Can Chocolate Cause Constipation?

Scientific studies confirm that dark chocolate is good for your health. You gain a host of physical and mental health benefits from eating good-quality dark chocolate every day, such as a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases, improved insulin sensitivity, and improved moods.

Although dark chocolate has many benefits, it is not without flaws. There is speculation that eating dark chocolate bars in moderation can lead to constipation. On the other hand, it has been claimed that dark chocolate triggers diarrhea.

According to a 2005 study, people with chronic constipation or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) report symptoms after consuming chocolate. But can chocolate cause constipation?

Here’s a look at the link between chocolate and constipation. But first, let’s take a brief look at constipation.

What is constipation?

If your bowel motions are less frequent than usual, you have constipation. Having fewer than three bowel movements per week fits the criteria in terms of the formal definition. People who are constipated produce hard, dry stools that are slower to move through the intestines.

Although it’s not life-threatening, constipation can nevertheless be unpleasant. In addition to causing bloating and discomfort in the abdomen, long-term constipation can cause hemorrhoids and anus tears.

What causes constipation?

The cause of constipation may be your food. Stools become softer and easier to pass thanks to fibre and water. Constipation might result from consuming insufficient amounts of fibre or water in your diet.

Constipation is a side effect that some drugs can have. Among these drugs are antacids, antiseizure drugs, blood pressure drugs, iron supplements, Parkinson’s disease drugs, narcotic painkillers, and some antidepressants.

These medical disorders, such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, stroke, illnesses of the brain or spine, spinal cord injuries, intestinal tumors, an underactive thyroid gland or hypothyroidism, can also cause constipation.

Constipation can occasionally happen as a result of a shift in circumstances. Due to fluctuating hormone levels, many people experience constipation during pregnancy. Only sometimes do some people experience constipation. Additionally, age also has an impact.

Your intestines move less quickly as you get older, increasing your likelihood of developing constipation.

How does chocolate affect constipation?

The way your body reacts to chocolate may vary depending on any medical issues you may have.

While some people find chocolate to be constipating, others may find that cocoa or its components help relieve constipation.

In a 2006 study, children with persistent constipation were given cocoa husks, which are the outer cocoa beans that are abandoned during the making of chocolate. The high-fibre husks encouraged the kids to use the restroom more frequently and made it simpler for them to do so.

Research backs up the notion that eating chocolate might make you constipated, as was already mentioned. The truth is that it might not come from cocoa.

One example is the possibility of constipation in some people due to the dairy in some dark chocolate products.

Contrarily, the dairy in chocolate, especially for those who are lactose intolerant, might also cause stools to pass more quickly or even early. In this situation, chocolate without dairy may be better for you. A good-quality bar of dark chocolate should contain little to no dairy or dairy-related ingredients, though.

In addition, dry and difficult-to-pass stools are caused by a lack of water in your intestines. Additionally, chocolate includes caffeine, which dehydrates you. Sugar can replace the necessary fibres in your digestive tract, causing constipation; thus, dark chocolate with a lot of sugar is also a bad indicator.

Additionally, some producers supplement their ingredients with a lot of preservatives when creating chocolate. As time goes on, chocolate’s potential health benefits begin to wane. Because of this, organic chocolate is healthier for you.

Depending on any medical issues you may have, your body’s reaction to chocolate may vary. Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a disorder that some people have if they continue to experience constipation while eating organic chocolate. Although the cause is not yet fully understood, dark and milk chocolate might cause constipation in some IBS sufferers. It is essential to speak with a doctor about your potential digestive issue in this situation.

How much chocolate can you eat without getting constipated?

If your friend consumes large quantities of chocolate without experiencing constipation, it does not imply that you can do the same. Due to its high fat and calorie content, chocolate should be consumed in moderation to prevent constipation.

Depending on how it makes you feel, you should decide whether to eat chocolate and how often. There is no need to quit consuming chocolate if it doesn’t seem to cause constipation.

