfectly acceptable on keto, once you understand more about them. That’s what we’re going to be looking at today.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about chocolate on keto.
First off, what is chocolate?
Chocolate is an ingredient that makes everything in life worthwhile.
It is made from the fruits of a tree known officially as Theobroma Cacao, which is native to tropical climes and whose name literally translates to ‘Food of the Gods’ in Ancient Greek.
These trees thrive in tropical climates which are hot and humid.
Initially chocolate was produced primarily in South America, but as its popularity increased exponentially, it started to be produced in other parts of the world.
Chocolate comes in many forms, it can be milk, dark, or white, and although it is primarily used in sweet dessert dishes, it can also be used in savoury dishes such as chilli con carne, and the hugely popular Mexican dish; Mole. (1) (2) (3)
How is chocolate made?
Different types of chocolate are made in different ways, though generally speaking, chocolate is made in the following way.
To begin with, the cacao seeds are harvested from the trees by hand. This is done deliberately as harvesting with machinery could damage the trees and hinder the production of cacao seeds for future harvests.
Each pod is roughly the same size and shape as a papaya, and is orange in colour when they’re ripe. They’re then split open by hand, where inside, they’ll contain roughly 50 seeds.
Next, these seeds are placed into trays to ferment, and are covered with large banana leaves for around one week. After that one week is up, the fermentation process has finished and gives these seeds that distinct chocolate scent and taste that we all know and love so darn much.
Furthermore, the seeds, which were initially coated in a white pulp, lose this pulp and there is also no risk of germination. Once the fermentation processed has concluded, the cacao seeds are then left to dry in the sun for several days.
They then make their way to a chocolate producing factory where they are washed and roasted in an industrial sized oven to remove the cacao beans from their hulls and to really bring out the flavour. Next up they’ll make their way into what is known as a ‘winnowing machine’ which will remove the hull by cracking the beans, leaving what is known as a cacao nib. These nibs are what are used to make chocolate. Yum.
Now the nibs are pummelled and ground using huge rollers to form a thick dark paste which is officially known as chocolate liquor, not to be confused with liqueur, which is an alcoholic beverage. This unsweetened dark paste is what is commonly used in baking chocolate.
Now is where the types of different chocolate really become apparent because what happens to the ground paste next, determines the type of chocolate that you will have. Milk fats, solids, vanilla, sugar, and lecithin are commonly added to make different types of chocolate, and additional ingredients can be added at a later stage.
Chocolate on keto is unusual for some people, though it is by no means, necessarily off limits.
What are the different types of chocolate?
Dark chocolate keto recipes vary from brand to brand, and we’ll get to that a little later. First off, we’re going to not only look is dark chocolate keto, but we’re also going to look at the different types of chocolate out there to choose from.
Milk chocolate is probably the most popular confectionary chocolate in the world, as it is found in many a dessert and candy recipe.
Because it contains added milk solids, sugar, and sometimes cream too, it has a rich, creamy, sweet taste.
Now, recipes vary, but most milk chocolates contain around 38% – 42% cacao solids. Some brands deliberately use less but 38% – 42% does appear to be the norm.
If you don’t enjoy bitter chocolate but also don’t really have all that much of a sweet tooth, semi-sweet chocolate is the perfect compromise.
Usually you’ll find semi-sweet chocolate in the form of chocolate chips, though some manufacturers also use it to make chocolate bars as well.
Semi-sweet chocolate typically contains 52% – 62% cacao solids, giving a slightly bitter, slightly sweet taste that balances out wonderfully. (6)
Now we have the star of the show, today at least – dark chocolate.
Dark chocolate, also known as bittersweet chocolate, has much more of a roasted bitter chocolate taste with just a hint of sweetness.
Typically, dark chocolate will contain 63% – 72% cacao solids and contains far less sugar than milk, or semi-sweet chocolate. Some brands will produce a dark chocolate made up of 80%, even 90% cacao solids.
For those of you who hate sweetness and enjoy bitter chocolate, unsweetened chocolate is ideal for you.
This chocolate contains 100% cacao solids, with no sugar, milk, or cream added at all.
For those asking is dark chocolate keto, if you ate this, there wouldn’t be any doubt as it is extremely bitter and is not designed to be eaten by itself, though you could if you liked. (9)
Okay, this next one is slightly controversial, in that white chocolate is technically not a chocolate at all.
Despite literally being called white ‘chocolate’ this chocolate contains zero cacao solids, so technically it isn’t actually a chocolate at all. The name stuck, however, so here we are.
