Chocolate Allergens - Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Soy Free Chocolate
Let’s discuss food allergies and whether or not chocolate could be a trigger.
Cocoa is the Main Ingredient
Before we jump into the most common allergies, we should start with cocoa since it’s the main ingredient in unsweetened cocoa products and high-quality chocolate. If you’re allergic to cocoa, you must avoid all chocolate, plain and simple.
Gluten Free Chocolate
A gluten allergy or sensitivity is a reaction to proteins present in grains, such as rye, barley, and wheat. Cocoa is naturally gluten-free. Plus, high-quality dark chocolate that is made from cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar is also gluten-free.
What you need to watch out for are commercial chocolates that include 10-15 additional ingredients, as well as chocolates snacks that mix in foods like pretzels, cookie crumbles, and crispies.
Dairy Free Chocolate
Most dark chocolate is dairy free. However one should carefully inspect the label to ensure that the chocolate does not contain any dairy ingredients to be safe, as it can still cause issues for those with severe milk allergies.
Just because a dark chocolate bar does not contain milk, does not mean it is allergy free. Many chocolate makers use shared equipment to produce both milk and dark chocolate bars, and often dark chocolate bars that are dairy free, may still contain traces of milk. If you have a truly severe milk allergy as opposed to lactose intolerance, or want to avoid non-vegan products, most chocolate should be avoided because of the shared equipment use.
Milk, white, and ruby chocolates all contain milk or milk powders, and must be avoided completely. If you have a dairy allergy or are vegan, and have a craving for milk chocolate, look for milk chocolates that are made with non-dairy milk alternatives like coconut, almond, and oat milk.
Soy Free Chocolate
Pure cocoa powder, 100% dark chocolate bars, and most high-quality dark chocolate - that only includes cocoa solids, cocoa butter, and sugar - do not contain soy.
However, keep in mind that soy lecithin is a commonly used emulsifier in chocolate because it helps keep cocoa solids and cocoa butter from separating. Always check the list of ingredients before taking your first bite.
Is Chocolate Nut Free and Egg Free?
Nut Free Chocolate
Cocoa is a seed found inside a fruit, so it will not set off a nut allergy. But, keep in mind that nuts are a common ingredient in chocolate snacks, and chocolate may be manufactured in a facility that handles nuts. Make sure to carefully read all warning labels.
Chocolates to Avoid If You Are Allergic to Eggs
Chocolate does not contain eggs. However in rare instances there are chocolates that use egg lecithin as an emulsifier and may need to be avoided, as well as chocolates with a cream or fondant filling, like the popular Cadbury Creme Egg. Additionally, if there are marshmallows, fudge, icing and frosting, or chocolate sauce present in chocolate or chocolate snacks, this can cause a reaction for people with an egg allergy.
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