I admit it. I am a hardcore chocoholic. In my opinion, there is no better breakfast than a bar of milk choccie with a hot cuppa. I can easily scoff an entire block of Cadbury in one sitting. And, I’m not afraid to confess, I love white and caramel chocolate just as much as the brown stuff. Sadly, my love of chocolate does not go hand-in-hand with my goal of losing weight. Or, at least I thought so. I recently discovered a whole world of low-sugar and sugar-free varieties that I am excited to discuss with you.
You may have heard of the saying, “sugar is the silent killer”. It is sugar, and not fat, that causes mood swings and weight fluctuations. Some circles even believe excessive sugar causes cancer. That’s because sugar prompts our glucose levels to spike and plummet. It is also very addictive. If only chocolate could have less sugar as well as taste good – it would be the ultimate guilt-free snack. In the name of science, I decided to have a bit of a chocolate splurge to research the world of low-sugar chocolate options.
The Belgian: Best dark chocolate with no sugar
Chocoelf Rose and Coconut: Best flavoured chocolate with no sugar
Trapa con Leche: Best chocolate with nuts and no sugar
Organic Carob Chocolate Bark: Best low-sugar chocolate alternative
Nina Dark Chocolate with Caramelized Macambo Nibs: Best expensive low-sugar chocolate
Keep reading for details on top chocolate brands and their sugar and calorie breakdowns.
How do you make chocolate healthier?
By reducing the sugar content of course! If you are browsing healthier chocolate options, you will come across two key terms: “low-sugar” and “sugar-free” chocolate. Low-Sugar chocolate contains little or no added sugar but has naturally occurring sugar. For example, the sugar found in milk or in fillings such as raisins and caramel. Sugar-free chocolate, on the other hand, is chocolate that contains no sugar. Sugar substitutes are added to produce sweetness instead. The two most commonly used sugar substitutes are maltitol and stevia.
Maltitol is a sugar alcohol, which means it is a liquid found naturally in some fruits and vegetables. It is safe to consume, does not cause tooth decay, and has no aftertaste. Sounds perfect, hey? Well, excessive consumption can cause flatulence and diarrhea. The other sugar substitute, stevia, is derived from the leaf of the stevia plant. The plant is a member of the chrysanthemum family and grows in Brazil. Stevia is generally considered safe, based on research to-date, although pregnant women and people with kidney problems are advised to consume in moderation. Stevia produces a long-lasting sweet aftertaste that people either love or hate.
As I explore the sugar and calorie breakdown of the different chocolates I sampled, consider a bar of Cadburys milk chocolate as a point of comparison. Cadbury daily milk chocolate contains 55.8g sugar and 538 calories per 100g.
Are all Dark Chocolates Low in Sugar?
No, nothing could be further from the truth! It is often assumed that dark chocolate is low in sugar and calories. I sampled all of the popular supermarket brands and I was amazed by the results. The dark chocolates I tried all contained, on average, around 30g of sugar per 100g. I admit the Lindt Lindor Cornet Chocolate Balls – Extra Dark are very morish. Each chocolately ball has a hard outer shell and is smooth and delicious on the inside. I also love nibbling on the Ritter Sports Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts bar. It has a creamy, melty quality with plenty of nuts. But these choccies taste good because they are laden with sugar.
Sugar does not always mean tasty. For instance, I did not relish the Lindt 70% cocoa bar, Old Gold Dark Chocolate (Original and 70% cocoa), or the Whittakers Dark Ghana. They were all hard and bitter tasting. Even worse, they had a high sugar count – so not worth the calories!!
As you can see from the below chart, these dark chocolates are all high in sugar and calories albeit a little lower then regular Cadbury’s milk chocolate. If you want low-sugar or sugar-free chocolates, you need to seek out the specialty brands.
|Lindt Lindor Cornet Chocolate Balls – Extra Dark||32||637|
|Lindt 70% Cocoa Chocolate Bar||29||610|
|Old Gold Original||51.7||528|
|Old Gold 70% Cocoa||28.9||554|
|Ritter Sport Dark Chocolate with Whole Hazelnuts||37||556|
|Whittaker Dark Ghana||33.3||554|
Trapa is a Spanish chocolatier. They have a wide range of low-sugar and sugar-free chocolates sweetened with stevia and maltitol. Their chocolates are stocked by Fairprice and Redmart in Singapore and cost around $7 for a 75g bar.
