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Q&A with Nutritionist Susan Tomassini

Graduated in Nutrition Science from the British College of Nutrition and Health in London, Susan Tomassini has extensive experience in the field of nutritional therapy. In her clinical practice, she proposes a pathway that through nutritional re-education in the broadest sense can encompass the entire lifestyle of patients. Here are her takes on the most frequently asked questions concerning our 70% less sugars chocolate range. 

Click here to watch the video interview!



1. What makes the -70% sugar line so innovative?

Consumers are increasingly careful about their sugar consumption, as well as looking for natural and healthy products. It’s an established fact that too much sugar is linked to many diseases, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and tooth decay. The -70% sugar line has managed to reduce the sugar content by 70% compared to the standard recipe - without sacrificing taste and texture - thanks to the addition of a key ingredient, chicory root. Chicory root is made up of a type of fibre called inulin (also known as fructooligosaccharide or FOS) and, although this type of fibre is technically a type of sugar and therefore has a sweet taste, it has a has minimal impact, or zero effect on blood sugar levels. Furthermore, inulin acts as a prebiotic that nourishes intestinal bacteria, which promotes better digestion and has other health benefits.

2. Can you explain the difference between the usual sugar substitutes and the vegetable fibre used in this line?

Sweeteners such as maltitol, erythritol and other sugar alcohols are often used in the production of low-carbohydrate or 'sugar-free' foods because they are like sugar in terms of taste and texture but contain fewer calories. However, even though these products can be defined as 'sugar-free' (or 'with less sugar'), they can significantly increase blood sugar levels because these sweeteners have a glycemic index very similar to sugar. Also, in some people the consumption of sugar alcohols can cause digestive symptoms such as gas, cramps, and diarrhea. The sugars of the -70% sugar line, on the other hand, have little effect on blood sugar levels because most of it comes from chicory root (also known as inulin), a prebiotic fibre with a very low glycemic index that has the added advantage of providing other health benefits for weight management, improved digestion, and immune function.


3. What are the benefits of this vegetable fibre?

Inulin is a type of plant fibre - the main type in chicory root from the -70 % sugar line. It offers numerous health benefits, including cholesterol reduction, diabetes control, weight management and the regulation of blood sugar. The inulin in chicory root fibre is also a prebiotic, a kind of fibre that nourishes and promotes the growth of healthy probiotic bacteria in our gut. This kind of fibre is not broken down in the small intestine, but travels to the lower intestine, where it feeds the beneficial gut bacteria that live there. These friendly bacteria convert inulin and other prebiotics into short-chain fatty acids, which nourish the cells of the colon and provide various other health benefits, including strengthening the immune system.


4. What does is the prebiotic effect?

A healthy gut microflora with optimal levels of beneficial bacteria is crucial for good digestion and in turn, overall good health. One of the best ways to increase the numbers of healthy bacteria in the gut is to feed them with prebiotics - a form of plant fibre that stimulates their growth – like the chicory root in the -70% sugar line. Several scientific studies suggest that the addition of prebiotics such as inulin from chicory root fibre improves digestion and promotes overall intestinal health.


5. Who would you recommend the -70% sugar line to?

I highly recommend the -70% sugar line to patients with diabetes 2 due to its favorable effect on blood sugar levels and hepatic fat accumulation, as well as the high vegetable fibre content which helps to control blood sugar and reduce sugar cravings. I also recommend the -70% sugar line to anyone wishing to improve their intestinal health. Digestive problems are widespread, but most can be alleviated by improving their gut flora through the intake of dietary fibre and prebiotics - such as those of the -70% sugar line. Finally, I would recommend the -70% sugar line to all my patients who simply wish to regulate their cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and improve their Immune health. If indulging in a moderate amount of delicious chocolate from the -70% sugar line can help, why not?


6. Can the -70% sugar line help with weight management?

Yes, by helping keep blood sugar low. When blood sugar rises (as often happens when eating 'classic' chocolate), insulin is produced, which is known as the 'fat-producing hormone'. Since the -70% sugar line does not raise blood sugar levels this can help considerably in weight management, especially when combined with other healthy eating habits.


7. Can the -70% line help reduce cravings for sweets?

Yes. The important thing is to have treats that taste sweet but don't raise your blood sugar or cause more sugar cravings. The -70% sugar line is sweetened with chicory root fibre which not only does not raise blood sugar levels, but the high fibre content creates a feeling of "fullness" that helps eliminate sugar cravings. Therefore, ending a meal with a little chocolate from the -70% sugar line can be an excellent strategy to reduce subsequent temptations.


8. Besides the digestive ones, what are some of the other benefits of inulin from chicory root?

Inulin acts as a prebiotic, which means it feeds the beneficial bacteria in the gut. These helpful bacteria, in turn, play an important role in reducing inflammation, fighting harmful bacteria, and improving the absorption of minerals such as calcium and magnesium. Inulin can also improve several markers for cardiovascular health, including cholesterol and triglyceride levels.


9. Usually diabetics, both type 1 and type 2, are told to control their sugar intake or even eliminate it completely. But does this really mean that they can never eat sugar?

Or is there a way for them to enjoy a sweet indulgence every now and then? Being diabetic doesn't mean you can never eat sugar. However, it does mean that you need to be aware of hidden sugars and what percentage of your daily calories should come from sugar. This involves reading food labels, choosing high-fibre, low-sugar carbohydrates, and making food choices that better manage blood sugar levels. The -70% sugar line, which contains fibre-rich chicory root, together with a very low sugar content, meets all these requirements. Therefore, diabetics - and anyone who simply wants to reduce their sugar consumption - can enjoy their favourite chocolate without the risk of the negative effect on blood sugar usually associated with eating sweets. Additionally, in the case of dark chocolate, a moderate amount can also bring significant health benefits, including regulating blood sugar. This is because of its high cacao content which is packed with powerful antioxidants that help the body use its insulin more efficiently - which in turn helps lower blood sugar levels naturally. Consequently, it helps reduce the insulin resistance that we see in type 2 diabetes.


10. What is the best advice for people with diabetes who love chocolate?

How much chocolate from the -70% sugar line is considered an optimal amount for them? The added sugar in chocolate counts as 'free sugars' that we need to keep an eye on if we are at risk of diabetes or living with diabetes. Choosing the -70% sugar line, (with 70% less sugar than the standard recipe), and enjoying it in moderation, is the best solution to reap all the health benefits of chocolate, while minimizing its effects on blood sugar. In practice (considering that the -70% sugar line contains between 6g - 14g of sugar per 100g of chocolate - depending on the choice) this means approximately 30g of chocolate from the -70% sugar line per day (for example 15g after lunch and dinner). Furthermore, chocolate with nuts, such as the Dark chocolate with Hazelnut bar of the -70 % sugar line, is an ideal choice due to the satiating effect of hazelnuts as well as their ability to mitigate blood sugar levels.