While the keto diet requires you to cut out many of your favorite desserts and snacks, there are a few sweet treats that you don’t have to take away.
Dark chocolate is one such guilty pleasure. That said, devouring an entire bar (we’ve all been there, no shame) isn’t an option on the keto diet. But having a single serving won’t derail ketosis either.
What is dark chocolate?
Dark chocolate is made by fusing fat and sugar with cocoa.
Unlike milk chocolate, dark chocolate is made with little to no milk solids, and it contains less sugar and more cocoa.
However, sugar is usually added to dark chocolate to counterbalance the cocoa’s bitterness.
Still, not all dark chocolate is created equal. Both its percentage of cocoa and sugar content can range dramatically depending on the brand.
The proportion of cocoa in the final product determines how dark or high quality the chocolate is.
As a rule of thumb, high-quality dark chocolate contains at least 70% cocoa, often resulting in a product with less sugar.
High-quality dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, which are potent antioxidants. High-quality dark chocolate contains more flavonoids compared to black tea, red wine, and apples.
Due to its rich flavonoid content, high-quality dark chocolate has been linked to various health benefits. It is also believed to lower the risk of heart disease and improved brain function.
Dark chocolate is a mixture of fat, sugar, and cocoa. Chock-full of antioxidants, high-quality dark chocolate contains a high percentage of cocoa and less sugar than milk chocolate.
Is dark chocolate keto?
“Dark chocolate can absolutely be keto-friendly, as dark chocolate will often have less sugar than many milk chocolate bars,” says Maryann Walsh, MFN, RD, CDE.
One of the critical differences between dark chocolate and milk chocolate is a higher concentration of cocoa. High cocoa concentration often indicates less sugar.
You probably describe the taste of dark chocolate as having more bitter qualities than sweet ones, right?
According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, dark chocolate contains anywhere from 50 to 90 percent cocoa solids. Meanwhile, milk chocolate only has 10 to 50 percent.
With its higher percentage of cocoa solids, dark chocolate is inherently richer in a plant-derived substance called flavanols. And flavonols are believed to help protect the heart.
So not only is dark chocolate a suitable snack to have while on the keto diet (in moderation), it’s also a great snack to have to help promote heart health.
The key is to choose dark chocolate varieties with at least 70 percent cocoa solids to consume the most flavanols.
Carb content of dark chocolate
Most sweets and candies are high in carbs and likely need to be limited on a keto diet.
However, compared with other types of chocolate and candies, high-quality dark chocolate is relatively lower in carbs.
Depending on the brand, 1 ounce (28 grams) of 70–85% dark chocolate contains up to 13 grams of carbs and 3 grams of fiber. This means it has about 10 grams of net carbs.
Net carbs are calculated by subtracting unabsorbable carbs from the total carb content.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body doesn’t fully digest. As such, it’s not fully absorbed by your small intestine like other types of carbs. Therefore, most keto experts recommend using net carbs when calculating your daily carb allotment.
One ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate made with 70–85% cocoa holds approximately 10 grams of net carbs.
Can you fancy dark chocolate on a keto diet?
Depending on your daily carb limit, you may be able to enjoy high-quality dark chocolate in moderation.
A standard ketogenic diet typically entails restricting your carb intake to only 5% of your daily calorie intake. For instance, on a 2,000-calorie diet, you would limit your carb intake to about 25 grams of carbs per day.
This means that 1 ounce (28 grams) of high-quality dark chocolate would contribute to approximately 40% of your total daily carb allotment. Whether dark chocolate fits into a keto diet largely depends on what else you eat throughout the day.
If you want to enjoy dark chocolate on a keto diet, consider checking other high carb foods to ensure you don’t exceed your daily carb limit.
Also, it’s vital to choose high-quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids. Dark chocolate with less than 70% cocoa likely has a higher carb content and may be hard to fit in without exceeding your carb allotment.