I am not a big fan of Trapa’s stevia range of chocolate. Stevia has a sweet but strong aftertaste that just lingers on the back of your tongue for hours. I would not buy their 80% dark chocolate bar again for this reason, even though it has approximately 1g of sugar only. Both the Trapa milk chocolate with almonds and milk chocolate with hazelnut stevia bars are edible. The milk chocolate has a decadent melty quality when eaten at room temperature and the chocolates are abundant in nuts. But they also have that annoying aftertaste!! Both bars have under 7g sugar per 100g.
While I’m not a fan of the Trapa stevia chocolates (the ones with the green wrapper), I do love their special Trapa con Leche. This particular range is sweetened with maltitol and comes packaged in a cardboard box. I completely gorged myself on the Trapa 80% noir with almonds. It is super creamy for dark chocolate and the nuts pieces are chunky and plentiful. To top it off, it has less than 2g of sugar!
|Trapa 80% Dark Chocolate (stevia)||1.1||514|
|Trapa Milk Chocolate with Almonds (stevia)||5.9||408|
|Trapa Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts (stevia)||6.7||495|
|Trapa Con Leche 80% with Almonds||1.5||536|
Chocoelf is a Singaporean chocolatier with a wide variety of sugar-free and low-sugar chocolates. Their chocolates are on the more expensive end, averaging around $9 and upwards for a bar. However, they are beautifully packaged. Each box has a gold imprint of the Chocoelf logo and their company story is inscribed on the back. Inside, the chocolate is wrapped in a re-sealable envelope, which is a brilliant idea in theory. However, I usually eat an entire bar in one sitting (they are only 65g!) so the re-sealable feature is wasted on me.
Chocoelf uses maltitol to sweeten their low and sugar-free chocolates, so there is no annoying aftertaste. Their 70% dark chocolate Ace bar has only 0.2g sugar per 100g. It has a rich, chocolatey taste, although it does not melt in your mouth. I prefer their sugar-free Almond Vita, only 1.5g sugar, which is speckled with yummy almond flecks which give it a pleasant crunch.
The most delicious – and exotic – Chocoelf chocolates are their low-sugar varieties. Both the macadamia & raisin as well as the salted caramel bars are scrumptious, although they have around 10g of sugar per 100g. Completely addictive are the rich dark chocolate jumbo raisins, which are dusted with fine cocoa powder. They go just beautifully with a cup of hot Milo. They contain a whopping 30g sugar per 100g, but are totally worth it. Otherwise, for something less naughty and truly unique, try the Chocoelf rose and coconut bar which has zero sugar!
|Chocoelf 70% Dark Ace||0.2||514|
|Chocoelf Almond Vita||1.5||505|
|Chocoelf Macadamia & Raisin||9.6||478|
|Chocoelf Salted Caramel||11.7||455|
|Chocoelf Rich Dark Chocolate Raisins||29.7||382|
|Chocoelf Rose & Coconut||0||450|
Other Supermarket Sugar-Free Chocolates
By far, the best block of dark sugar-free chocolate I have tried is by The Belgian. Although it is dark chocolate, it doesn’t taste hard or bitter. The chocolate is rich, luxurious, and is quick to melt in your mouth. The Belgian also make milk chocolate with hazelnuts and dark chocolate with almonds costing only $6 a block on Redmart.