Try removing chocolate from your diet and seeing if it helps if it seems to be causing you to have constipation. You can gradually reintroduce chocolate, a little at a time, if you feel better, to observe if constipation returns.

When will constipation clear up?

Once you realize that chocolate is the cause of your constipation, eliminating chocolate from your diet is the only way to get rid of it.

If, however, you stop consuming chocolate but still experience constipation, there might be other reasons. To identify the cause, you might need to cut out additional foods, or you might want to consult a doctor.

How to avoid constipation

Making a few dietary changes is one of the best strategies to prevent constipation. Consume more fibrous meals, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Your stools get bulkier when you add fibre, which makes them easier to pass. The recommended daily intake of fibre for adults is between 22 and 34 grams.

You ought to drink more water every day. Stool movement is aided by fluid. Diet and exercise should go hand in hand. Every body part benefits from exercise. Maintaining an active lifestyle improves intestinal health.

Additionally, don’t rush bathroom trips. Sit and give yourself some time to urinate so you can be sure your bowels are empty.

Choosing The Right Dark Chocolate

It’s crucial to select premium dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. To preserve the health advantages of the antioxidants and nutrients found in cocoa, good dark chocolate should also have a low dairy and sugar content. You are extremely unlikely to have constipation thanks to the high fibre and mineral content of good-quality dark chocolate.

According to studies, dark chocolate can boost brain blood flow, protect brain cells, and help with learning and memory. Magnesium, which helps muscles relax, promotes restful sleep, and fortifies bones, is another nutrient abundant in dark chocolate.

What to Eat When Constipated

You might be able to treat constipation with dietary changes if it is not a side effect of a drug, an underlying medical disease, or another health issue.

The easiest method to achieve this is to increase your overall dietary fibre intake. Include soluble fibre sources like oats, nuts, seeds, lentils, psyllium, fruits, and vegetables in your diet. Include insoluble fibre as well, like that found in vegetables, whole grains, and wheat bran. These ingredients come from a variety of plant-based diets.

It’s interesting to note that you can also eat prunes and green kiwifruits because they work wonders for curing constipation.

For a few weeks, while keeping an eye on your stools, you can also think about cutting back on animal products like dairy and red meat. Consult your doctor to determine whether there may be another cause if dietary changes are ineffective. They might even give a brief recommendation for a specific laxative.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can eating chocolate every day cause constipation?

No, although consumed in excessive amounts, dark chocolate may speed up bowel movements because it is rich in minerals and fibre. Dark chocolate does not cause constipation; on the contrary, it can even relieve it.

Why is chocolate so constipating?

Chocolate contains caffeine, which can contribute to dehydration. A lack of water in your intestines makes stools dry and harder to pass. Chocolate-filled foods are typically high in sugar, which can also be tough on your bowels.

Is milk good for constipation?

Dairy products that may reduce constipation. Raw milk is considered by many natural health practitioners to be more easily digested than the more widely available pasteurised varieties and may help relieve constipation and other digestive problems.

Which food do I avoid when constipated?

When you are constipated, it’s best to avoid foods that are low in fibre and high in fat. This includes cheese, ice cream, potato chips, frozen meals, red meat, hamburgers and hot dogs. Many processed foods have little to no fibre and will stall food passing through the bowel.

Now it’s your turn

There are several causes of constipation, but generally speaking, one of them isn’t eating chocolate. However, the substances used to make chocolate could be the cause of your constipation. 

A health issue may occasionally be indicated by unpleasant bowel movements. You ought to seek advice from a health expert if the symptoms persist.

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From chocolate craving to winter hot cocoa drinks indulgence - I've being through it all. In as much as I'm always learning about the awesomeness of cacao/cocoa beans, there's one thing I know for sure. Quality cocoa product always comes tops. The devil is in the details. That's why you should listen to me. I've done the research. I've made all the mistakes in the books. Yes, I'm just like you but I know a thing or two that can help you make a better choice.