Does Dark Chocolate Cause Constipation?
Dark chocolate is one of the few indulgences that are scientifically proven to be good for you. By eating a bite of good-quality dark chocolate every day, you gain access to a host of both physical and mental health benefits, including decreased risk of cardiovascular diseases, improved insulin sensitivity, better moods, and much, much more.
But, of course, like many other foods, dark chocolate is not perfect. Some say that eating dark chocolate bars--even in moderation--can cause constipation. Others claim that dark chocolate, in fact, does the opposite; which is triggers diarrhea.
So, is there any truth to this? Can dark chocolate cause constipation? On the contrary, can it cause diarrhea? We are here to find out.
What Exactly Is Constipation?
Constipation is characterized by infrequent bowel movements and difficulty passing stools. Normally, people have one or two bowel movements a day. But with constipation, bowel movements occur less than three times a week. Stools are also hard and lumpy, which often requires constipated individuals to strain while defecating. Pain in the anus, bloating, and abdominal discomfort are also common side effects of constipation.
Usually, there is no need for prescription treatment. Constipation can be solved by eating high fiber foods (e.g. whole grains), drinking more water, or taking over-the-counter laxatives, among other simple interventions. However, when constipation goes on for more than a week despite your best efforts or if serious tearing in the anus occurs, it's time to go to the doctor.
Common Causes Of Constipation
Usually, constipation occurs when waste or stool moves too slowly through the digestive tract or cannot be eliminated effectively from the rectum, which may cause the stool to become hard and dry.
Acute constipation is commonly caused by dehydration and/or a lack of fiber in the diet. Fiber and water are responsible for making stools softer so they can pass easily through the digestive system. If you don't eat enough fiber-rich foods or drink enough water, your stools may become hard and difficult to pass.
Other common causes of constipation include:
Certain medicines (e.g. antacids, some antidepressants, iron supplements, etc.)
Certain conditions can also increase your likelihood of getting constipated. For example, as we age, intestinal movement slows down and makes us more susceptible to constipation. Being constantly stressed can also aggravate constipation and other gastrointestinal conditions.
Does Dark Chocolate Cause Constipation?
While some people claim to have become constipated from chocolate, there is no link supported by science. So, no, dark chocolate, particularly cocoa, does not cause constipation.
On the contrary, dark chocolate can make it easier to pass stools due to its high fiber and mineral content. So, yes, it has the potential to relieve constipation instead of causing it. But be careful though--if you eat chocolate in excess, particularly dark chocolate, you may experience diarrhea.
Similarly, you should eat dark chocolate in moderation as it is still high in fat and calories. To reap the full benefits of dark chocolate without any nasty side effects, stick to eating 1 ounce per day.
Why Some People May Have Become Constipated From Dark Chocolate
Pure dark chocolate does not cause constipation, but why do some people have trouble going to the bathroom after eating it?
What could be the cause is the other ingredients present in dark chocolate bars.
For one, the dairy in some dark chocolate products may have a constipating effect on some individuals. In contrast, dairy in chocolate can also make stools pass faster or even prematurely, especially for lactose-intolerant individuals. In this case, dairy-free chocolate could be healthier for you. However, keep in mind that good-quality dark chocolate should have little to no dairy or dairy additives.
Chocolate also contains caffeine, which can make you dehydrated. As we've mentioned earlier, a lack of water can make your stools hard and dry, leading to constipation. Dark chocolate with tons of sugar is also a bad sign; sugar can replace the essential fibers in your digestive tract, which can lead to--surprise, constipation!
Furthermore, it could also be the extenders and preservatives in subpar chocolate - manufacturers add all sorts of junk to their ingredients. The more you add, the worse chocolate becomes for you. The health benefits of chocolate start to subside. This is why organic chocolate is better for you.
But if you are still experiencing constipation even with organic chocolate, you may have a condition called Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). For some people who have IBS, dark and milk chocolate can trigger constipation--although the reason is not yet quite clear. In this case, it is best to consult a doctor about your possible gastrointestinal condition.
Why Choosing The Right Dark Chocolate Is Essential
Dark chocolate can cause constipation if it's made with too much dairy and sugar. Unfortunately, some chocolate manufacturers add high amounts of dairy, dairy by-products, and sugar to their dark chocolate to make it taste better--so much so that it almost becomes milk chocolate.
This is why it's so important to choose high-quality dark chocolate that contains 70% cocoa or higher. Good dark chocolate should also contain minimal amounts of dairy and sugar to preserve the benefits of the antioxidants and nutrients present in cocoa. With the high fiber and mineral content in good-quality dark chocolate, you are very unlikely to experience constipation.
Good News - You Can Eat Dark Chocolate Without Worrying About Constipation!
As you can see, there is not enough science to support the claim that dark chocolate can cause constipation. But what we know for certain is that the ingredients in subpar dark chocolate can trigger this uncomfortable condition. That said, it's vital that you choose non GMO chocolate bars as your go-to treat. And there is no better place to find such good quality chocolate than MidDay Squares.
With our organic approach to chocolate, you won't have to worry about constipation at all. MidDay Squares produces only the best-quality chocolate with high percentages of cocoa and no unhealthy additives to make sure you don't experience anything other than pleasure when eating our sweet treats. So, what are you waiting for? Grab a sample pack today and discover a whole new world of melt-in-your-mouth goodness!