Is Chocolate Gluten-Free?
Many people have become gluten-free over the years, whether due to a sensitivity to gluten or having celiac disease. Consuming gluten for these people can cause an upset stomach or other digestive issues, so they opt to keep gluten out of their diet as much as possible. If you are attempting to become gluten-free, you may worry that you’ll have to give up some of your favorite treats. If you happen to be a chocolate lover, this is a very valid concern.
Chocolate in its purest form – the cacao bean – is entirely gluten-free. Gluten comes from wheat, barley, or rye, and there are none of these in the cacao bean, even after roasting and liquefying it. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re in the clear to eat every chocolate product you might find. Because there are so many different items, many are bound to contain gluten.
The more ingredients that are in a chocolate product, the more likely it is to contain gluten. Items such as chocolate chip cookies or chocolate covered pretzels are likely to contain gluten and should be avoided if you have a sensitivity to the protein. You’ll want to check the list of ingredients on any chocolate product you are considering buying to determine if it fits your diet plan.
Many chocolate items contain barley malt as a sweetening agent, meaning that they have gluten. Others use farro, malt extract, rye flour, or wheat flour, all of which contain gluten and should be avoided. In general, you’ll want to look for chocolate bars that have fewer ingredients as they will be less likely to contain gluten. Try to find pure chocolates consisting only of cocoa butter, sugar, and sometimes milk.
There is also the problem of cross-contamination for those who are trying to be gluten-free. Depending on how sensitive you are or how strict you are about your diet, you may have to avoid chocolate products that have been processed on machinery that has been in contact with gluten. Although the ingredient list itself might not contain any gluten items, it is possible that residue got on the candy and that you could be negatively affected.
Many food items will note on the packaging whether or not they have been processed in facilities with gluten and if cross-contamination is possible. The most surefire way to find out, however, is to call the manufacturer’s customer service line and inquire. They can help you determine which products may or may not be contaminated.
Overall, high-quality, pure chocolate is a tasty and safe snack for somebody following a gluten-free diet. You just need to make sure to do your research about each item that you decide to consume. Certain candies will have gluten or traces of gluten, while others will be completely gluten free. It’s always best to verify with the manufacturer, but there should be enough information on the packaging to let you know whether or not you should move forward with a certain piece of chocolate.