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Diabetes: The sweet treat that could lower blood sugar levels

Type 2 diabetes can be a 'devastating diagnosis' says expert

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Type 2 diabetes is the outcome of poor insulin production. The main role of this hormone is to keep your blood sugar levels in check. Stripped of this key mechanism, people with type 2 diabetes have to switch up their diet to avoid complications stirred up by high glucose. Research suggests a surprising food could help control levels – chocolate.

Creamy and sweet, chocolate is a beloved snack that never stays in the cupboard for too long.

While most chocolates are usually packed with sugar, there’s an exception to every rule.

According to research in the journal Nutrition and Metabolic Insights, a certain type of the dark stuff could be potent at taming high blood sugar levels.

The research explains that postprandial high blood sugar is linked with complications in both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients.

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Based on this, the study set out to investigate how sugar-free dark chocolate would impact postprandial blood glucose levels.

Compared to regular dark chocolate, the type used in the study was sweetened with stevia, erythritol and inulin.

Recruiting 13 participants, the researchers instructed the subjects to consume either 34 grams of sugar-free dark chocolate or 34 grams of conventional dark chocolate.

Then, the research team measured their blood glucose levels 120 minutes after the consumption.

The study found that the sugar-free treat led to lower blood glucose compared to the conventional dark chocolate during this time.

While this study seems promising, the researchers added that longer-term effects on glucose control “remain to be determined”.

Another reason why dark chocolate could be beneficial for those with diabetes is its high magnesium content.

The National Institutes of Health explains that high blood glucose levels as well as diabetes have been associated with micronutrient deficiencies, including a lack of magnesium. 

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Furthermore, the health portal suggests that magnesium has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels and even cut the risk of diabetes.

And this isn’t the only expert to echo this finding. A study, published in the Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives, also suggests that dark chocolate may help stave off type 2 diabetes.

The research states: “Overall, the evidence from these studies suggests that cocoa may be useful in slowing the progression to type 2 diabetes and ameliorating insulin resistance in metabolic syndrome.

“There are plausible mechanisms for the antioxidant effects of cocoa polyphenols to directly influence insulin resistance and, in turn, reduce risk for diabetes.”

What are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

Although diabetes symptoms might not necessarily make you feel ill, knowing what to look for could help.

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of type 2 diabetes include:

  • Peeing more than usual (especially at night)
  • Feeling thirsty all the time
  • Feeling very tired
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Itching around your penis or vagina, or repeatedly getting thrush
  • Cuts or wounds healing slowly
  • Blurred vision.

The health service advises seeing a GP if you suffer from any of these symptoms or you’re worried that you may have a higher risk of the condition.

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