Chocolate Allergy

An allergy to pure chocolate is rare; most chocolate allergies occur because of reactions to additives.

Although many people believe they are allergic to chocolate, true allergies to chocolate – specifically, the cocoa it's made from – are actually rare. In addition, many reactions to chocolate are not true allergies, but are rather intolerances to other ingredients in the chocolate, such as milk, nuts, gluten, corn syrup, dyes, or other additives. Alternately, people may be sensitive to the naturally-occuring chemicals in chocolate like caffeine, theobromine, or phnylethylamine.

Whatever the case may be, common reactions to chocolate in those who are affected include headache, heartburn, skin rashes, and breathing problems. Sensitivity to chocolate ingredients can also trigger asthma attacks.

One reason for the prevalence of reactions to chocolate is that a good part of mainstream chocolate products in the United States contain several additives; it's these that people react to. The purest forms of chocolate contain cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, sugar, maybe vanilla – and nothing else. Mass produced chocolate, on the other hand, is often primarily composed of the additives mentioned above (corn syrup, dyes, etc.).

If an allergist has diagnosed you with an actual cocoa allergy, of course you need to stay away altogether.

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