Phillip Minton M.D.

Negative Side Effects of Chocolate

In allergies, chocolate, diabetes on June 26, 2011 at 10:58 am

Chocolate is getting a lot of good press these days. But what of the downside? Are there any harmful negative side effects of chocolate consumption? Yes.

Some concerns regarding chocolate consumption include:

ALLERGIES to either cocoa, cocoa oils, or anything it is combined with to make a food or confection.
RASH may occur if you have an allergic reaction to something you consume or contact, such as chocolate. Another rash concern is that some sources link chocolate to herpes outbreaks in people who already have herpes. The link is based on the fact that chocolate is a good source of the amino acid arginine, and that arginine may allow herpes to activate more readily.

OVERSTIMULATION since cocoa contains natural stimulants, anyone for whom extra stimulation may be a problem should ask their doctor before eating or drinking large quantities of chocolate products. Such people may be those with high blood pressure, heart rhythm disturbances, insomnia, nervousness, or anxiety. The chocolate may not make the root cause of any of these worse, but adding the stimulative effect of chocolate may make the symptoms seem more pronounced.

DIABETES is a concern if the cocoa is added to sugars to make the final product consumed.

NEPHROLITHS (kidney stones) are possibly implicated in very high consumption of dark chocolate, although not with milk chocolate, in people at risk for oxalate kidney stones. Any risk of excess oxalate from dark chocolate seems to be ameliorated by consuming calcium at the same time (milk etc).

CALORIES are a concern whenever calorie-rich components such as fats and sugars are added to cocoa, although cocoa powder itself is very low in carbohydrates and fats.

HEARTBURN may be worsened in some individuals, especially those prone to acid-reflux disorder.

HEADACHE is a famous negative result of excess chocolate consumption in some people, especially when the chocolate is eaten with red wines.

DRUG INTERACTIONS may be possible. It is best to ask your doctor about his possibility. I describe the relevant known drug-chocolate interactions in my book Chocolate Healthfood of the Gods.

The bottom line concerning potential negative side effects of chocolate is that in general, high quality chocolate is a very safe food for most people, but we must remain aware of the potential pitfalls of chocolate consumption, particularly for those individuals who have certain medical issues.

@2011 Phillip Minton, M.D.


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