Another popular brand of low-sugar chocolates is Sugarless Confectionery, sold at Cold Storage. Their chocolates are made with stevia and thus possess a too-sweet aftertaste. Their milk chocolate bar has a creamy yumminess to it but doesn’t quite taste like the real stuff. It reminds me a little of cheap carob and has 8.7g of sugar per 100g.
|The Belgian No Sugar Added Dark Chocolate||0.1||469|
|The Belgian Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts||7||511|
|The Belgian Dark Chocolate with Almonds||0.8||486|
|Sugarless Milk Chocolate||8.7||504|
Expensive Sugar-Free Chocolates
If you want the really good stuff and you are happy to pay for it, then look no further than the Hello Chocolate website. They have a huge selection of sweets including some tantalising low-sugar and sugar-free chocolates. Plus, they follow a bean-to-bar principle, meaning all the chocolate is made from the finest, ethically sourced ingredients. To top it off, they also do same-day home delivery on all orders. I couldn’t resist!! To conclude my chocolate study, I ordered a selection of their most popular healthy chocolates.
I fell in love at first bite with the Labooko Sugar-Free Milk Chocolate – Super Dark 80%/20%. I surprised myself because I normally don’t enjoy bitter, dark-dark chocolate. However, while the Labooko is unsweetened (not even artificial sugar) it is not overly bitter. The addition of milk gives it a smoothness and accentuates the rich, cocoa flavour. There is also the Labooko Milk Chocolate – Without Sugar “Dark Style” which is ever so slightly milkier. While I normally prefer chocolate at room temperature, I actually recommend eating the Labooko chilled since it melts quickly in your mouth. Although the Labooko is marketed as sugar-free it does contain naturally occurring sugar.
If I’m honest, the Pralus Dark Chocolate – Fortissima 80% I ordered was nothing special, despite the foreign-sounding name. It was just another bitter-tasting dark chocolate. By far, my favourite purchase from Hello Chocolate was the Nina Dark Chocolate with Caramelized Macambo Nibs 85%. Macambo is a superfood known for its protein, fibre, and mood-boosting properties. Whatsmore, it has a magical buttery, nutty flavour that goes well with chocolate. This bar tasted salty, bitter, nutty and sweet all at the same time! The Nina Dark Chocolate from Peru 85% was robust but bitter by comparison and had some added sugar, with a calorie count not dissimilar to Lindt.
|Labooko Sugar-Free Milk Chocolate – Super Dark 80%20%||12||625|
|Labooko Milk Chocolate – Without Sugar “Dark Style”||8||611|
|Pralus Dark Chocolate – Fortissima 80%||not stated||678|
|Nina Dark Chocolate with Caramelized Macambo Nibs 85%||not stated||640|
|Nina Dark Chocolate from Peru 85%||not stated||640|
Another type of guilt-free chocolate I like to binge on is the organic stuff. However, it is guilt-free for a different reason. The sugar and calorie content can still be high (although not always). But, the chocolate is made from high-quality, ethically sourced ingredients and is free from preservatives. I love to visit Scoop Wholefoods for all of my organic chocolate needs, even though the prices are hefty. It is hard to resist their Organic Raw Chocolate Activated Almonds although it is very high in sugar and calories. However, their 100% organic dark chocolate is totally sugar-free! For a caffeine-free alternative to chocolate, they also sell Organic Carob Chocolate Bark, which reminds me of my younger days (does anyone besides the Aussies eat carob?) and has no added sugar.
|Organic Raw Chocolate Activated Almonds||20||619|
|100% Organic Dark Chocolate||0||771.9|
|Organic Carob Chocolate Bark||26.6||312|
How to be a Chocolate Connoisseur
To be a chocolate connoisseur you have to do much more than just buy chocolate. You have to know how to savour it. In the words of Labooko, follow this simple trick:
“Let a piece of chocolate rest for a short time on your tongue and then stick it to your upper palate. Tickle the chocolate with your tongue so that it slowly begins to melt. Good chocolate has greater staying power. This means you will feel the aromas for some time after you have eaten the chocolate”.
I devoured around fifty bars of chocolate in order to write this blog about dark, low-sugar and sugar-free chocolates. It has been an absolute pleasure and I happened to lose 3 kg in the process! However, munching on chocolate too often is not a habit I plan on keeping. While I did discover lots of low-sugar and sugar-free chocolate options, they still contain calories. Stay tuned for my next blog on low-sugar and low-calorie healthy snacks.