Food intolerance in children: Chocolate

Many children consider chocolate as a favorite and often associated with birthdays, holidays and other celebrations. It is important to note that chocolate products often contain various ingredients where some are beneficial but others are capable of triggering an adverse reaction or intolerance.

Remember that food intolerance and allergies are quite common among children and can be misdiagnosed as other conditions. Once you notice symptoms after a child eats chocolate or other foods, a doctor should be consulted regarding possible causes and treatment options.

What is food intolerance?

Intolerance to certain foods is quite common among children and can persist into adulthood. Remember that food intolerance is quite similar to food allergies. The only difference is the degree of the symptoms.

When it comes to intolerance, the symptoms are often less severe than an allergic reaction. This is the reason why food intolerance is harder to diagnose since it mimics other conditions such as fatigue, mild infections and even indigestion. Diagnosing food intolerance can be complicated by the fact that children could not accurately describe the symptoms or communicate their discomfort.


The mild symptoms typically include skin rashes, nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, flatulence, cough, headache and runny nose.

Close look on chocolate intolerance

Chocolate intolerance is considered common among children since chocolate products often include a variety of ingredients that are capable of triggering gastrointestinal issues and low-grade allergic reactions. The typical ingredients present in chocolate goods include cocoa, sugar, milk, gluten, nuts, caffeine, food coloring as well as other additives.

As a result, it might not be the cocoa in chocolate responsible for causing the health issues, but might be toxins or fungi linked with nuts or an intolerance to dairy products. In addition, it is possible that the child is intolerant to more than just one ingredient. Take note that caffeine and high-fructose corn syrup is capable of triggering symptoms among children.

Indications of chocolate intolerance

The signs and symptoms of chocolate intolerance can range from mild to severe depending on the ingredients or components involved. The mild symptoms typically include skin rashes, nausea, stomach upset, fatigue, flatulence, cough, headache and runny nose.

As for severe symptoms, it includes hives, respiratory distress, burning sensation in the throat, puffiness of the mouth and around the face, dizziness, behavioral issues, anxiety, diarrhea and vomiting. In case the child seems confused or disoriented or experiences difficulty in breathing, it is vital to seek immediate medical attention.

Considerations to bear in mind

The individual should determine which ingredient or component in chocolate causes distress to the child and this is usually done with allergy testing. In case nuts are a possible cause, it is recommended to purchase chocolate that does not contain nuts and not produced in facilities that also produce products that contain nuts.

In case dairy is the issue, dark chocolate should be chosen that contains a high percentage of cocoa. In case cocoa is the cause, other sweet treats made out of stevia, honey or other natural sweeteners should be considered. Generally, the darker the chocolate, the more cocoa powder it contains.


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