If you’re like us, you love chocolate. It’s absolutely delicious, a treat that has stood the test of time and is enjoyed around the world in countless forms. With the sweet and rich combination of cocoa mass, cocoa butter, sugar, and, in many cases, a few other delectable ingredients, chocolate is a versatile dessert that is always guaranteed to satisfy your sweet tooth.
While there’s no denying the sweet, melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness of chocolate, it’s also hard to deny that many varieties of this sweet treat contain a lot of sugar. And if you’re adhering to a ketogenic diet, sugar is a big no-no. As a simple carbohydrate, the sugar found in the majority of chocolate makes this dessert incompatible with a traditional ketogenic diet. Don’t worry, though—chocolate lovers, there’s a way for you to go keto without giving up your favorite indulgence.
Let’s chat about the fascinating process behind the creation of keto chocolate, a craveable dessert made with all the cocoa flavor you love and minimal sugar. We’ll also quickly cover the key principles and background of the keto diet, as well as how to tell if a dessert is truly keto-friendly.
Dessert lovers, unite!
First Things First: What is Keto?
The ketogenic diet – or keto for short – is an eating plan that discourages the consumption of carbohydrates. It sounds basic, so what’s up with all those people eating straight-up cheese instead of bread?
What Are Carbs, Anyway?
Carbohydrates, often referred to simply as “carbs,” are a group of macronutrients that are found in fruits, many vegetables, grains, legumes, and other food groups. Your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, a simple sugar that can be used as energy.
There are two types of carbohydrates – simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates are a group of carbs that include table sugar, the sweetener used in most chocolate bars that you’d find at your local grocery store. These carbs, unlike their complex counterparts, are far more likely to cause changes to your blood sugar, which can lead to problems with appetite control, energy levels, weight, and more.
So, while we don’t see anything wrong with indulging in the occasional crunchy chip or silky-smooth chocolate bar, you very well may want to cut down on how much you’re consuming.
What Happens When You Stop Eating Carbs?
The keto diet involves avoiding carbs, both simple and complex, as much as possible. When you stop using carbs for energy, your body can start to generate energy by breaking down fat, a process called ketosis.
Ketosis can only be reached when you eat a very low number of carbohydrates – typically around 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. For reference, that’s just a few slices of bread – or a few pieces of standard chocolate. Say goodbye to that steaming bowl of pasta, because keto-friendly it is not.
One of the primary motivations for going keto is weight loss. Drastically cutting back carb consumption may be an excellent weight loss strategy, especially if your current diet is full of simple carbohydrates, i.e., junk food and sweets. Dramatically reducing your intake of these foods can help your body shed those extra pounds. Goodbye, toast, and hello, body of your dreams.
However, to get into ketosis, you’ll have to eliminate nearly all carbohydrates, including the sources of carbs that are often deemed healthy.
What Is a Typical Chocolate Bar Made Of?
All chocolate is made with the beans that grow on the cacao tree, a plant that grows near the equator. These beans are fermented, dried, and roasted similarly to coffee beans before they are used to make chocolate.
Only after the beans have been processed are they referred to as cocoa beans rather than cacao beans. So if you’ve been wondering the difference between those two words your whole life (like most of us), now you know.
The cacao beans are harvested, then fermented in the pulpy substance that grows around them. This pulp is often called baba, and fermenting the beans in the baba helps them develop their distinct flavor. You probably wouldn’t be all that interested in snacking at this step, because it definitely looks a little wonky.
After fermentation, the beans are dried in sunlight, then roasted and ground to create cocoa mass, which serves as the base for chocolate. The roasting process creates two separate byproducts – cocoa powder and cocoa butter, both of which are used to create chocolate bars. In the case of dark chocolate, cocoa butter and cocoa powder are just about the only ingredients used – aside from sugar. Mmmm… Deep, dark chocolate.
Milk chocolate is made similarly to dark chocolate – cocoa butter, cocoa powder, and sugar are all used. However, powdered milk is also added to the mixture, which gives it that rich, creamy taste that you dream of all night.
Milk chocolate is definitely off-limits for keto adherents. Milk is high in lactose, a simple sugar that, when consumed in even small amounts, can limit your body’s ability to go into ketosis.
So, What Makes Standard Chocolate Not Keto-Friendly?
Primarily sugar and milk. Cocoa powder and cocoa butter contain no sugar – they are fatty ingredients, which makes them right at home in a keto diet. Yay! However, it is often difficult to find even dark chocolate bars that do not contain too much sugar to comply with the keto diet. That’s where MiiRO comes in—we’ve got your back!
MiiRO’s Vegan, High-Protein, Keto-Friendly Chocolate
We love delicious treats, and we’re all about creamy, silky, mouthwatering chocolate. We’re also passionate about helping you live a happy, healthy life and stick to your diet and lifestyle goals. That’s right; like Hannah Montana, we’re the best of both worlds.
That’s why we created a vegan-friendly, keto-friendly, high-protein chocolate recipe that contains barely any sugar at all. It’s the perfect treat for any lifestyle, and it’s made with the finest possible ingredients. Plus, it’s guilt and shame-free, so if you want to eat chocolate for breakfast, we’re absolutely not going to stop you. Hey, you’re a chocolate-loving adult! You make your own chocolate-loving decisions!
