People may be sensitive to proteins contained in food. These reactions are known as food allergies. These reactions manifest when people consume the food. The most common allergens in foods are the proteins present in cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, wheat, soy, fish, shellfish and tree nuts. Chocolate can also cause allergies and although rare it can cause serious problems for hypersensitivity people.
Chocolate Allergy Symptoms
Some of the common symptoms observed in chocolate allergy are: red rashes, with welts, that is usually itchy, swollen throat or swollen areas of the body, wheezing, sneezing, chest tightness, problem with breathing, trouble swallowing, vomiting, abdominal cramps, heartburn, diarrhea, pale or red color to the face and body, asthma triggered by the allergy to chocolate, hives, and even anaphylaxis in extreme sensitive people.
Treatments for chocolate allergy do not differ from those used for other food allergies. Antihistamines, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and epinephrine are all available drugs to alleviate symptoms. Of course, avoidance will prevent the reactions to chocolate.
What Causes Chocolate Allergy?
The major component of chocolate is cocoa. Cocoa is a food product grown in tropical areas. People allergic to chocolate may react to allergens (proteins) present in cocoa. However, the cause of chocolate allergy is not so simple since chocolate may contain many other allergens derived from its manufacturing process.
To make chocolate, cocoa is fermented and this process may produce allergens not initially present. Also, chocolate and chocolate products may contain milk, soy, gluten, corn syrup, and different types of nuts and fruits. Any of these additional ingredients to chocolate and chocolate products may contain allergens that can cause allergy reactions. If you have an allergy to a chocolate bar it may be one of its ingredients that is causing the allergy and not the cocoa proteins.
To avoid the discomfort of chocolate allergy symptoms, the patient should avoid chocolate and food that contains it. Obviously chocolate bars contain cocoa as its main component and should be avoided. But there are other food products that may contain chocolate and people do not know. Some bakery products may contain cocoa for flavor and for textural properties (cocoa fat is good for food processing). Certain cookies like Oreo contain chocolate. Puddings and other desserts may contain chocolate also. Read labels to know if a particular food have chocolate in its ingredient list.
As mentioned before, allergy to chocolate my be an allergic reaction to other components in chocolate (milk, wheat, gluten, peanuts, nuts, fruits, etc). If you are allergic to chocolate your doctor may order tests for allergy to many other food allergens.
American Academy of Allergy. Asthma, and Immunology. https://www.aaaai.org/
Jason Glaser (2006) .Food Allergies: First to know facts: Health matters, Capstone Press ISBN 0736863915, 9780736863919