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Sweet news for managing blood sugar – Happy Valentine’s Day!

Dark Chocolate PictureChocolate is not your average sweet treat; at least we at Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp knew that much!

Despite its “sweet” reputation, chocolate has a low glycemic index — the measure of a food’s impact on blood sugar levels. This means that eating chocolate, unlike other candies or sweet foods, will not cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash. This up-down, yo-yo effect can wreak havoc on your mood and energy level, and even throw off your natural hunger cues, making you feel hungry when you really aren’t.  It can also cause your body to store fat rather than burn it as fuel.

Watching Your Blood Sugar

Chocolate’s low glycemic index is not the only good news for people who want to vigilantly watch their blood sugar. The Antioxidants in dark chocolate and cocoa may aid the impaired circulation and unhealthy blood vessels that often precede the development of diabetes while also possibly improving cells’ sensitivity to insulin and glucose.

Dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in flavanols, plant-based antioxidants that studies show may improve blood flow and keep vessels healthy.  Other antioxidants you may have heard of include Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

For people at risk for diabetes, these same flavanols may also help restore more normal function in cells to better control blood sugar. Insulin is the key that unlocks the door of a cell to allow sugar to enter and provide energy. When a condition called insulin resistance develops, the normal amount of insulin your body produces no longer works well. The cells can’t open up to pull sugar out of the bloodstream — resulting in higher levels of sugar in the blood. Scientists believe flavanols trigger the production of nitric oxide inside the cells, which stimulates the cell to accept sugar again. This is great for anyone wanting to lead a more healthful life and especially for those wanting to burn extra body.

When flavanol-rich chocolate was given to participants for 15 days, researchers saw lower blood sugar levels than before the treatment period. Just like anything else though, the rules of moderation do apply – diet and weight control for people at risk for diabetes is especially important as well as for those who want to lose weight or maintain. People with diabetes should consult their physician to determine an appropriate place for dark chocolate and cocoa in their diet . And people who just want to enjoy that tasty treat can, without guilt or physical detriment, just remember appropriate serving sizes and enjoy treat foods only occasionally.

Best Bet

Anything 65% cocoa or higher has not only lots of antioxidants but the flavor is still great. Treats over 80% cocoa start to taste like baker’s chocolate. And that is an acquired taste.

~ Coach Catherine and the Milwaukee Adventure Boot Camp Team


Adapted from – http://www.allchocolate.com/health/basics/glycemic_effects.aspx
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