By Dr. Shrey Lakhotia, BDS
Chocolates in large amounts can cause constipation.
Chocolate is a common cause of constipation in children.
The darker the chocolate, the less likely it is to cause constipation.
How Chocolate Causes Constipation
- According to studies, the fat from chocolate tends to retard the secretion of gastric juice in the stomach.
- Chocolate inhibits motor functions, like the emptying of the stomach, which tends to aggravate constipation.
- Chocolate has relatively low fiber and high in fats, both of which may contribute to constipation.
- Foods, including many chocolate products, that are loaded with processed sugars, artificial flavors, ingredients used for processing and preservatives, are known to cause irregularity and painful bowel movements.
- Protein, as is found in some chocolates, makes the digestive mechanism sluggish, since proteins have a complex molecular structure that the body finds harder to break down.
- Many chocolates contain milk. People, especially those suffering from IBS, can become constipated due to the “trigger” of the milk present in chocolates.
Chocolate and IBS constipation
Although no one is sure why, people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome experience IBS symptoms after eating “trigger” foods, one of which is chocolate.
The only way to tell if chocolate is causing IBS constipation is by eliminating it totally from the diet for 2 weeks.
This includes chocolate in any form, including candy, muffins & chocolate drinks. Then one can re-introduce chocolate into the diet and monitor the results to see what difference chocolate makes on constipation.
How much chocolate does it take to constipate?
A healthy person may be able to eat chocolates in moderation and experience no symptoms of constipation. But large amounts of chocolate may create more of a problem.
Chocolates tend to be addictive in nature.
Not only are they delicious, but they cause serotonin to be released, which causes one to feel more relaxed and at ease.
When a person is feeling tense and wants to relax, chocolates can help. Thus it is easy to overindulge. This spells trouble for the gut.
Of course, people with IBS can’t afford to eat chocolates at all, especially if it is a “trigger” food for them.
Do all chocolates cause constipation?
Chocolate is derived from the cocoa plant.
- To make bitter chocolate, hot rollers are used to press cocoa kernels once they have been roasted.
- To make cocoa powder, cocoa butter is squeezed to remove it from bitter chocolate and the material that remains is made into a powder.
- To make sweet chocolate, add vanilla and sugar to bitter chocolate.
- White chocolate is made by combining milk solids, cocoa butter and sugar.
Cocoa, in whatever form, isn’t likely to cause constipation.
The darker the chocolate, the higher the amount of natural cocoa fat it contains, and the less likely it is to cause constipation.
Yes, you can eat rich, bittersweet dark chocolate without a fear of constipation.
The lighter a chocolate, the more milk and sugar it will contain, making it more likely to cause constipation.
A perfect answer for chocolate lovers
Magnesium is one of the best answers for most types of constipation.
- Magnesium has an osmotic laxative effect of drawing water into the colon, moistening and softening stool.
- Magnesium plays an important role in the contraction and relaxation of the bowel muscles, which can help to normalize peristalsis.
Since most of us don't get the magnesium we need from our food, taking a daily magnesium supplement may result in 2 benefits.
- The magnesium may help in relieving constipation in a safe and effective way. Studies have shown that a magnesium deficiency can lead to impaired bowel muscular activity.
- The supplement may meet a nutritional need of the body, which can lead to numerous health benefits. Just 200 mg. to 400 mg. a day may be all that’s needed.
Note: Ask your physician before beginning a daily magnesium regimen. Magnesium has been known to interfere with some medications.
Anyone having kidney disease only take a magnesium supplement if asked to do so by their doctor.
Chocolate Constipation - The Conclusion
Chocolates can cause constipation due to:
- Not having fiber
- Containing a high amount of fat
- Processing chocolate and adding milk and sugar makes it worse for bowel health
(Return from Chocolate Constipation to Foods that Cause Constipation)
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