White chocolate is made using cocoa butter, sugar, milk powder or solids, and vanilla and has a very rich taste and higher fat content than other chocolates.
This calorific sweet treat tastes great, but is very rich and sickly, so a little goes a very long way. (10)
Can you have sugar free dark chocolate on keto?
Hopefully now we’ve established that dark chocolate is keto, you will feel better about planning your meals, especially desserts, while still staying in ketosis.
So, is dark chocolate keto? Well, yes it is. If you choose your dark chocolate brand wisely, and limit the amount that you consume, you’ll find that you can enjoy a few squares of dark chocolate on keto, and still lose weight.
Dark chocolate is actually considered a superfood, as it is loaded full of antioxidants that promote cellular health and function.
If you do your research and find a dark chocolate that is sugar free and low in carbs, you can certainly enjoy chocolate without the guilt of having cheated on your diet.
Is dark chocolate higher in carbs?
If somebody were to ask how many carbs there are in dark chocolate, it would be like asking how long a piece of string is.
The amount of carbs found in dark chocolate will depend solely on which brand of dark chocolate you choose, as different brands have different recipes.
Some brands will be as low as 4g of carbs per serving, whereas others on the higher end of the spectrum could provide upwards of 30g per serving. Considering that those on keto ideally try to keep carb intakes between 20g and 50g of carbs per day, a few blocks of dark chocolate higher in carbs could potentially provide you with your entire carb intakes for the day, or even take you over.
The thing to remember is that dark chocolate contains more cacao/cocoa solids, and the higher the percentage of cacao solids there are in a dark chocolate, the lower the carb content will be.
So, in answer to the question of is fark chocolate higher in carbs, well, compared with milk and white chocolate, the answer is absolutely not. You could get away with a 70% cacao solids dark chocolate on keto, though to play it safe, we recommend going with an 80% as it will be even lower in carbs still.
Which dark chocolate is best for keto?
As you know, if you head to any grocery or convenience store and check out the chocolate section, you’ll see endless chocolate bars made by different manufacturers. Each one contains different ingredients and each one will contain a different amount of carbs to the last.
The good news is that, because keto is now such a hugely popular diet, and because there is such a market for lower carb chocolates, there are a number of dark chocolate keto manufacturers that provide low carb bars that would be suitable on keto.
A few examples of popular dark chocolate bars on keto include the following:
Hu Vegan Chocolate Bars
As you can see by the name, Hu Vegan chocolate bars are suitable for vegans and so doesn’t contain any milk or butter.
These dark chocolate bars are also low in net carbs as half of a bar of this chocolate will provide just 11g of net carbs, with 13g of fat and 2g of protein.
This chocolate is therefore suitable on keto if enjoyed in moderation, and is also packed full of natural and healthy ingredients.
Green & Black’s Organic 85%
Guess what the cacao content of this particular chocolate bar is? That’s right, it’s 85% making it a great bitter dark chocolate for those of you who are on keto but are still craving chocolate.
If you read the ingredients, you will see that it does actually contain added sugar, but worry not, because the amount is minimal, as a 30g serving (10 blocks) will provide just 7g of net carbs, 3g of protein, and 15g of fat.
Lindt Excellence Bar 90%
Lindt have a reputation for making luxurious and decadent chocolate, and this bar is the perfect example of that.
This dark chocolate bar contains 90% cacao solids, yet it is not as bitter as people may think, and if enjoyed in moderation, it will not hinder your keto experience.
One thing to remember is that, despite being 90% cocoa, it is higher in carbs than the others we’ve looked at so far. 4 blocks of this chocolate will provide 7g of net carbs, 4g of protein, and 22g of fat.
If you’re just craving something naughty after dinner, a few squares of this chocolate shouldn’t do much harm, as long as you’ve kept your carb intakes for that particular day nice and low.
ChocZero Keto Bark
Finally, as you can probably guess by the name, this is a chocolate that was specifically designed for people following a ketogenic diet.
ChocZero Keto Bark is somewhat of a twist however, because it’s actually almonds coated in dark chocolate.
Per serving, this snack provides just 2g of net carbs, along with 10g of good fats and 1g of protein.
Final words on dark chocolate on keto
Dark chocolate is a tasty, delicious, and surprisingly healthy ingredient which when enjoyed in moderation, will not knock you out of ketosis.
Chocolate on keto probably shouldn’t be enjoyed daily, but as a treat now and then, if you do opt for dark chocolate, you can enjoy this tasty treat and still lose weight. Hooray!