Is a Chocolate Allergy a Real Allergy?
Chocolate is a source of pleasure for many of us, but for others it can be the cause of a severe allergy. Confusingly, the ingredients in chocolate make it hard to determine the direct allergy trigger, with a nut or milk allergy treatment possibly offering solutions. For anyone experiencing reactions to chocolate, Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center works in Atlanta and across Georgia to diagnose and treat difficult food allergies.
Can You Be Allergic to Chocolate?
While technically it is possible to be allergic to cacao (chocolate in its rawest form before processing), “chocolate allergy” is not common. Far more likely is that an ingredient in the chocolate product is the trigger for an allergic reaction. In fact, a study found that while self-reported chocolate allergies were prevalent in 0.5 to 0.7% in select populations, most cases were due to cross-contamination from milk, peanuts or tree nuts.
- Milk Allergy – Milk is a very common food allergy among young children, and is found in most chocolate products. Even some dark chocolates contain milk (and this fact is not always made clear to consumers).
- Peanut Allergy – Peanuts are a popular addition to many chocolate products. However, even if the chocolate item is a non-peanut treat, you should check if peanuts are processed at the same facility, as cross-contamination is possible.
- Tree Nut Allergy – Just as with peanuts, due to processing methods tree nuts like hazelnuts, almonds and cashews could be included in chocolate, or present in trace amounts.
Common Symptoms of a Food Allergy
If you experience an allergic reaction to milk, peanuts, tree nuts or even other substances like caffeine, soy, wheat or fruit, you may have some of the following symptoms.
- Rash or hives
- Shortness of breath
- Stomach pain
- Swelling of the lips, tongue or throat
- Sneezing and coughing
Chocolate Allergy Testing
Before a treatment for a chocolate allergy can be determined, it will be necessary to undergo food allergy testing. Skin prick allergy testing is the most common option, and will help determine whether chocolate itself is the issue, or if milk, peanut or tree nuts are to blame.
Chocolate Allergy Treatment Options
There are chocolate products that are dairy-free or nut-free and may be suitable for consumption. However, this won’t remove the risk of an allergic reaction from the problem food. After a consultation with an allergist, it may be possible to pursue a milk, peanut or tree nut allergy treatment that is based on desensitization. Oral immunotherapy treatment involves building tolerance to the allergen, and enables patients to eventually eat the food without any adverse reaction.
Get Treatment for a Chocolate Allergy
If you have suffered an allergic reaction after consuming food, contact us for food allergy testing and treatment. Chacko Food Allergy Treatment Center helps patients from our treatment centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth and Johns Creek. For assistance, call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment online.
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