By Jarrod Agosta, Dietitian and Nutritionist

There is nothing wrong with enjoying a sweet treat around the Easter period. Chocolate is enjoyed by most children and adults alike, and for many would be considered one of life’s great pleasures.  For most people, asking them to give up chocolate would be like asking them to jump out of an plane: it may be enjoyable for some, but most would not be keen on the idea!

It is common knowledge that chocolate should be a treat or considered a “sometimes food”, so the question is how much of a good thing is too much?

Nutritionally speaking, chocolate is energy dense but not very nutrient dense. Chocolate contains good quantities of the main macronutrients (carbohydrate/fats/protein) but it offers little other nutritional value in regards to vitamins and minerals. Secondly, it is very high in sugar and often high in the bad kind of fats (saturated) that we should aim to reduce in our diets to maintain good health.

So does that mean you should never eat chocolate?

Of course not! The components that make chocolate unhealthy in large quantities (sugar and saturated fats) are also the components that make it delicious and give it that melt in your mouth quality that is so palatable. The key advice regarding chocolate, particularly around Easter time, is the same standard nutrition advice that most people are already aware of: everything in moderation.

You may have previously heard information such as dark chocolate is a better option because of the potential benefits of antioxidants, or that white chocolate is much worse for you because of a higher fat content. So which chocolate should you choose if you want to make a better choice this Easter?


Dark chocolate is higher in antioxidants (flavanols) and there is some promise that it could be beneficial in lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, we need to take this information with a grain of salt as the evidence is limited and in some instances was conducted by the food manufacturers themselves! Despite some differences in macronutrient composition, all chocolate can be high in sugar, saturated fat or combinations of both.

At the end of the day, it is the quantity of chocolate you consume is going to have the greatest impact on your health.

Given that we should be considering chocolate a treat and a “sometimes” food, my advice is to go with your favourite – you are going to get more pleasure out of eating something you enjoy rather than eating something less appealing simply because of a small perceived health benefit.  An occasional few squares from your preferred block, or half a chocolate bar, or a few small Easter eggs are okay to incorporate into a healthy, well-balanced diet.

What is Diabetic chocolate and is it a better choice if I have Diabetes?

Diabetic chocolate often has lower levels of sugar compared to regular chocolate, with the missing sweetness made up by using a combination of natural or artificial sweeteners. However, these products may not be as enjoyable as the real thing and they can still be very high in saturated fat which is not good for overall health.

My advice would be that if you find a Diabetic chocolate that you enjoy then that’s okay, but the same guidelines in regards to quantities still apply (see above). Alternatively, regular chocolate for someone with Diabetes is acceptable too assuming that the portion remains small (1-2 squares) and that your Doctor, Dietitian or Diabetes Educator is able to assist with managing your requirements.

So this Easter time enjoy a sweet treat with your friends and family, but keep in mind that chocolate is a “sometimes food” and should be eaten accordingly. And for the record, I can’t go past a Twirl bar occasionally as my go to indulgent choice.

Happy Easter!