Everyone needs potassium in their diet, as it supports muscle contraction, regulates blood pressure, and helps maintain intracellular fluid balance. However, people suffering from kidney disease may be put on a low-potassium diet by their doctor, as their kidneys don't remove the excess as well as those of healthy people.
These can be challenging diets to design and stick to, as followers must know the potassium content of common foods and stay within an intake limit recommended by their doctor.
Chocolate is enjoyed by people globally, but can those on a low-potassium diet safely enjoy the occasional treat?
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Is Chocolate High or Low in Potassium?
Like cocoa beans, chocolate is high in potassium. However, this varies with variety and brand, with dark chocolate containing the most.
How Much Potassium Is in Chocolate?
Since those on a low-potassium diet should take a maximum of 200 mg of potassium per day, they should be especially careful of highly processed chocolate, as it's often high in potassium.
Is Chocolate Good for You?
Dark chocolate is very nutritious; it contains a lot of fiber, which aids digestion and prevents digestive system inflammation.
It also contains protein and healthy fats, primarily oleic acid, which may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
Chocolate, especially dark, contains the antioxidants polyphenols, flavanols, and catechins that help flush out free radicals, preventing cellular oxidative damage and reducing your risk of diabetes and cancer. They also reduce inflammation.
Studies show that chocolate can help lower bad cholesterol levels and raise good, reducing insulin resistance and your risk of developing diabetes and heart disease.
Some studies also show that antioxidants in chocolate prevent sun damage to your skin, improve blood flow, and increase skin density and hydration.
Can You Get Too Much Potassium from Chocolate?
Although it's high in potassium, it would be exceedingly difficult to get too much potassium from eating chocolate. The American Heart Association recommends a maximum intake of 4,700 mg of potassium per day, and that would mean eating about four dark chocolate bars.
However, those on a low-potassium diet should ensure they stay within the daily limit their doctor recommends.
Is Chocolate Milk High in Potassium?
A cup of chocolate milk contains 417 mg of potassium, so those with kidney problems should avoid it.
A cup of homemade hot chocolate contains even more, with 492 mg, around 14% of the recommended daily intake.
However, both are nutritious, containing protein, phosphorus, calcium, and vitamin D.
Is Chocolate Syrup High in Potassium?
Two tablespoons of chocolate syrup contain 87.4 mg of potassium, so it's safe for most on a low-potassium diet when used in moderation.
However, it's high in sugar, so don't add too much to your coffee.
Although dark chocolate is high in potassium, milk and white contain less, so they should be safe for most on a kidney-friendly diet. However, it's always best to seek medical advice when planning on incorporating them into your diet.
Don't know which foods are high in potassium? Read our article, 15 Best Food Sources of Potassium. We also have a guide to this important mineral: Potassium 101: All You Need To Know About Potassium.