Food allergies of any kind are very uncommon; studies suggest that only two percent of the population is really allergic to a food of any kind. Most people who think they experience from chocolate allergies are most likely allergic to one of the numerous additives found in chocolate, such as milk or soy.
Just because you can’t eat chocolate without getting an upset stomach, you don’t necessarily suffer from chocolate allergies. True chocolate allergies occur when a person is allergic to coca, the chief ingredient in chocolate, and any adverse reaction may simply be the result of contact with impurities found in the cocoa, such as rat droppings or insect parts, as the majority of cocoa is imported under less stringent regulatory practices. A nice chocolate desert is sounding less scrumptious right now, isn’t it?
Chocolate allergies, while in no way common, are no myth. Even if your reaction is the result of an allergy to one of the many additives found in chocolate, it is best if you know exactly what is causing it. No matter how heavenly a piece of chocolate sounds, no food is to die for.
Maybe It’s The Nuts
Nuts are one of the most common sources of allergic reactions in foods, and many chocolate candies have nuts, so you may want to consider that if you believe you suffer from chocolate allergies. Soy and corn are also two common ingredients in chocolate, and they also are more common sources of food allergies. Peanuts are the most common allergen followed by tree nuts such as pecans and walnuts, but another common allergen is dairy, and since milk is another main ingredient in the production of chocolate, any perceived chocolate allergies may simply derive from an intolerance to dairy products.
The most common sense approach you can take if you have an adverse reaction when eating chocolate is to consult a physician who can take a blood or skin test to determine if you are allergic. While true chocolate allergies may be uncommon, any food allergy is serious business. Allergic reactions to food may result in only mild discomfort, such as a cough or a runny nose, and asthma sufferers may suffer attacks. But a more serious attack could lead to anaphylactic shock, which can be deadly.
In addition, people can have sensitivities to a particular food additive or substance added to foods that are not part of its basic raw ingredients. Additive sensitivities are less common than whole food allergies. Food additives that are commonly used in chocolate products include:Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA) and butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT). Common preservatives that may be added to some chocolate products. Tartrazine. A yellow food coloring (also known as FD&C yellow number five) that may be added to some chocolate products. Nickel. Nickel is commonly found in chocolate, nuts, beer, tea, coffee and apricots. Nickel can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive people.
Other Additives That Can Cause Chocolate Allergies
There are many other common chocolate additives including flavorings like mint, dyes for hard candy coating and other products that may cause reactions. FDA regulations do not require that flavorings, dyes or other additives are indicated on food labels.
There are also a number of chemicals commonly found in chocolate that can also be blamed for chocolate allergies. Some of the commonly reported side effects of chocolate, like headaches, may be caused by a reaction to one or more of these chemicals and NOT due to an allergic reaction.
The higher quality the chocolate, the fewer additives will be found, so if you consume a cheaper candy bar and get sick, while more expensive chocolate treats cause no reaction, the likelihood is that you had a reaction to one of the additives.
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