The Delicious Perils of Low Carb Chocolate

Low carb chocolate is decadently delicious, but take heed -- you may regret it if you eat too much! Here's why.

Because they're such good people, kindly chocolatiers have recently introduced excellent low calorie, low carb chocolate for the diabetics and Atkins dieters among us. Don't scoff -- your old pal Pete can testify that it's scrumptious. Yet it does have its perils, and that's what I'll tell you about in this particular article.

Sweet success

If you're either a diabetic or you just want to lose a little weight, you've probably resigned yourself to taking it easy on the sweets -- or cutting them out altogether. This can be a serious problem for us chocolate extremos, who tend to go into serious withdrawal if our chocolate ration is cut back too far. Or, well, at all.

Thank goodness, then, for low carb chocolate, which won't put your blood sugar through the roof. You might think you'd have to pay a gastronomic price for that, and actually you do -- but not in the sense you'd think. The ironic thing is that this diet candy doesn't taste like diet candy. It's actually good.


No matter what anyone says, most artificial sweeteners taste fake, and leave a nasty aftertaste that'll practically put you off your feed. That's what you might expect of an Atkins-safe chocolate with few if any carbohydrates, but thank goodness you'd be wrong.

By and large, low carb chocolate is as palatable as if it was chockfull of sweet, sweet sugar straight from the cane (or the beet or corn ear, as the case may be). That's because it makes use of a tasty class of sweeteners called sugar alcohols (sometimes called alcohol sugars), which the body absorbs imperfectly, if at all.

There's just one little drawback...

The biggest problem with sugar alcohols is the same as their biggest advantage: the body absorbs them imperfectly. So while their carb count may be zero, if eaten in large amounts they can have an unfortunate effect on the gastrointestinal systems of some folks. At best, this results in what we might politely call gassiness; at worst, there's an unfortunate laxative effect.

There's a simple way around this problem: of course: don't overdo it. No matter how much you may be tempted, don't eat more than three or four small pieces of the candy at a time. And for Pete's sake, don't scarf a whole bar at once. All that low carb chocolate may taste great, but you might not think so an hour later.