In our warehouse, we have a sign that says, “Forget love. I’d rather fall in chocolate.”
Raise your hand if you can relate.
Chocolate is one of the oldest foods in history, and people have been consuming it for about 3,000 years. In addition to being delicious, chocolate (and dark chocolate, specifically) is a true superfood.
For example, eating dark chocolate daily reduces the risk of heart disease by ⅓, and the mere smell of chocolate increases theta brain waves, which induce relaxation.
In this blog, we’re fulfilling our dreams and taking a deep dive into dark chocolate: where it came from, why it’s so addicting (hint: it could be your genes), and how to keep enjoying dark chocolate without sabotaging your health goals.
A Brief History of Chocolate
We have the ancient Mayans to thank for the miracle that is chocolate. In their day, chocolate was a thick frothy, bitter beverage regarded as the drink of gods. Chocolate drinks were used in celebrations and to seal critical financial transactions.
Like the Mayans, the Aztecs enjoyed chocolate on a near-daily basis, but they also used cacao beans – the raw ingredient that creates chocolate – as a form of currency. In fact, the beans were considered more valuable than gold.
Eventually, chocolate traveled to Spain, spreading worldwide with Christopher Columbus and Hernan Cortes. Within years, chocolate had reached Europe and the American Colonies, and demand for the sweet treat was skyrocketing.
During the Revolutionary War in America, chocolate was provided to the military as rations and sometimes given to soldiers as payment in place of money. Unfortunately, chocolate was still primarily a luxury item that only the rich could enjoy frequently.
Luckily for us, a Dutch chemist named Coenraad Johannes van Houten discovered how to change that. In 1828, he mixed cacao beans with alkaline salts to create powdered chocolate that could be mixed with water.
The result? Dutch cocoa was born, and chocolate was officially available to almost everyone.
Why is Chocolate so Addicting?
We’ve all been there: you buy a chocolate bar thinking, “I'll have one piece,” and, before you know it, the entire bar is gone. Your willpower probably isn’t to blame, however.
A study conducted by Australia’s Monell and QIMR Berghofer Research Institute recently found that our genetics control how we perceive and interact with sweets like chocolate.
Depending on our genetic makeup, some of us find deserts more delicious and tempting than people with a different genetic code.
In fact, as much as 30% of our love for sweets could be genetic.
So, there you have it: your love for chocolate might be bone-deep!
How our Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate Was Born
We’ve already talked about the history and appeal of dark chocolate.
The one drawback about dark chocolate in its traditional form? It’s FILLED with sugar.
We noticed that our customers were asking for sugar-free cocoa, but there were none on the market. We decided to solve the problem by creating dark chocolate cocoa that smelled and tasted delicious and provided all the benefits of chocolate without all the sugar.
The result? Our Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate cocoa mix.
Unlike other dark chocolate drink mixes, ours was specifically designed to be mixed with coffee for coffee shops.
We should pause here to say that we’re OBSESSED with chocolate. Our founder eats a half bar of chocolate daily! Her favorites are Lily's Extra Dark Chocolate With Sea Salt, Lily's Extra Dark Salted Caramel, and Green & Black's 85% Dark Chocolate. So, we know our dark chocolate!
When we started playing with creating our drink mix line, the first drink mix we made was the hot cocoa mix with cane sugar. It was so easy that we decided to formulate the white chocolate, chai, and frappe.
A year later, when we decided to create the sugar-free line, we also started with cocoa. Unfortunately, it proved so difficult that we tabled it and moved ahead with developing the other flavors (white chocolate, frappe, and chai) before finally coming back to the chocolate.
The balance of the natural sweetener with the bitterness of the cocoa powder took forever to dial in: too much sweetener, and we got a bitter aftertaste; not enough, and the flavor profile wasn't right.
After almost a year of testing, we finally arrived at a win with the Sugar-Free Dark Cocoa mix. It was worth every second!
Can You Still Enjoy Chocolate Even if You’re Trying to Cut Back on Sugar?
So, you’re a health-conscious person with lots of diet and wellness goals. Maybe you even have diabetes, or you’re on a specific dietary plan, like the FODMAP diet. Can you still enjoy chocolate?
The answer is yes; you just have to be mindful of how you do it.
Here are our top tips:
- Find a great alternative. It’s easier to change your habits if you can find a sugar-free chocolate product that tastes great. Because of that, we recommend finding an excellent sugar-free chocolate alternative to use in your daily life. Our 5 Sparrows Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate drink mix is perfect for mixing into your morning coffee, enjoying in a frappe or blended drink, or even using as an ingredient in lots of yummy, sugar-free chocolate desserts – like our salted caramel peanut butter protein balls.
- Enjoy your chocolate wisely. With chocolate, as with all things, timing and quantity are essential. We recommend picking the times of the day that chocolate will make you happiest or feel like the biggest treat. For example, you can enjoy a scoop of Stevia-sweetened Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate in your morning cup or save your indulgence for a sweet dessert after dinner. Being intentional about when and how you consume chocolate will help keep the ritual special.
- Adopt other healthy habits. A rising tide lifts all boats. Make sure you’re incorporating other healthy habits, like exercise, healthy, well-rounded meals, and good mental health practices into your daily life. You’ll smash your health goals and feel great in the process.
While cutting sugar can be tough, these tips can help. Remember to be kind to yourself and be patient as you adopt new habits. Lasting change takes time, but it’s worth it when you find yourself feeling healthy and full of energy – without those dreaded sugar hangovers.
If you slip along the way, don’t beat yourself up. Instead, start fresh the next day and keep your health goals top of mind. Our delicious, sugar-free products are always here to help you find delicious moments each day, without sabotaging your health and wellness goals.
We Make Chocolate You Can Enjoy Again
Here at 5 Sparrows, we’re firm believers in finding pleasure in the little things – because they're not little. They're the things that fill up our lives with meaning.
Our mission is to help people create that in their lives with our products. After all, we believe you’re the hero in your own story – we’re just here to help you write it.
Learn more about our Sugar-Free Dark Chocolate coffee creamer or our team now, or head to our online store to buy your new favorite sugar-free chocolate.