Ultimately, portion control is critical. While 1 ounce (28 grams) of high-quality dark chocolate can fit into a keto diet, a larger serving will likely exceed your limit.
Dark chocolate can fit into a ketogenic diet. However, it’s essential to monitor your portions and choose dark chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa to avoid exceeding your carb limit.
What are the best keto-friendly dark chocolate brands?
“With the necessity of keto, there are numerous low-carb and keto-friendly dark chocolate products accessible,” Walsh says.
Here are her top picks of keto-friendly chocolate brands:
Lily’s Sweets 70% Extra Dark Chocolate
A favorite within the keto community, Lily’s Sweets have no added sugars and rely on stevia and erythritol for sweetness. There are several varieties, so pick up a decorative basket or box and give your love the lot!
- No Sugar Added
- Botanically Sweetened with Stevia
- Fair Trade Certified
- Non-GMO Verified
ChocoPerfection Dark European Chocolate
For something a little more sophisticated and refined, check out the ChocoPerfection Dark European Chocolate bar. It’s so decadent that no one will know it’s sugar-free and sweetened with erythritol and chicory root fiber. Plus, there are only 2g of net carbs per serving!
- Sugar-Free chocolate, European Taste, ChocoPerfection Dark 50g, a box of 12 bars
- No Maltitol. Sweetened from chicory root fiber. Minimal effect on blood sugars
- Each bar has 0g Sugar, 14g Fiber, 2g Net Carbs, is Gluten Free with Keto Ratio 6:1
- Voted Best Tasting Sugar-Free Chocolate since 2007
- ChocoPerfection is 100% Guaranteed for Complete Satisfaction.
Lindt Excellence Bar 90% Cocoa Supreme Dark Chocolate
This chocolate has about 7g of net carbs per serving, but the high-fat content will make your Valentine very happy. It’s a bar of great tasting chocolate, and everyone deserves to splurge once in a while!
- It contains 12 separately wrapped 90% cocoa dark chocolate bars, perfect for gifting, baking, or savoring piece by piece.
- Full-bodied dark chocolate, perfectly crafted to be smooth and creamy with deep cocoa flavor and has balanced taste.
- Lindt chocolate is expertly created with the finest ingredients.
- Made with premium ingredients from world-renowned regions.
Vivani 100% Organic Dark Chocolate – 85% Cacao
While this is on the higher end in terms of net carbs, this chocolate’s quality is hard to beat. Anyone who has eaten dark chocolate knows that, while tasty, it’s also bitter and a bit dry.
Vivani manages to bring a creaminess that is unusual, but welcome, for a bar of this strength.
Endangered Species Natural Dark Chocolate – 88% Cacao
The chocolate is delicious — it feels good to support a fair trade brand, non-GMO, and donates 10% of its profits to protecting endangered species. This is a perfect choice if your Valentine is an animal lover!
- High-quality Components: Bittersweet Chocolate (Chocolate Liquor, Cane Sugar, Soy Lecithin, Vanilla).
- Clean, natural ingredients are chosen for their quality and sustainability.
- Vegan and Gluten-free: Contains soy. They are produced on devices that also process products containing milk, peanuts, and tree nuts—made in America.
- Intensely powerful with lingering hints of fruit and spice
- Made from pure 88% dark cocoa chocolate, manages to stay silky smooth while carrying undeniably rich cocoa flavor.
Alter Eco Deep Dark Blackout Organic Chocolate – 85% Cacao
This dark chocolate bar will taste quite similar to the Vivani; however, a sensitive palate will notice a vanilla hint. That little touch helps to balance out the telltale bitterness of the cocoa’s intensity.
- 85% pure dark cocoa. Source from the Ecuadorian coast into the hands of expert Swiss chocolatiers.
- Mouth-watering chocolate ingredients
- Organic and non-GMO with USDA certification
- Comes with FSC certified recyclable packaging
- Carbon Neutral Product
Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate – 85% Cacao
For a smooth, lighter tasting dark chocolate, try Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate. It doesn’t contain any additives and is an excellent, reliable choice for your keto Valentine!
