What is Chocolate Allergy?

Cocoa allergy is very rare in humans; however, chocolate allergy is very common. The truth is that many people who think they are allergic to chocolate are actually allergic to one or more of the ingredients in chocolate.

While most of us enjoy the great taste of chocolate without really paying attention to what’s inside, some have to be extremely careful in the same situation. Approximately 2% of the world population suffers from food allergies. Their bodies reject certain substances. You may be allergic to almost any type of food. For example, soy allergy, hazelnut allergy, milk allergy… Have you ever heard of chocolate allergy? This is possible; however, it is almost nonexistent in today’s medical literature. In other words, when people think they are allergic to chocolate, they are actually allergic to some of the ingredients in the chocolate. In most commercially available chocolate, a range of additives such as milk, nut, gluten, corn, soy or caffeine are mixed with cocoa. If you are allergic to milk, corn, soy, or any of the ingredients mentioned above, you may develop an allergy when you eat chocolate.

If you have a food allergy, your immune system will respond incorrectly to that food. The immune system assumes that the proteins in these foods are foreign bodies and as a result produces antibodies called immunoglobulin E (IgE) to attack these food proteins. These antibodies attach to a type of white blood cell called mast cells and release certain chemicals when they come into contact with related food proteins. Allergic reactions in the body occur due to the release of these chemicals and give different symptoms such as headache, vomiting, diarrhea and urticaria. A severe allergic reaction known as anaphylactic shock can be life-threatening and can result in death if not promptly intervened.

Possible Causes of Chocolate Allergy:

While chocolate is produced, cocoa beans are fermented, roasted, ground, mixed with additives such as corn syrup, milk, soy, hazelnut, food coloring. Some of the additives that cause chocolate allergy are;


When people with lactose intolerance or milk allergy eat chocolate, their bodies may react. This allergy is caused by milk added to chocolate. If you are one of these people, you can try dark chocolates with high cocoa and less milk and sugar or special milk-free chocolates.


Soy lecithin is an additive added to keep chocolate solid at room temperature, but soy has the ability to trigger allergic reactions in some people.


Chocolate bars are often filled with peanuts, hazelnuts, and even some chocolate bars with peanut butter. When people with peanut and nut allergies eat them, they may experience severe allergic reactions, up to anaphylaxis. However, sometimes even hazelnut and peanut-free chocolates can cause allergic reactions because chocolate manufacturers use the same production line to make a variety of chocolates. In the USA, the Food and Drug Administration states that this should be reported for chocolate produced in a factory that also processes hazelnuts.


High fructose corn syrup is widely used by chocolate manufacturers. In some production places, corn itself is used as well as corn syrup. People with corn allergies will develop an allergy when consuming chocolate. The FDA has required chocolate manufacturers to report on the label if corn has been added to their products. Generally, white chocolates contain corn if you have a corn allergy, be careful with them.


Chocolate contains small amounts of caffeine. For example; About 30 grams of chocolate contains only six milligrams of caffeine. Dark chocolate contains a little more. For this reason, people who are hypersensitive to caffeine may develop allergic symptoms such as headache after eating chocolate.

Wheat and Gluten:

It is added to chocolate as a binder by wheat and gluten producers. While gluten is an important source of food intolerance, wheat is also an important allergen. It is often added to chocolate-based products produced on a large scale. These products are mostly not exactly chocolate, but chocolate biscuit-style snacks. According to FDA regulations, wheat and gluten containing products must be specified.


People with a family history of hives, eczema, rash, or hay fever are more likely to have a food allergy in their children. To be safer, if you have a family history of allergies, you should avoid giving your baby chocolate until at least 1 year old. However, chocolate allergy can occur at any time in a person’s life, from childhood to adulthood.

Symptoms of Chocolate Allergy:

* Heartburn, burning

* Confusion and irritability


* Respiratory problems

* Rectal itching



It has been observed that chocolate allergy can even trigger asthma attacks in asthmatic patients. It can also cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock in cases of severe chocolate allergy.

The symptoms of anaphylaxis are as follows;

* Heart palpitations

* Vomiting and nausea

* Fainting and loss of consciousness

* Dizziness

* Low blood pressure

* Diarrhea and stomach cramps

* Wheezing and shortness of breath

* Difficulty breathing due to airway inflammation

Diagnosing Chocolate Allergy

Your doctor may do a food intolerance test to determine the exact allergen. In this test, the patient is asked to avoid chocolate for a certain period of time. Then the doctor gives the patient a piece of pure chocolate to eat. This chocolate is devoid of additives and is chocolate in its purest form. If the patient experiences allergic reactions after this stage, the patient’s chocolate and cocoa allergy is approved. However, in the absence of allergic symptoms, the elimination of different additives should be done step by step. Skin and blood tests are also performed to test whether there is a chocolate allergy. In the skin test, food extracts are injected into the skin and allergic reactions are expected to appear. Blood test, RAST (radioallergosorbent test), is the testing of blood for antibodies developed against common food allergies.


Related Articles