Cocoa and Blood Glucose LevelsA Chapter by Sara Mercury
This is written strictly from personal experience and not from any other type of research other than basic knowledge.
It is a known fact that cocoa (as well as cinnamon) has the capacity to lower blood glucose levels. Cinnamon and cocoa can be a diabetic's best friend in moderation, when used in conjunction with prescribed medication.
However, I believe that even a person who does not have diabetes, is not insulin-resistant, hypoglycemic or does not have blood sugar regulation problems can still have a temporary problem if cocoa powder is consumed in a large quantity without sugar or a small carbohydrate source. I know this because it has happened to me repeatedly!
Unlike many people who have hypoglycemia on a regular basis, I do not experience the symptoms associated with hypoglycemia when my sugar levels drop to dangerous levels due to the consumption of 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder in my carb-control yoghurt I like to eat as a snack. (If done correctly, it turns into a low-carb, sugar-free chocolate pudding that I love to eat as my after dinner dessert lots of times.) I do not go into the low blood sugar shakes or hand tremors, or anything like that. I do, however, notice that I start getting symptoms like twitching eyes and facial muscles, and involuntary twitching of my calf muscles, and some weakness in my arms and legs. Any of these things can also be due to electrolyte problems that I've always had due to past laxative abuse, and excessive amounts of overtraining during exercise sessions without taking in adequate fluids and proper amounts of calcium, magnesium and potassium. However, I've begun to supplement my diet and fluid intake with these electrolyte minerals, and much to my surprise ... to no real benefit from relieving the extreme leg cramps in the early morning hours and during the night, as well as the leg tremors that begin immediately prior to retiring to bed.
I have noticed that each time this happens, I've had my cocoa-powder laden yoghurt cup as my dessert that night without taking in any carbohydrates beyond the ones naturally occurring in the veggies I've eaten at dinner. (I try to never eat any grains, breads or fruits at night AT ALL, as a rule). I think this practise is a huge mistake!
My belief is that my blood glucose drops within an hour after eating the cocoa and that's when the leg and facial twitching starts. No matter how much Propel Zero or Powerade Zero and magnesium I take, it does nothing to alleviate these symptoms. Mysteriously, no doubt.
I have known that cocoa powder brings blood glucose levels down, but I had no idea that it would do this so drastically, and most especially in me, since I have NO HISTORY and no record at all of ever having had high or low blood sugar ... except once when I went into hospital for what I thought was a gall bladder attack. They took my glucose then and told me it had dropped dangerously low enough that they had to give me a dose of straight oral glucose in the ambulance! Within minutes, all my pain in my abdomen went away!
Same thing happened this morning. I woke up with the usual cramps in my legs (almost debilitating!). Something told me that my blood sugar was dangerously low, so I took a spoonful of honey. And do you know what? Within fifteen minutes, I was actually FEELING BETTER. No more headache. No more pain. No more twitching. No more stiffness in the legs where my muscles SEIZE up completely. I actually did my cardio this morning and never once had to stop and work out a seizure-like charlie horse cramp!
So, my advise to anyone who loves their cocoa powder the way I do, and eats it like a substitute for the sugar, fat and more calorie-laden CHOCOLATE BAR or brownie ... do so with much caution and eat an apple with that pudding! Or spread your cocoa on top of a multigrain piece of toast or sprout bread ... anything but eat it ALONE! Especially if you don't add any SUGAR to the mix! (NOTE: If you decide to add honey or sugar to your cocoa, you don't have to worry about adding any kind of carbohydrate to your dessert to keep your blood glucose from dropping from the high dosage of cocoa powder.) I almost believe that if you eat Truvia in the place of real sugar in something like cocoa, it sets the body up to think it's getting an actual dosage of REAL SUGARY CHOCOLATE, your pancreas goes into overdrive, and VOILA ... you get instant low blood sugar levels!
Again, this writing and advise is from my own personal experience and from nowhere else.
UPDATE: It is NOT THE COCOA that is the blood-glucose problem, but the stevia and sucralose! I am the WORLD'S WORST at avoiding sweet stuff! I used to be an alcoholic, and giving up alcohol has created a sweet-tooth in me I can't shake, despite how hard I try! Therefore, for me, it's a daily struggle to maintain my weight. I might even be suffering from metabolic disorders now because of all the artificial sweeteners I've consumed, never knowing that I was harming myself in the guise of keeping my weight under control.
All I can do now is try to minimise the damage as much as possible and SPREAD THE WORD.
© 2012 Sara Mercury
Added on March 15, 2012
Last Updated on March 29, 2012
From the Kitchen of Sara Mercury
Lake City, FL
AboutHello, Darlings! I am a published author, and a legal assistant, as well as the mother of a 15-year-old son. In addition to writing novels, I enjoy singing and playing piano, writing poetry and son.. more..