UBC Study: Diabetes & Dark Chocolate

Written by: Barb Kelly

December 3, 2020

The University of British Columbia’s School of Health and Exercise Sciences, is investigating the effect of dark chocolate on diabetics’ blood glucose levels in a new study being run by Dr. Jonathan Little.

The study, which includes both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetics, follows each participant’s blood sugar levels before and 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 1 hour, 1.5 hours, and 2 hours after consumption of two supplied, unidentifiable bars of chocolate. The participants eat one bar on each day of the two-day testing period.

The purpose of the study is to observe the blood glucose levels of both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics after eating a 70% cocoa dark chocolate sweetened with sugar and after eating a no sugar added (NSA) 66% cocoa dark chocolate sweetened with stevia and erythritol. Both stevia and erythritol have, in other studies, been shown to have no glycemic impact on blood sugars in diabetics.[1],[2],[3]  In short, the hope is the study will show that dark chocolate sweetened with stevia and erythritol has zero or close to zero impact on blood glucose levels and, thus, is a safe food choice for diabetics who are maintaining a healthy weight.

In addition to the bars of chocolate, participants are given a OneTouch Verio IQ blood glucose meter, test strips, alcohol swabs, gauze, and a sheet on which to record their glucose test results. In addition to completing the Glucose Levels Form each day, participants are asked to complete an optional questionnaire that asks about the quality of each bar in the study. The study is following COVID-19 standards in all ways, using Zoom meetings, mail, and digital communications to interact with participants.

Ross Chocolates has assisted the study by supplying the NSA chocolate and assisting the researchers in finding people with diabetes to participate in the study. Ross is uninvolved in the selection of the study participants, meeting with participants, instruction and conduct of the tests and study, calculation of results, and any observations, analysis, or conclusions of the study.


[1]Samuel, P., Ayoob, K., Magnuson, B., et al. 2018. Stevia Leaf To Stevia Sweetener: Exploring Its Science, Benefits, and Future Potential. Journal of Nutrition. 148(7): 1186S–1205S. Retrieved on December 1, 2020 from https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/148/7/1186S/5049670.

[2] Munro, I., Bernt, O., Borzelleca, J., Flamm, G., Lynch, B., et al. 1998. 1998. Erythritol: An Interpretive Summary of Biochemical, Metabolic, Toxicological and Clinical Data. Food and Toxicology. 36(1998):1139-1174. Retrieved on December 2, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9862657/.

[3] Noda, K., Nadayama, K., Oku, T. 1994. Serum Glucose and Insulin Levels and Erythritol Balance After Oral Administration of Erythritol in Healthy Subjects. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 48(4):286-92. Retrieved on December 2, 2020 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8039489/.

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