Chocolate brownies that won’t send your blood sugar soaring

With this brownie recipe you can satisfy your chocolate craving and give your body nutrients it needs—without causing a large glucose spike.


Chocolate isn’t inherently unhealthy. In fact, pure cocoa has very little sugar, lots of fiber, and a huge amount of antioxidants. The metabolic risks of a chocolate habit come not from cocoa itself but from the copious sugar typically added to it.

Processed chocolate treats often have more sugar than all other ingredients combined. A standard 43-gram Hershey’s bar, for example, contains about 25 grams of sugar, 21 of which are added. Similarly, a 39-gram pouch of Swiss Miss hot chocolate has 23 grams of added sugar; and a 26-gram Betty Crocker brownie serves up 15 grams. In other words, your typical brownie may be almost 60% sugar.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Levels dataset indicates that most chocolatey desserts prompt a significant increase in blood glucose. Members logging “chocolate milkshake” experienced an average spike of 55 mg/dL; “chocolate donut” spurred a 40 mg/dL spike; and “brownie” sent glucose up by an average of 33 mg/dL.

Still, it’s not all bad news: members logging “90% dark chocolate” experienced an average rise of just 14 mg/dL, a fairly modest response. That’s because a higher percentage of cocoa necessarily means a lower percentage of sugar and, therefore, more stable glucose levels.

“Chocolate absolutely can be part of a healthy, antioxidant-rich diet,” says Levels co-founder and chief medical officer Dr. Casey Means. “The key is to incorporate pure, organic cocoa into low-sugar recipes or buy chocolate that is 88% cocoa or greater. As a former milk chocolate addict, I can personally attest to the fact that if you slowly move towards darker chocolates—meaning more percentage cocoa—you will start to crave the less sweet versions!”

As an example of a metabolically-friendly chocolate treat, Casey shares a recipe for brownies that have tons of flavor with zero added sugar.

“Instead of cane sugar, this recipe uses allulose, which gives you that sweetness without a big blood sugar spike,” she says. “I love these brownies because they’re delicious and use several ingredients that support metabolic health.”

Here are some of those ingredients and their metabolic perks.

Follow along as Casey bakes her brownies in the video above, or scroll down for the full recipe.


  • 1 cup of fine almond flour
  • ¼ cup + 2 tbsp of non-alkalized cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup of 100% allulose
  • Two eggs (ideally organic and pasture-raised)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp of cinnamon
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup almond butter (or other nut butter)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ½ cup stevia-sweetened dark chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans


(inspired by Chocolate Covered Katie)

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Line an 8-inch, oven-safe dish with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine almond flour, cocoa powder, allulose, eggs, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, coconut oil, almond butter, water, and vanilla extract. Stir to combine.
  • Add ¼ cup pecans and ¼ cup chocolate chips, and continue to stir until well mixed.
  • Spread batter into the pan and smooth with a spatula.
  • Top with the remaining pecans and chocolate chips.
  • Bake for 20 minutes or until a fork can go in and come out clean.
  • Remove from oven and let cool.

Click here to download a PDF of all four Levels Kitchen recipes!