Most people embarking on a new diet have to say goodbye to some of their favorite foods, be it carbs or sweets.
While sacrifices are inevitable on the keto diet, chocolate lovers will be very pleased to know that it can indeed be keto-friendly.
This is great news, however there are many limitations and considerations for you to keep in mind, that we will cover in this article.
For instance, regular milk chocolate, is pretty high in carbs. A Hershey’s milk chocolate bar has a whopping 20 grams of total carbs.
While dark chocolate contains some carbs, it’s not nearly as high.
A 40 gram, 90% cocoa Lindt dark chocolate bar contains 9 grams of total carbs. So you still have to watch how much you eat, but it’s definitely lower in carbs than milk chocolate!
Now, let’s dive into the world of chocolate to see why some chocolate is keto friendly and how you can incorporate it into your keto diet.
The Key Ingredient
As you may be aware, the key ingredient of chocolate is cocoa, which is completely keto-friendly.
Cocoa even has a nice variety of health benefits, which make it a great food to include in any diet. Did you know that cocoa contains just as many antioxidants as any fruit ? It’s actually for this reason that cocoa has been labeled a “super fruit” to a similar capacity as coffee.
Another great benefit to consuming cocoa is that it contains copious amounts of flavanols. These have been shown to reduce blood pressure  as well as keep our arteries nice and healthy. 
Dark Chocolate vs. Milk Chocolate
So you may be wondering what the difference is, exactly, between dark chocolate and milk chocolate, and why dark chocolate is preferable on the keto diet.
In a nutshell, dark chocolate contains much more cocoa and typically less sugar than regular milk chocolate. The cocoa in milk chocolate is also more diluted with the addition of ingredients like cream, sugar, and milk solids, making it overall less healthy. Remember, sugar is not your friend!
Dark chocolate will usually contain a minimum of 70% cocoa, but the more cocoa present, the better. The higher that percentage of cocoa is, the higher the nutritional value. Additionally, dark chocolate will naturally contain less fat and added sugar.
Picking the right chocolate
When buying dark chocolate at the store, the packaging will always show the percentage of cocoa present. When making your choice, always opt for chocolate with higher percentages because you’ll notice on the nutrition label that it will contain fewer carbs and less sugar.
For example, we already mentioned that a 40-gram, 90% cocoa Lindt dark chocolate bar contains 9 grams of total carbs and 3 grams of sugar.
A 40 gram, 70% cocoa Lindt dark chocolate bar has 17 grams and 12 grams of sugar. So as you can see, if you’re jonesing for some chocolate but trying to maintain ketosis, it’s best to have chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa at a limited quantity.
What About Fats?
So now that we’ve reviewed things like sugar and cocoa in chocolate, what about its fat content? Fat is generally a good thing on the keto diet, so long as we’re consuming healthy fats.
Here’s a quick refresher on healthy fats vs unhealthy fats:
- Saturated fats, like those found in red meat, cream, butter, eggs, and coconut oil.
- Monounsaturated fats, like those found in avocados, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil.
- Natural trans fats, like those found in dairy and grass-fed animals.
- Natural polyunsaturated fats, like those found in flaxseed, chia seeds, and fish.
- Processed trans fats, like those found in processed foods, store-bought baked goods, and fast food.
- Processed polyunsaturated fats, like those found in seed and vegetable oils.
With that said, the fat profile of cocoa is pretty darn good, as it contains primarily saturated and monounsaturated fats, which are considered healthy fats.
If we go back to our 40 gram Lindt dark chocolate bar, the 70% cocoa bar contains 19 grams of total fat. The 90% bar contains 22 grams of total fat.
While you certainly want to include more fats in your diet, you still have to be careful with how much dark chocolate you’re eating.
While it’s lower in carbs than regular milk chocolate and other sweets, it still is a sweet that should be consumed in moderation.
Reasonable Solution: Make Your Own Keto-Friendly Dark Chocolate
Any grocery store will contain a few dark chocolate options, especially Whole Foods, but why not try making your own?
That way, you’ll know exactly how much sugar and cocoa are going in. If you’re craving the creamy taste of dark chocolate, all you need are a few things to get started.
This recipe has only 1 net carb per bar, and it doesn’t even require any baking! All you need is the following:
- 28 g cacao butter
- 28 g Bakers Chocolate (unsweetened)
- 28 g coconut oil
- Liquid Stevia (you’ll be adding 15 drops into your mix)
- 1 tbsp swerve confectioners/powdered erythritol
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp Pink Salt
All you have to do is finely chop the bakers chocolate and put it aside. Next, toss together the coconut oil, liquid erythritol and Stevia, vanilla extract, and pink salt in a bowl.
You can microwave the bowl on high for a total of 45 seconds, and then you’ll be adding in the chopped bakers chocolate into the hot mix. Stir it up really good until all the chocolate is melted in. You can then microwave for an additional 15-20 seconds to melt it down more.
Once that’s done, you can pour your chocolate into a dish or chocolate mold and let it sit in refrigerate for a minimum of three hours so it can solidify.
Want more options with more detailed cooking instructions?
Check out these chocolate recipes:
All instructions, ingredients and macro tables are included!
While most sweets and desserts are a big no-no on the keto diet, there is room for exception when it comes to dark chocolate.
It’s low-carb, contains a good amount of fats, it’s healthy, and above all, it’s delicious! There’s no reason to deprive yourself of this amazing food on your diet, just be sure to enjoy in moderation and stay within your keto macronutrient goals.
- Crozier SJ, Preston AG, Hurst JW, Payne MJ, Mann J, Hainly L, Miller DL. Chem Cent J. Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. 2011 Feb 7;5:5. doi: 10.1186/1752-153X-5-5.
- Grassi D, Desideri G, Necozione S, Lippi C, Casale R, Properzi G, Blumberg JB, Ferri C. Blood pressure is reduced and insulin sensitivity increased in glucose-intolerant, hypertensive subjects after 15 days of consuming high-polyphenol dark chocolate. J Nutr. 2008 Sep;138(9):1671-6.
- West SG, McIntyre MD, Piotrowski MJ, Poupin N, Miller DL, Preston AG, Wagner P, Groves LF, Skulas-Ray AC. Effects of dark chocolate and cocoa consumption on endothelial function and arterial stiffness in overweight adults. Br J Nutr. 2014 Feb;111(4):653-61. doi: 10.1017/S0007114513002912. Epub 2013 Nov 25.