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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Review of Low-carb Chocolate:

The Princess Dieter (ie, ME) has insulin resistance.

At one point, a couple years ago, my sugar was edging into diabetic territory. Scared, I changed how I ate and what I ate. (Not for weight loss, principally, but to control blood sugar and maximize insulin.) I didn't lose much--about 5 pounds--but I totally got a handle on my sugar. It went down to normal levels without drugs , a step that my endocrinologist was prepared to take if I couldn't improve my lab numbers on my own with diet and exercise.

Basically, I stopped having simple carbs by themselves; I always paired fruit or crackers or bread or pasta with a protein and a bit of fat, for instance nuts or some cheese. And I drastically reduced my white flour/sugar intake. I still ate huge quantities (my main diet pitfall), but I upped my veggies and legumes and began adding cinnamon to whatever I could.

Later, I added cinnamon extract and alpha lipoic acid supplementation, which I continue to this day. I also occasionally add fenugreek and Syndrome X powder, particularly before a high-carb meal like pasta marinara.

Those changes, without losing significant weight, fixed my sugar problem. For then and the time being. My last A1c was 5. I had been nearing 8. I do need to lose weight, obviously, but this goes to show how the body responds to improvements in diet, even with minimal weight loss from said diet. What we eat does matter, not just how much or when.

I learned that.

But I still consumed sugar in chocolate. I love chocolate. Dark chocolate. And at those TOM, the urge for it is pretty intense. My fave is Valrhona's CARAIBE, dark and with a lovely "feel" to the teeth. It has fiber, like most good dark chocolates, but it also has plenty of sugar. It's a gourmet chocolate. Local top-rated chefs use Valrhona in their desserts. But, alas, the white sugar. I don't really need that.

When I saw the ad for ChocoPerfection over at Melting Mama's blog, I spent some time reading reviews. Convinced it couldn't taste horrible and have that many people raving, I ordered.

Here's what's in it:

It's not cheap. Twelve bars of dark chocolate will set you back 40 bucks plus a cool pack charge for these hot weather months. (You could wait a few months to order and save the $3.50 for the cool pack--unless you live in the tropics.) That's $3.33 for each 1.8 ounce bar (about 200 calories per bar.) That's 5 WW points per bar. (Although, if you have it in half-bar portions, it comes out to 2 points per half bar.

Hmm. For tasty chocolate, I'll allot 2 points a day.)

I just had a half-bar. I have to agree, it tastes good. It's not Valrhona. But for a chocolate bar that doesn't spike your sugar, that doesn't cause that "crash", that offers healthy cocoa (for the arterial benefits), and that satisfies the need for that deep chocolate taste (which this does), it's very nice.

It feels a bit more rubbery, perhaps, than my usual fave dark chocolates (Valrhona, Valor, Dove, etc.) But it's smooth, it's creamy, the darkness lingers on the tongue and roof of the mouth. It's pleasant, but not perfection. The lack of sugar is evident in the loss of a certain "completeness." However, it's not a huge, huge loss. This is good chocolate. Very good. Quite enjoyable. I can recommend it on teh basis of its flavor, yes, absolutely.

If you have diabetes, insulin resistance, want to avoid sucrose, can't tolerate the usual sweeteners in low-carb products so far--try it. If your budget allows.
I'll post later if I sense any unwanted side effects.
Do take note that this is an altered product. It's low-carb. It has a non-sugar sweetners: Oligofructose and erythritol. I don't know everything about these products. Always research before trying.

I do know that I've tried other low-carb chocolates, including the Atkins ones, and they consistently gave me gastric distress, even in modest quantities. (I love chocolate, but I don't tend to go hog-wild binge-o on it. I binge on cheesy/salty/crunchy stuff, not candies or cookies.) Honestly, I'd rather go for the real thing, sugar and all, with a meal when it's not going to make my blood sugar go all whack, rather than have to suffer through icky gas and nasty bowel movements.

Note also that the CHOCOperfection site offers a money-back guarantee: They promise you will like the taste and packaging. I like guarantees. It feels less of a risk to sample. :)

I have to admit, it really is packaged nicely. Mine arrived a half-hour ago--still cool, with a pretty look to it: red, gold, with one of those gold stretchy things that candy boxes are sometimes bound with.

And while there isn't the complete, total, full chocolate roundedness of my usual imported French fave chocolate, this is not at all a disappointing product. In fact, I can see myself buying it again, definitely, as long as I suffer no gastric distress from these sugar substitutes and my budget gives me wiggle room for pricey chocolate. (I can get a bar of my Valrhona that's twice the size of CHOCOperfection for less than half the cost at the Italian Market down the street.)

So, kudos to CHOCOperfection for a tasty product. I think the low-carb and diabetic community will really enjoy this addition to the treats list.

(Final Note: I'm not making a cent off this blog. Not a cent off this review. This is just what I think, nothing more.)

1 comment:

Lady T said...

interesting indeed (our topics today). i have a taste for expensive chocolates myself...though i dont have the wiggle room in my budget.. :(

truly, i could eat nothing but carbs all day...i boiled a batch of eggs so that i could have some quick protein on hand for the rest of the week...yet, at 7:20, i am nto sure whats for dinner...sigh...