Not even the world’s most radical health nut can say many bad things about chocolate. Humans have been eating it for hundreds of years. It has antioxidants. Its caffeine content can boost mood and alertness. And it’s just fun to eat.
But if you don’t want to load your body with cane sugar, you’re probably wondering what your options are. Even super-dark, organic, fair-trade chocolate varieties still often include cane sugar as a second ingredient.
There is a viable alternative out there.
I came across Lily’s Dark Chocolate (or it first caught my attention as an option) while browsing my local Publix’s candy aisle for my typical dark chocolate.
At first I was suspicious of its sugar-free claims. Lily’s uses a sugar alcohol called erythritol alongside plant-based sweetener Stevia to replace sugar. Given my limited knowledge about sugar alcohols, I was hesitant to add it to my diet. And stevia had left a bad taste in my mouth before (in high quantities, it’s gross).
I don’t really care about the caloric restriction stuff. I don’t really care about the non-GMO status.
But what I care about is delicious chocolate that won’t give me diabetes and that isn’t produced using slave labor. Fortunately Lily’s Sweets has put in the work.
I’m a big fan of the Coconut and Extra Dark varieties. The Coconut comes with bits of coconut embedded in the bar, and it has a nice smooth buttery taste to it. The Extra Dark is delicious with some cinnamon sprinkled on top. Lily’s also makes a delicious Caramelized & Salted variety which is a dream for someone on a low-sugar diet.
There are some downsides to a sugar-free chocolate. Health articles I’ve read warn against calorie de-inhibition: when a food uses sugar alcohol instead of caloric-rich sugar, the brain does not receive the same “full” signals that a sugar-rich food sends. So you may end up craving or eating more chocolate. And sugar alcohol does have some, um, gassy effects, at least at first. As I’ve eaten Lily’s more frequently, this has seemed to be less of a problem.
All that said, Lily’s has pulled off the unlikely: delivering the benefits of dark chocolate without the downsides of cane sugar. It makes chocolate an option for people on low-sugar or no-sugar diets. And to top it all off, it donates a percentage of profits to support children suffering from cancer. Thank you, market, and thank you, Lily’s.