Many dieters and individuals with sugar sensitivities yearn for a way to enjoy chocolate without taking in the large number of calories it normally contains. Candy manufacturers, aware of this desire for low calorie chocolate, have devised a few options which can allow the calorie conscious to have their chocolate and eat it too. The most common low calorie chocolate options include sugar-free and reduced-sugar products as well as carob “chocolate.” Many true chocolate lovers find, however, that the best low calorie chocolate option is to simply enjoy their favorite treat in small portions.
A number of candy manufacturers produce sugar-free or reduced-sugar versions of their normal chocolate treats. These manufacturers usually replace some or all of a product’s normal sugar content with an alcohol derived from sugar, such as xylitol or sorbitol. This sugar alcohol adds sweetness to a product while contributing fewer calories than are found in products fully sweetened with sugar. Many find that these reduced-sugar or sugar-free products do indeed provide a rich, indulgent low calorie chocolate option. On the downside, however, consumption of sugar alcohol can cause gastrointestinal discomfort, gas, and even diarrhea in some people.
Another popular low calorie chocolate option is not made from chocolate at all, but rather from carob, a tree found in tropical climates which produces pods with qualities similar to those of the cocoa plant. Like cocoa, the pods of the carob tree are processed into a powder which is then combined with other ingredients to create a chocolate-like bar. While carob products are often marketed as a healthy alternative to normal chocolate, it should be noted that carob powder actually contains more calories per ounce than cocoa powder. Thus, calorie-conscious consumers may wish to select reduced-sugar or sugar-free carob products to ensure that they are genuinely limiting their calorie intake. Further, many find that the taste and texture of carob products is not as satisfying as that of authentic chocolate ones.
Some dessert lovers find that the low calorie chocolate options on the market simply do not satisfy their chocolate cravings. These individuals often find that portion control is the best way to limit their calorie intake while getting their chocolate “fix.” In other words, these chocolate lovers opt to indulge in small, calorie-controlled servings of their favorite treats. Those who have difficulty consuming only a small portion of a chocolate treat may find it helpful to buy products in snack-size servings.