Chocolate: Friend or Foe

By Heather Legg

I think I probably eat some chocolate every day. I love it. Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, high end and a good old Hershey bar. For some, however, chocolate just doesn’t work. There can be a few reasons why, whether it’s an allergy to the milk in the chocolate or the nuts used in the factory, or maybe a sensitivity to the caffeine in the chocolate. Perhaps this piece will help you if you suffer from any of these and are still searching for the perfect bite of chocolate.

First off, obviously milk chocolate contains milk, does dark chocolate? I recently came across an article discussing this very point. Yes, dark chocolate does contain milk; it is the cocoa content that is higher to give it its darker, more strong flavor. And just like milk chocolate, the milk is usually cow’s milk. There are some dairy free manufacturer’s out there, and you can find some of them in health food stores or higher end grocers, or order on line. Be careful though, and check to see if the chocolate is made in a shared facility/on shared equipment with milk if that is a factor for you. Some of these manufacturer’s maintain a dairy free plant, while others just have some dairy free products. The above site has a good list of places to check.

As for nuts, sure you can buy chocolate without nuts pretty easily, but again, you need to be wary of shared facilities and shared equipment. Again, there are some brands you can buy in your regular markets that are safe; you may have to search harder for others. I was told Hershey’s non-nut chocolates are made in a nut free plant, I am not completely sure of that, but here is some good information from Hershey’s regarding their allergen policy.

You can look into places like Vermont Nut Free Chocolates that offer chocolates completely peanut and tree nut free. Vermont nut free offers a large selection of fun shaped chocolate and milk, dark and white chocolates along with truffles and other products.

Sometimes if you have a caffeine allergy/sensitivity, chocolate can affect you as well. Dark chocolate has more caffeine than milk, about three times as much. An ounce of milk chocolate has about the amount of caffeine as a cup of decaf coffee. White chocolate has no or very trace amounts of caffeine, as it is not really chocolate. Unfortunately, you can’t get caffeine free dark or milk chocolate, but the amounts really are quite low. If you feel you are still affected by the caffeine in chocolate, try the white, it may satisfy you without bothering you with caffeine.

Like I said, I think I eat chocolate every day. I think it’s good for the soul. Not if you are allergic to its ingredients, though. With these sites, you may be able to find something that works for you even if you have some trouble with chocolate. Best of luck and I think hear my chocolate calling me…

1 Comment »

Sarah:

I’m surprised that you didn’t mention soy as in regards to chocolate. People who have a soy allergy cannot enjoy chocolate anymore because it is in virtually ALL chocolate, usually in the form of lecithin. A company called Enjoy Life does make a soy-free chocolate chip that I have found at my local health food store…but otherwise all chocolate has it. Its sad, as I used to enjoy eating it. I think I miss the Hershey Kisses and miniatures the most…

Hershey’s Cocoa is soy free last time I bought some so one can still make chocolate cake, one just have to bake it from scratch.

December 4th, 2011 | 5:29 pm
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