Symptoms of intolerance to chocolate

Written by sidney johns
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Symptoms of intolerance to chocolate
Chocolate bars are made from roasted coco beans and other ingredients. (Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Knowing the signs of chocolate intolerance can assist in identifying allergies and defining illnesses. Chocolate is a favourite sweet concoction for many who indulge in its dark, rich flavour. Available in multiple forms, it is commercially available at many retail outlets, and is an ingredient in everything from restaurant food to soaps. Identifying the symptoms can assist in avoiding full-on allergic reactions.

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Mental Symptoms

An intolerance to chocolate can cause several mental displays of symptoms. For those who are intolerant, confusion or anxiety may occur within an hour of eating a coco-laden product. "Brain fog" (the inability to think clearly" may be accompanied by a headache. General irritability is also a possible symptom. Feeling anxious, nervous or impatient are signs that the body is not reacting normally to the chocolate. For these symptoms, the only cure is avoidance of products containing coco. Some persons may choose to deal with these symptoms, depending on the severity.

Digestive Symptoms

For those with an intolerance to chocolate, digestive issues may follow shortly after consumption. Nausea, or a feeling of wanting to vomit, is one of such symptoms. General discomfort or cramping may also occur in the stomach. In severe cases, diarrhoea or vomiting may follow. Indigestion or heartburn after eating chocolate also fall into this category. These symptoms of intolerance are treatable with over-the-counter medications. Some consumers may choose to continue eating chocolate and treating the symptoms if they are not severe. If these symptoms do not subside with recommended doses of medications, seek proper medical attention. Prolonged symptoms can be the sign of other medical issues.

Respiratory Symptoms

For those with an intolerance to chocolate, serious respiratory issues may arise following consumption. Wheezing, coughing and sneezing may occur within a short time of eating chocolate for those affected. This may range from slight to severe. More seriously respiratory issues may include swelling of air passages. This causes breathing to be restricted and can cause asphyxiation if left untreated. Seek immediate medical attention for any shortness of breath following the intake of coco products. Those who suffer only with sneezing and coughing may take over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications to treat the symptoms.

Other Possibilities

Because true intolerance or allergies to coco, what chocolate is made from, are rare, the symptoms occurring after consumption should be medically evaluated. Many times, the symptoms are not caused by coco or chocolate itself, but by other ingredients in the product. Milk sugars included in the chocolate making process will cause similar symptoms for those who are lactose intolerant. Nuts and nut oils are sometimes used in chocolate bars, causing reactions in those with allergies. Soy, milk, gluten and caffeine are also ingredients in some chocolate products.

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