For diabetics, managing their carbohydrate and sugar intake is crucial to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. As such, it's essential for them to understand how different foods and beverages can impact their condition. One popular drink that raises questions for many diabetics is chocolate milk. In this article, we will explore whether or not diabetics can safely consume chocolate milk and provide alternative options and tips for better blood sugar management.

In this Diabetic & Me article, you will learn about the following:

  • What type of chocolate milk is best for a diabetic?
  • Why is it important to be careful with sugar in your diet?
  • What are the benefits of drinking chocolate milk regularly?

Can Diabetics Drink Chocolate Milk?

Milk is one of the most nutritious beverages people enjoy and mostly enjoy in the morning with a bowl of cereal. While milk is popularly regarded as beneficial for everyone, persons with diabetes are often hesitant to consume it.

But milk can be even better when mixed with chocolate to make the perfect flavored milk. People with diabetes need to pay attention to the sugar content of chocolate milk to keep their blood sugar levels under control but drinking a glass or two of it each day can be beneficial for them as well, depending on what type or brand you drink. It's even a great way to get those low blood sugar levels up when needed.

The first thing to know about chocolate milk is that each brand and type differs. Most premixed chocolate milk contains added sugars that can quickly add up. So, before you drink chocolate milk for the first time, it's important to check out what is in your favorite brand of chocolate milk and how much sugar it contains per serving size.

Some brands contain as much as 22 grams of added sugars - almost half a day's sugar! Nowadays there are also many low-fat options for people with diabetes; however, if you opt for low fat make sure it doesn't mean high carbs (sugar).

Diabetics can drink chocolate milk as long as the type of milk they are drinking is low in fat and most of all the sugar content is kept to a minimum.

Therefore, it's always better to create your own chocolate milk at home using sugar-free cocoa powder or pure chocolate droplets and unsweetened almond milk, soy milk, or skim milk. Not only will you be able to control the amount of sugar going into your body, but you will also ensure that there is no added dairy or extra sugar.

What Is The Glycemic Index of Chocolate Milk?

The glycemic index measures the impact foods have on blood sugar levels. The lower the glycemic index, the less it impacts your blood sugars after you eat or drink it.

Someone with diabetes needs to be careful about their glycemic index (GI), and glycemic load (GL), calculated by multiplying grams of carbohydrates per serving times its GI ranking and then dividing that number by 100. This gives a more accurate picture of how any particular food will affect an individual's blood glucose level than simply looking at carbohydrate content alone.

The glycemic index of chocolate milk is not very high, which is ideal for diabetics. The GI of chocolate milk ranges from 35 to 55 depending on the type and brand that you choose.

Drinking one glass of low-fat / low-sugar chocolate milk might not cause your blood sugar levels to spike up. However, make sure you don't drink too much at once as this may affect your diabetes control over time.

To ensure safety when drinking any kind of dairy beverage with added sugars, especially chocolate milk, it's to consult with a medical professional.

Is Chocolate Milk Bad for Diabetics?

While diabetics can consume chocolate milk in moderation, it's essential to be mindful of the sugar and carbohydrate content. Chocolate milk often contains added sugars that can raise blood sugar levels. Therefore, it's crucial for diabetics to pay attention to portion sizes and choose a chocolate milk option with lower sugar content.

Drinking chocolate milk every day can be beneficial for diabetics as well. It contains nutritious calcium and the unsweetened versions have fewer grams of carbs and no sugar.

The sugar content of most premixed chocolate milk or cocoa powder is high (almost half a day's worth of sugar), and they often contain more saturated fat, so it's essential to make sure you look at what type and brand you are buying before you take your first sip.

As stated above, it's important to drink the suitable chocolate milk to make sure you don't raise blood sugar levels too quickly and cause problems later down the road as well as weight gain from all those unnecessary sugars and saturated fats.

Tips for Choosing a Diabetic-Friendly Chocolate Milk

Tips For Choosing A Diabetic Friendly Chocolate Milk

Opt for low-fat or non-dairy milk options

Choose low-fat or non-dairy milk, like almond or soy milk , as they tend to have lower sugar content compared to whole milk or reduced-fat milk.

Read labels carefully

Always check the nutrition facts panel for sugar and carbohydrate content before purchasing chocolate milk. Choose options with less added sugar.

Make your own chocolate milk

Create a healthier version of chocolate milk or hot chocolate at home by using unsweetened cocoa powder or unsweetened baking chocolate, a low-glycemic sweetener like stevia or erythritol, and low-fat or non-dairy milk.

What Kind of Milk Can Diabetics Drink?

If you are lactose intolerant, have a dairy allergy, or just prefer a good milk alternative there are plenty of alternatives that you can drink. Some of them are:

  • Organic Soymilk
  • Rice milk
  • Almond Milk
  • Flax Milk
  • Low-fat Goat Milk
  • Coconut milk (made from the flesh of a coconut)
  • Oat Milk (made by blending oats with water and straining it through cheesecloth. The leftover pulp is oat flour.)

Alternative Beverages for Diabetics

If chocolate milk is not the best option for you, consider these diabetic-friendly alternatives:

Unsweetened almond milk

A low-carbohydrate and low-sugar option that can be flavored with a touch of unsweetened cocoa powder and a low-glycemic sweetener.

Unsweetened iced tea

Choose a decaffeinated version to avoid potential blood sugar fluctuations caused by caffeine.

Water infused with fruit

Stay hydrated while enjoying natural flavors by adding berries, citrus, or cucumber slices to your water.

Conclusion

It's important to pay attention to the type and brand of chocolate milk that you are drinking. There are many different brands with varying levels of sugar in them, so it's important not to overindulge or increase your blood glucose levels too quickly by consuming a lot of sugar at once. There are several brands that offer sugar-less options or you can make your own drink with sugar-free cacao powder and low-fat milk.

Sources

At Diabetic Me, we are committed to delivering information that is precise, accurate, and pertinent. Our articles are supported by verified data from research papers, prestigious organizations, academic institutions, and medical associations to guarantee the integrity and relevance of the information we provide. You can learn more about our process and team on the about us page.

  1. WebMD Health Benefits of Chocolate Milk
  2. WebMD What You Can Drink, Besides Water, When You Have Diabetes

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About the Author

Ely Fornoville

Hi, I'm Ely Fornoville, and I am the founder of Diabetic Me. Being a type 1 diabetic since 1996, I developed a passion to help people learn more about diabetes. I write about diabetes and share stories from other diabetics around the world. I currently use a Medtronic Guardian 4 CGM and a MiniMed 780G insulin pump with Humalog insulin.

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