Yes, you may eat chocolate if you have diabetes. But it’s essential to know how much of it and what kind of chocolate to choose to avoid diabetic complications.

Many people think that if you have diabetes, you can’t have sweets or chocolate — but in reality, that’s a myth. You can still have these foods in small amounts, but they need to be part of a larger healthy lifestyle and diet.

By choosing high quality dark chocolate — like 70% cocoa — you get a stronger chocolate taste, which can help you eat less. Check the labels for carbohydrate contents to help you adjust insulin levels, and you can enjoy a sweet treat.

Speak with your doctor or a registered dietitian about whether you can incorporate chocolate into your diet, in moderation.

In addition to satisfying a craving, there may be health benefits to eating chocolate, especially dark chocolate. In this section, we discuss the benefits of chocolate.

Potential benefits

Cocoa contains chemicals called flavonoids, and these may help reduce insulin resistance and improve insulin sensitivity.

These can improve endothelial function, which reduces insulin resistance. This lowers the risk of future cardiovascular problems.


All chocolate is not created equal — this means milk and white chocolate don’t have the same health benefits as dark chocolate. Eating foods like chocolate cake or chocolate chip cookies will not provide the benefits as, say, a small square of dark chocolate.

Eating too much chocolate can cause issues with blood sugar and weight gain.

When you have diabetes, eating a balanced diet is important. It is not only part of an overall healthy lifestyle, but it’s also part of your treatment plan. Along with regular physical activity, having a balanced, healthy diet can help keep your blood glucose level in the normal range and keep your weight stable.

Diabetes can typically be managed by a combination of:

  • monitoring what you eat and drink
  • regular physical activity
  • taking prescribed diabetes medications

A balanced diet includes:

  • vegetables
  • fruits
  • whole grains
  • lean protein
  • low-fat dairy

Try to include heart-healthy fats like:

  • olive oil
  • nuts and seeds
  • fatty fish
  • avocado

It’s also a good idea to limit saturated and trans fats, processed grains, and foods high in sugar and refined grains, such as cookies, cakes, and other pastries.

When you really want chocolate or something chocolate-flavored, there are ways to make sweets and desserts healthier.

Check out the Diabetes Food Hub from the American Diabetes Association for ideas. Turns out you can have your cake, and eat it, too! Here are some diabetes-friendly chocolate treats:

Note: While many of these recipes are gluten-free, people with diabetes do not need to avoid gluten unless diagnosed with celiac disease.

Keeping your blood sugar levels in their target range is an important part of managing diabetes. Medication, diet, and exercise can all help.

Specifically, diet and exercise can help to:

  • lower your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure
  • keep your weight in a healthy range or help you lose weight if needed
  • prevent or delay complications from diabetes
  • give you more energy
  • improve blood flow
  • burn extra calories
  • improve your mood

Your insulin and other diabetes medications will be adjusted based on your diet and exercise levels. A healthcare team can work with you on the best times to eat, your carbohydrate intake, and meal planning questions you might have.

It’s not easy making lifestyle changes, but you don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to deprive yourself of chocolate or sweets, and your healthcare team can help you find a way to incorporate these foods into your diet in a healthy way.

If you’re having trouble eating chocolate or sweets in moderation, you might want to speak with a professional.

You may ask a healthcare professional for a referral to a registered dietitian (RD) or diabetes care and education specialist (DCES) to create a plan for healthier eating.

You don’t have to completely deprive yourself of chocolate if you have diabetes. You can eat dark chocolate in moderation. Not all chocolate is the same, and dark chocolate with high levels of cocoa has health benefits that other kinds don’t.

Also, consider your lifestyle behaviors like diet and exercise. If you’re looking to incorporate chocolate into your diet, it may be a good idea to talk with your healthcare team about the safest ways to do so.