What’s in Keto Chocolate?
Keto-friendly chocolate needs to be made without all that sugar. It also means that if you want your chocolate sweet, a keto-friendly sweetening agent will be needed.
Keto chocolate can be made with several sweeteners. Erythritol, stevia, and monk fruit extract are all keto-friendly, and they can help add some extra sweetness to chocolate without the use of sugar.
In addition, very small amounts of sugar can be included in chocolate without taking away its status as keto-friendly, but we’re talking very small. Remember, less than 50 grams of carbs (that’s not a lot) is enough to stop your body from entering ketosis. So, for truly keto-friendly chocolate, an alternative sweetener is needed.
Luckily, a full MiiRO chocolate bar only contains three to four grams of net carbs, and a whole pouch of peanut butter cups only contains four grams. That means that you can indulge all you like without worrying about disrupting your diet. Chocolate for dinner? Yes, please. We’re living our best lives.
While typical chocolate does contain some protein (often because of added milk powder), there usually isn’t a lot of the muscle-building macronutrient in this sweet treat. However, keto-friendly chocolate can be fortified with vegan protein, adding a boost of nutrients to a delicious dessert.
Better still, when you choose a MiiRO chocolate bar, you’re getting five to nine grams of protein per bar, without any additives at all. That’s right—we just added so much good stuff to our bars to make them delicious that they’re packed with protein all on their own.
Plant-based protein is often derived from protein-rich vegetables and grains, nuts, and seeds, including peas, hemp, flax, and more. In addition to being full of protein, these vegan foods also contain plenty of micronutrients – valuable vitamins and minerals that are great for your body. But you don’t need all that jazz with MiiRO.
Does Chocolate Have Health Benefits?
While chocolate has a reputation for being junk food, this timeless dessert can actually have a wide array of health benefits, including all of the perks listed below.
- Chocolate is high in antioxidants. Antioxidants are molecules that play an essential role in your body’s overall health and functioning. Cacao beans are packed with them, as are many other foods, including numerous fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. So, yes, chocolate without sugar = healthy.
- The higher the cocoa content, the lower the sugar. Many varieties of dark chocolate contain up to 85% cocoa. These chocolates contain minimal sugar and very few carbs. In fact, at just around ten net carbs per ounce, 85% dark chocolate is low-carb enough to be compliant with a keto-friendly diet!
Dark chocolate contains fiber, too. In addition to antioxidants, dark chocolate is also high in fiber. Fiber is a form of carbohydrate that aids in digestion, so get ready for some smooth moves.
Fitting Chocolate Into a Keto Diet
So, can you eat chocolate on a keto diet? Yes! It just depends on the chocolate. There’s no need to banish your creamy, dreamy favorite food.
To choose a keto-friendly variety of chocolate, follow the tips listed below.
Go dark. Sticking with dark chocolate means you’re avoiding one of the dessert’s primary sources of carbs – dairy. Dark chocolate also often contains less sugar than milk chocolate, which makes it a healthier option overall.
However, with MiiRO, you’re not limited to only dark chocolate, you can also have white or creamy peanut butter milk chocolate (that’s still vegan) so you have a lot more flexibility.
Check serving sizes. Chocolate is a rich and decadent treat, so it’s always wise to stick with recommended serving sizes each time you want some. Reading the nutrition facts label on your chocolate bar of choice will tell you how much is an appropriate amount to eat each time you have dessert. That way, you’ll be able to tell how many calories, carbs, and grams of sugar you’re taking in.
Guess where you can get delicious chocolate that also happens to be low in sugar—that’s right. MiiRO. There are only three to four grams of sugar for a whole bar, which is the equivalent of half a teaspoon per bar. Savor the flavor, baby.
- Limit your carb intake throughout the day. Chocolate still contains some carbs, even if it fits into a keto diet. However, you can still stay within the recommended range of carb intake while enjoying a daily serving of chocolate! All you have to do is keep your carb intake low enough to leave room for some dessert. It may be tough to say no to bread, fruit, chips, and other sources of carbohydrates, but it’s worth it for the sake of your goals.
Enjoy it! Chocolate tastes incredible, so savor every bite! Dessert is one of the most magical parts of life, and being a grown-up doesn’t mean you’ve grown out of getting excited about a treat.
Don’t Give Up On Chocolate—You’re Not a Quitter
So, keto chocolate? Absolutely. While the beginning of the process of making chocolate that’s appropriate for a keto diet is the same as standard chocolate, it really starts to differ when the extra ingredients come in. That means no added sugar, nut milk, and more are your best options.
If you’re sticking to a keto diet but don’t want to give up on your favorite food (and yes, we’re assuming that chocolate is your fave, because why wouldn’t it be), there is a solution. Try out MiiRO’s chocolate bars and peanut butter cups with confidence that you’re still sticking with your diet, or indulge in a keto baked good filled with MiiRO’s baking chips. More chocolate? Yes, please.