- The rich taste arises from the full, dynamic flavor characteristics of Trinitario cocoa beans.
- Each ingredient that goes into a Green and Black Organic bar is of the finest organic quality. This size pack contains ten 3.5 ounce chocolate bars.
- Cocoa butter and vanilla touch with 85 percent Cacao to produce a smooth and intensely dark chocolate experience.
- Green and Blacks Organic is USDA Organic, Fair Trade, and UN Certified Ethically Sourced chocolate.
Catalina Crunch Dark Chocolate Cereal
Sometimes, you want a bowl of cereal, but it’s not easy to find products that work on the keto diet. Catalina Crunch makes a delicious dark chocolate cereal that is perfect for curling up on the couch and watching Netflix with your love!
Catalina Crunch Keto-Friendly Cereal is a low carb, plant-based, artisanal cereal that’s made one batch at a time. It has a non-GMO blend of seven plant proteins and fibers designed to keep you full longer and support gut health.
Catalina Crunch Keto-Friendly Cereal contains no artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, and is sweetened with monk fruit.
- Low Carb, Keto Friendly
- Low Calories, 0 Sugar
- Gluten-Free, Grain-Free
- Vegan, Non-GMO
Choc Zero is another low-carb and keto favorite that is very low in carbs. It typically has 2 grams net carbs per serving and uses monk fruit, another non-nutritive, natural sweetener.
- Sugar-free, no sugar alcohols, and no artificial sweeteners. They are sweetened with our sole monk fruit and fiber blend.
- Low carb: only 1g net carbs per serving! Perfect for keto lifestyle and other low carb diets.
- Antioxidant-rich, teeth-friendly, and good for your waistline!
- All-natural, non-GMO, gluten-free. They are made proudly in the USA.
Hu Vegan Chocolate Bars Simple Dark Chocolate
With 11g of net carbs per half of a bar, this brand is keto-friendly and doesn’t compromise its ingredients. This chocolate isn’t cheap, but it’s tasty and as natural as it gets.
- Paleo, Vegan, Organic, no dairy, no soy, no emulsifiers, no soy lecithin, no gluten, no refined sugar, no cane sugar, and no sugar alcohol.
- Made from organic house-ground cacao and has a rich cocoa flavor punctuated by complex caramel notes. Ingredients include organic fair-trade cacao, unrefined organic coconut sugar, organic fair-trade cocoa butter.
Lily’s Dark Chocolate Baking Chips
Here’s an option if you want an even smaller serving size or are looking to make some keto cookies!
There are only 5g of net carbs per 60 chips, so adding these to your dessert won’t add many carbs at all! Just don’t eat the whole bag in one day.
- All Natural Dark Chocolate Premium Baking Chips – 9 Oz (Pack of 1)
- No Sugar Added Premium baking Chips
- All Natural
- Vegan, Non-GMO
Although dark chocolate is a sweet treat, it’s relatively low in carbs than other types of chocolate and candy.
As long as you carefully monitor your portion size, you may be able to fit dark chocolate into a keto diet. However, be sure to choose high-quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa to stay within your daily carb range.
There are pieces of evidence that cocoa has powerful health benefits, especially in reducing certain risks of heart diseases.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should go all out and eat lots of chocolate every day. It is still packed with calories and easy to overeat.
Maybe have a square or two after dinner and try to enjoy them. If you want cocoa benefits without the calories in chocolate, consider making hot cocoa without any cream or sugar.
Also, be aware that a lot of chocolate on the market is not healthy.
Always choose quality stuff — dark chocolate with 70% or higher cocoa content.
Dark chocolates contain some sugar, but the amounts are usually small, and the darker the chocolate, the less sugar it will contain.
Dark chocolate is one of the few foods that taste wonderful while providing significant health benefits.