Dark chocolate is a sweet and delicious treat. Plus, high quality dark chocolate is quite nutritious.
Depending on the cocoa content, dark chocolate can be a rich source of minerals and antioxidants and contain a decent amount of fiber (1).
However, since it contains carbs, you may wonder whether it can fit into the very low carb, high fat ketogenic diet.
This article explores whether dark chocolate can be enjoyed as part of a healthy keto diet.
Dark chocolate is made by combining 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 typically added to dark chocolate to some extent to counterbalance the bitterness of the cocoa.
Still, not all dark chocolate is created equal. Both its percentage of cocoa and sugar content can vary drastically depending on the brand.
The proportion of cocoa in the final product determines how dark or high quality the chocolate is (2).
As a rule of thumb, high quality dark chocolate comprises at least 70% cocoa, often resulting in a product with less sugar.
High quality dark chocolate is particularly rich in flavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants found in plant foods (3).
In fact, high quality dark chocolate contains more flavonoids than many other high antioxidant foods like black tea, red wine, and apples (2).
Dark chocolate is a combination 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.
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 reasonably 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, which means it has about 10 grams of net carbs (8).
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 (9).
Therefore, most keto experts recommend using net carbs when calculating your daily carb allotment (10).
One ounce (28 grams) of dark chocolate made with 70–85% cocoa contains approximately 10 grams of net carbs.
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 (11).
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 (8).
Whether dark chocolate fits into a keto diet largely depends on what else you consume throughout the day.
If you want to enjoy dark chocolate on a keto diet, consider restricting other high carb foods to ensure you don’t exceed your daily carb limit.
Also, it’s important to choose high quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids.
Dark chocolate with less than 70% cocoa likely contains a higher carb content and may be difficult to fit in without exceeding your carb allotment.
Ultimately, portion control is key. 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 important to monitor your portions and choose dark chocolate made with at least 70% cocoa to avoid exceeding your carb limit.
Although dark chocolate is a sweet treat, it’s relatively low in carbs, compared with 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.