When you think of chocolate, it is often what you put in your mouth, along with popcorn or ice cream, and a multitude of other deliciously tempting snacks. But did you know that there is a lot more to chocolate than what’s on your tongue? While most people realize the benefits of cocoa, they are worried about the way sugar impacts their health. Sometimes we crave a chocolatey fix but don’t want to “over indulge.” More and more sugar-free chocolate products are entering the market and for some chocolate lovers, this is simply blasphemous. But what are these alternatives, and why is it gaining in popularity in the US?
Simply put, Americans are seeking to reduce the amount of sugar they consume – en mass. In recent research conducted by the International Food Information Council, 74% of Americans are reportedly trying to limit or avoid sugars!
Types of Sugar-Free Chocolate
There is an explosion in the market for sugar-free chocolate, and it is being marketed towards a new generation of consumers that believe sugar is inherently bad for them. Some people feel that sugar-free products taste better, and they also contain fewer calories compared to traditional confectionery. You can have your chocolate cake – and eat it too!
The most popular types of sugar-free chocolate include:
- Dark Chocolate: Unless you are eating 100% dark chocolate, the bar will always contain at least a little bit of sugar. But, the darker the chocolate, the less sugar you are consuming. So, dark chocolate is an excellent option if you want to enjoy a tasty treat and minimize sugar consumption at the same time.
- Stevia Chocolate: One of the most notable benefits of stevia is that this sweet-tasting herb has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels. The sweetness comes from the stevia leaf, which is processed down and used as a sugar alternative.
- Sugar Alcohols: Another option is to sweeten chocolate with sugar alcohols, such as sucralose, sorbitol, mannitol, and xylitol. Sugar alcohols are commonly used in sugar-free treats, and they are popular because they contain half the calories of regular sugar.
As the US continues to seek better-for-you low-sugar alternatives, we will continue to see sweet treats like these on our shelves. So, next time you’re at the grocery store, consider buying reduced sugar chocolate and seeing if it lives up to the hype…or don’t, sometimes we just need that chocolate fix!