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Taste Test: Sugar-Free Chocolate

Can sugar-free chocolate compare to the real thing?

Side Effects continued...

This is thanks to the part of the sugar alcohol that isn’t absorbed. It goes through the intestinal tract and gets digested by bacteria of the gut. Discomfort ranging from gas to diarrhea can result -- depending on how much of the chocolate you consume and your individual intestinal tract.

"The sugar-free chocolates have definitely been helpful for my clients,” says Tamara James RN, CDE, diabetes educator for the University of California-Davis Medical Center. "But they don’t realize that too much of it will cause them intestinal problems."

The key to avoiding discomfort: "Just don’t pig out on it," says McNutt.

The American Dietetic Association advises that more than 50 grams of sorbitol or 20 grams of mannitol per day can cause diarrhea. You can tell how much sugar alcohol is in a serving of each sugar-free chocolate product by reading the nutrition information label (be sure to pay attention to the listed serving size).

Chocolate Taste Test

Health considerations aside, the real question many of us have is this: Can the taste of sugar-free chocolates compare to the real thing?

To get the answer, WebMD gathered samples of several brands of sugar-free chocolate and assembled a team of 10 tasters that included teens, people with diabetes, people trying to shed extra pounds, and people who just love chocolate.

These products came from chain drugstores, Whole Foods markets, and Godiva chocolate stores. All were rated on a system of 0-5 stars, with 5 being the highest possible score.


Milk Chocolate

  1. Galler Belgian Royal, made in Belgium (available at Whole Foods Markets)
    Chocolate fix rating: 4 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Taste and texture is great! This brand fooled me into thinking it was regular chocolate. I would definitely buy this chocolate again and again. Love its creamy and smooth consistency; it has that Swiss chocolate taste and texture.
    Cost: $5.99 for a 100-gram bar
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol
    First four ingredients: Maltitol, cocoa butter, full cream milk powder, cocoa paste
    Nutrition information: Not available (European nutrition label).

  2. Dove Sugar Free Rich Dark Chocolates with Chocolate Crème
    Chocolate fix rating: 3 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Nice smooth texture and rich, dark chocolate taste.
    Cost: $3.29 for a 96-gram bag
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol
    First four ingredients: maltitol, chocolate processed with alkali, chocolate, cocoa butter
    Nutrition information: 5 pieces (40 grams) contain 190 calories, 15 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 17 grams sugar alcohol, 3 grams fiber

  3. Dove Sugar Free Rich Dark Chocolates with Raspberry Crème
    Chocolate fix rating: 3 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Very nice flavor and texture.
    Cost: $3.29 for a 96-gram bar
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol
    First four ingredients: maltitol, chocolate processed with alkali, chocolate, cocoa butter
    Nutrition information: 5 pieces (40 grams) contain 190 calories, 15 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 16 grams sugar alcohol, 3 grams fiber

  4. Yamate Chocolatier Sugar Free Milk Chocolate available at Whole Foods Markets)
    Chocolate fix rating: 3 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Nice creamy texture and rich chocolate flavor.
    Cost: $3.39 for an 85-gram bar
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol (a sugar alcohol)
    First four ingredients: Chocolate liquor, maltitol, cocoa butter, milk fat
    Nutrition information: Half of the bar (42 grams) contains 200 calories, 17 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 15 grams maltitol, 4 grams fiber

  5. Godiva Sugar Free Chocolate Bar with almonds (available at Godiva stores)
    Chocolate fix rating: 2 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Can’t taste the chocolate very well; the almonds dominate the flavor of the bar. Consistency great but would prefer it without the nuts.
    Cost: $3 for a 42-gram bar
    Sugar replace: Maltitol
    First four ingredients: maltitol, chocolate processed with alkali, chocolate, cocoa butter
    Nutrition information: 5 pieces (40 grams) contain 190 calories, 15 grams fat, 10 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 17 grams sugar alcohol, 3 grams fiber

  6. Hershey’s Sugar Free Chocolate Candy (miniature chocolate bars)
    Chocolate fix rating: 1 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Has a slightly strange flavor, chalky texture.
    Cost: About $2.19 for an 85-gram bag
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol
    First four ingredients: Maltitol, chocolate, cocoa butter, cream (milk)
    Nutrition Information: 5 pieces (40 grams) contain 170 calories, 13 grams fat, 8 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 21 grams sugar alcohols, 2 grams fiber

  7. Sugar Free Russell Stover Chocolate Candy Miniatures
    Chocolate fix rating: 1 1/2 stars
    Taste comments: Not as smooth a texture and not as much flavor as some of the other choices.
    Cost: $3.19 for a 170-gram box
    Sugar replacer: Maltitol and Isomalt
    First four ingredients: Maltitol, cocoa butter, chocolate, isomalt
    Nutrition information: 5 pieces (40 grams) contain 190 calories, 14 grams fat, 9 grams saturated fat, 0 grams sugar, 20 grams sugar alcohol, 2 grams fiber

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