The Chocolate Life

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Hi All, 

we receive a lot of request of "sugar free" chocolate, most of them they refer to "use Agave syrup/crystals", but this is not what we think as "sugar free"!  

Unfortunately here, miscommunication or false information make people believe that Agave "sugar" (!!!) is diabetic friendly...

We know that a 85%dark  bar with sugar is better than a 55% dark made with agave, but it takes time to explain that to every one!

Now, going to the point: 

i'm capable of doing some research of real sugar free (sucrose) -chocolate maybe using stevia or other ingredients (Honey won't work). but i not really sure where to start..

Anyone any idea or suggestion?

Thanks in advance!


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Kera, Lakanto is just a very overpriced mix of Lo Han and Erythritol. You can buy both and mix it yourself, which will also let you control proportions. I use both (and several other) natural sweeteners in my goods.


Thanks, awriter!

Thomas - there are a number of producers of evaporated organic cane juice in crystals. Paraguay and Brazil are big producers (and Brazil is cheaper). Wholesome Sweeteners can get it to you by the ton (nothing smaller) but you can call them and find a local distributor who can sell it to you by the 40-50lb bag. I last bought through Ace Naturals in Queens, though they don't deliver to where you are in N Jersey. Shouldn't be too hard to find through natural food distributor or bakery supply company.

Hi, folks - just came across this discussion and hope to add some helpful information.

First, I've been in R&D for the last four years to create the first all-natural (no chemicals, preservatives, agave, maltitol or artificial sweeteners, including sucralose) sugar-free desserts in the country. The one rule that every dessert has to pass before being added to our line is that it be fine restaurant quality, and in look, taste and texture, be as good as or better than the 'real thing.' When we do taste testing with guests we do not tell them the item is sugar-free, and enjoy watching their jaws drop when we inform them after they give their detailed feedback. :)

We launch in a few months as Good For You Goodies. Desserts that are actually good for someone to eat. Why do I say good for you to eat? Because after the 60 Minutes expose on sugar (that would include ALL forms, including cane juice, raw, etc.) about how it, and not fat, is a cause of some types of heart disease and cancer, as well as the cause of obesity, insulin resistance and diabetes -- which the scientific community has known for years -- it should be clear to any thinking person that avoiding this toxin forever is imperative for long-term health. But back to sweeteners.

Why no agave? Because until high fructose corn syrup, which is 55% fructose and in sufficient quantities will not only give you NAFLD (non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, now a raging epidemic in this nation's children) -- agave syrup is 77% to 99% fructose! Sure, it doesn't raise blood sugars, but that's only because it's handled by the body differently than glucose, in that it goes straight to the liver for processing. If you want to get very, very sick, use lots of agave syrup. Maltitol is bad because unlike other sugar alcohols (xylitol and erythritol, which the body cannot 'see' and therefore excretes without effect on blood sugars), it will spike insulin and blood sugars: a double whammy. Upshot: Avoid. And Stevia? My medical and science research, as well as real-time work with Participants on my blog (see below), show that it interferes in metabolic processes involving fat accumulation (though I haven't yet pinned down the biological pathways) so that's out. Just as well, the stuff is bitter no matter what brand, or how it's used -- and I've tried every single brand and type on the market. Truvia is truly disgusting.

How do I know all this? I run a blog on the Science of Nutrition, Obesity and Diabetes: Sugarfreegoodies

But back to chocolate. After years of experimenting, it became clear that creating chocolate bars or candy for mass production without agave or maltitol was impossible. Either it tasted bad, gave you the runs, or both. And it cost a fortune, making retail prices prohibitive.

Instead, I concentrated on chocolate desserts, where unsweetened chocolate could be melted and, with the alchemy of natural sweeteners I spent years, blood, sweat and tears to discover, come through the looking glass as fabulous ganache, brownies, etc. The sole exception is my sugar-free chocolate chip cookie, for which we use Callebaut 86% chocolate drops, so they will be labeled "No Sugar Added" instead of "Sugar-Free." Our initial line will consist of those brownies and cookies, plus sugar-free vanilla ice-box cheesecake, chocolate truffle cheesecake, chocolate ganache-covered peanut butter mousse bars (all three of which have a puffed rice chocolate crunch crust testers cannot get enough of) and various flavored scones.

In other words, better to use already existing high quality chocolate for desserts instead of trying to re-invent the wheel on bars, IMHO, at least for now. There are a few natural sweeteners coming on the market in the next few years that might make me rethink this.


Hi awriter, 

thank you for the good update on sugar free! this global research is going well!

I'm not a scientist but i have spent 20 years in pastry kitchen, that is where my knowledge for ingredient come from.

The point of the research was to find out options for "sugar-free" chocolate bar (as i have a bean to bar business). Making desserts sugar free, low carb, gluten free, egg free etc.. based on chocolate that taste even better than regular is actually (for me...) the easy thing! i did it for the past 10 years.

The difficult part is to create a chocolate bar that is completely sugar (sucrose) free and still being of good taste and at least not more harmful than the one made with real sugar.

