Dark chocolate: Am I allergic?

Dark chocolate might trigger symptoms in some highly sensitive individuals. An actual allergy to cocoa which is the main component in chocolate is considered clinically rare. The root cause might be the variety of ingredients present in chocolate products including the dark variants.

Is it an allergic reaction or intolerance?

When it comes to an actual food allergy, the body wrongly identifies a protein in a food as a threat. The immune system responds by releasing antibodies along with histamine that triggers a variety of undesirable effects.

Certain foods can also instigate unpleasant reactions that do not involve the immune system which is called as sensitivity or intolerance. An intolerance is generally less severe than an allergic reaction but can still cause discomfort.


An intolerance is generally less severe than an allergic reaction but can still cause discomfort.

Close look on pure chocolate

Pure chocolate stems from cocoa beans which are seeds from a small tropical tree. These seeds are fermented, dried and roasted to create chocolate.

The 2 primary components in chocolate, cocoa and cocoa butter are separated during the manufacturing. Cocoa includes the active ingredients of chocolate along with stimulants theobromine and caffeine as well as its flavoring compounds.

Cocoa butter is the fat which provides pure chocolate its texture and richness. An allergy to either components are considered uncommon, but have been reported. The individual might also be intolerant to theobromine or caffeine which triggers an adverse reaction.

Ingredients of dark chocolate

The commercial dark chocolate variants include numerous additives that are intended to augment its taste, shelf life, texture, productivity and handling qualities. Most of these are known as either allergens or intolerance triggers.

The ideal brands only include soy lecithin, sugar and vanilla but the low-quality variants might include dairy products, egg-derived lecithin, gelatin, soy, corn syrup or other varieties of sweeteners.

Remember that cross-contamination in the facility can also result to the presence of trace amounts of nuts, eggs, gluten, peanuts or other allergens. The low-quality varieties of dark chocolate might include preservatives, emulsifiers and antioxidants that can trigger reactions among highly sensitive individuals.


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