Common Reactions to Chocolate Allergy

If you suspect you have a chocolate allergy, you may be surprised to hear very few people are actually allergic to chocolate. A true allergy to a food involves a very specific response to a food, resulting from your body's identification of the food as harmful to the body. Because your body perceives the food in question as harmful, your body releases antibodies that in turn cause your body to release histamines and other chemicals in response to the assumed attack on your system. A true allergy to chocolate will result in either a runny nose, itching eyes, throat irritation, a rash, hives, difficulty breathing or anaphylactic shock.

Many people experience a sensitivity to chocolate. While this might seem like a matter of symantics, a sensitivity really does differ from a true allergy. If you experience digestive problems, you may be sensitive to either the lactose, gluten or soy in the form of chocolate consumed or a sensitivity to the caffeine in the chocolate. If you experience headaches after eating chocolate, you are probably sensitive to the caffeine or the sulfates present in the chocolate. This is referred to as a food intolerance, which differs to an allergic reaction in several ways.

A true chocolate allergy will be triggered by even a tiny amount of chocolate, as allergic reactions build upon one another. If you simply have a chocolate intolerance, you can probably handle small amounts of chocolate without experiencing negative allergy symptoms. The majority of people who think they have a chocolate allergy actually have an intolerance or an allergy to an ingredient in the chocolate. Actual allergies to cacao are extremely rare.

To find out if you are allergic to chocolate, you can ask your doctor for allergy tests. Tell him about the allergy symptoms you have experienced after eating chocolate and look for other foods that may trigger the same reactions. This will help you identify other possible allergies as you check for sensitivity to chocolate.

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