I haven't started yet with the physical testing, at the moment we are talking just theoretically. We still believe that our 85% dark chocolate and our 95% "40 hour conche"  is still the best bet for our diabetic clients.

Ps: i going to have a look at your blog! 

"The sole exception is my sugar-free chocolate chip cookie, for which we use Callebaut 86% chocolate drops, so they will be labeled "No Sugar Added" instead of "Sugar-Free.""

Surely you don't have a sugar-free chocolate chip cookie then??

The cookie is 100% sugar-free. The chips are not, which is why we list the cookies as "No Sugar Added."

And, the chocolate we use is so dark and has so little sugar, that it passes the meter test. Every single one of our recipes must be tested by a glucose-impaired person with their own meter at the 60, 90 and 120 hour mark. The dessert must be eaten all by itself; no extra fat to slow glucose conversion allowed. The dessert must not raise blood sugars at the 1-hr mark any more than 10 points over fasting, and by the 2-hr mark blood sugars must be back down by at least that much.

The cookies pass.

The Valrhona chocolate with maltitol -- or any food with any maltitol -- would not. Maltitol acts in the bloodstream precisely like sugar, and any amount over an ounce will spike their insulin, spike their blood sugars, and send folks to the john for an hour or so. This is why we don't use it in anything, and why I do not allow my blog participants to ever eat any amount of it under any circumstances: it actually makes insulin resistance worse.


You can't call your chocolate chip cookies sugar free then. If you were making plain cookies with no chocolate in, then these would be sugar free and surely can be called sugar free.. if you make your sugar free cookies, and then add chocolate chips into them...they aren't sugar free any longer, and should not be labelled as sugar free..

Simple really.

Valrhona make a range of sugar free chocolates. They are sold under the name Xocoline.

Xocoline Ingredients (taken from German Valrhona site):

Cocoa beans, sweetener: maltitol, cocoa butter, emulsifier: soy lecithin, Natural vanilla extract. May contain traces of nuts, milk and egg proteins, gluten and peanuts. Excessive consumption may have laxative effects.

Think I'll pass, thanks. :)


Sorry "AWriter" from the first post, the person was wanting to know of any sugar free chocolates - I was simply saying Valrhona make such a chocolate. Although your quest is interesting, the fact you are trying to make products with no sugar what-so-ever doesn't really help the original poster. Have you successfully manufactured a chocolate with no sugar in it, that is commercially available, that she can buy, and then use to make products for her diabetic customers??????

With regards to the warning of "excessive consumption" may cause laxative effects.. if someone who is diabetic who really wants to eat small amounts of chocolate, this might be a better option than eating normal chocolate. Anyway, it's widely reported that Coffee can have laxative effects if drunk in excessive volmes.. - I don't see the demand for coffee shrinking any time soon as a result..


I am responding to the recent comments about sugar-free chocolate bars.  I learned about xylitol and stevia over 10 years ago while I was doing research for my doctoral dissertation in Holistic Nutrition.  I developed numerous recipes using xylitol as the only sweetener and incorporated them into my cookbook, Sweeten Your Life the Xylitol Way, now in its second edition.  This cookbook has been well received by individuals and companies who sell xylitol, such as Xlear, Xylitol USA (formerly Emerald Forest Sugar), Epic Dental, and Now Foods.  A few years ago, I began also incorporating erythritol into my recipes to reduce the carb count and calories even further. 

Within the past year I have focused on developing dark chocolate bars sweetened only with the natural sweeteners xylitol, erythritol, and stevia.  My husband is a chocoholic and had been urging me for a long time to develop sugar-free dark chocolate so that he could enjoy it and not have to deal with the harmful side effects of sugar.  I now have four variations of these chocolate bars in limited production.  They are all dark chocolate, low glycemic, and dairy-free.  The basic bar is 77% cacao and is sweetened only with xylitol and stevia; I have used this bar as a basis to develop two flavored versions, mint and raspberry.  The low carb bar is 75% cacao and is sweetened only with xylitol, erythritol, and stevia.  This low carb bar has been successfully tested by a Type 1 diabetic who verified by using a continuous monitor that there was little or no effect on her blood sugar levels. 

I am not making the chocolate bean to bar.  I start with unsweetened chocolate liqueur and add my own flavorings and sweeteners, then I mélange, temper, and mold.  I am looking into purchasing additional equipment so that I can produce these chocolate bars in larger quantities.  I’m currently selling these bars, as well as my other sugar-free products such as fudge, hot cocoa mix, brownies, dark chocolate glazed peanut butter cookies, and granola at local farmers markets.  I am planning to add the chocolate bars to my website after I have increased production and have the cold packaging developed for shipping in hot weather.

My goal has always been to create recipes and develop products that taste at least as good as, if not better than, the commercially available sugar-sweetened version of that recipe or product, and this has been verified by my customers.  I welcome comments and other discussion about naturally sweetened sugar-free chocolate.


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