Chocolate has been blamed for a range of adverse reactions including migraines, heartburn, cramps, swelling, allergy cough, itching, and hives. In the worst cases, someone can experience a life-threatening reaction called anaphylaxis. It is very serious, and for some people, the only way to avoid these problems is to avoid chocolate.
But… true chocolate allergies are quite rare. If you experience adverse symptoms after you eat chocolate, it is more likely that you are allergic to another ingredient in the chocolate, or that you are intolerant to chocolate.
NYC allergists agree that the “Big 8” food allergens are eggs, milk, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish. Several of these ingredients are very common in chocolate bars, cakes, brownies, puddings, etc. If you react when you eat chocolate, it is probable that you are allergic to one of these major allergens.
Another type of reaction to chocolate is an intolerance. An intolerance is a reaction of your gastrointestinal system rather than your immune system, and it is a reaction to an ingredient or chemical in the chocolate, rather than the protein in the chocolate. Some examples of the chemicals in chocolate are soy lecithin, tyramine, phenylethylamine, theobromine, caffeine, flavorings, and emulsifiers.
Drinking hot chocolate or eating a brownie is NOT the way to test for a chocolate allergy or intolerance. The only way (and the safe way) to diagnose a chocolate allergy is to be tested by an allergist or specialist in NYC. Your NY allergy doctor will also determine the best course of treatment for you.
If you are concerned about a chocolate allergy, the allergists at NY Allergy & Sinus Centers are here to help. NYASC has access to the latest testing & treatments and we offer seven convenient offices throughout NYC: Murray Hill, Midtown, Upper West Side, Chelsea, and Queens. We will help you find relief for your asthma, nasal and sinus problems, ENT (ear, nose, and throat) symptoms, respiratory allergies, and skin conditions. We see pediatric and adult patients. Please call 212-686-4448 for a convenient appointment.