Chocolate, Saint or Sinner for IBS Sufferers?

When I’ve found out that I had IBS and I needed to follow a low FODMAPs diet, one of the first thing I researched was chocolate. I really couldn’t 🙁 give that up, or at least not without a fight.

Searching the internet I found contradictory information, until when I finally downloaded the low FODMAPs iPhone app, created by the Monash University, the leading FODMAP research centre in the world, which had tested chocolate for FODMAPs.

Dark Chocolate Is Low In FODMAPs (mind the quantity though!)

Dark Chocolate Is Low In FODMAPs (mind the quantity though!)

I was extremely relieved to learn that chocolate was permitted, as it is not terribly high in FODMAPs.

The bad news is that the recommendation given, is to avoid large quantities of chocolate; in fact to keep within the low FODMAPs threshold, you need to limit the intake to 5 squares or 30 grams of dark chocolate or 15 grams of milk chocolate and same quantity of white chocolate.

Chocolate, especially the dark version, has good properties, for instance it contain antioxidants and recent studies indicates that high consumption of dark chocolate can decrease your risk of diabetes, heart disease and stroke by as much as 30 percent.

Chocolate is usually quite high in fat and it is well known that fat is a dreadful irritant, for those people with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), also it is always best to read the label carefully, as some chocolate bars  may have high FODMAPs food in them.

I absolutely love chocolate, I can’t stay away from it and I have some about 2 or 3 times per week.

I am usually ok with dark chocolate, but I try not to have more than 30-50 grams in one day, but everybody is different and if you discover that eating even a small quantity of chocolate gives you some digestive discomfort, well I guess your best bet is to avoid it completely.

What Chocolate Can IBS Sufferers Eat?

If you do still want to enjoy the occasional sin, for the same quantity (30 grams or 5 squares) than dark chocolate should be preferred to milk or white chocolate as those contain higher FODMAPs, because of the lactose in them.

It’s often difficult to find suitable chocolate in the shops, so I have learnt to make my own low FODMAP dark chocolate. The the recipe is simple and the taste is rich and delicious (if you like dark chocolate you should give it a go).

Dark Chocolate (in moderation) is low in FODMAPs

Dark Chocolate (in moderation) is low in FODMAPs


Chocolate Consumption for IBS Sufferers

Although up to 30 grams of dark chocolate has been tested low FODMAP, chocolate is high in fat and fats can be a gut irritant, therefore should not be consumed in large quantities, especially if suffering from IBS. Chocolate made with carob is high FODMAP (even in small quantity), as it contains high amount of oligos-fructans.

Hot Chocolate for IBS Sufferers

In winter time there is nothing better than a nice cup of hot cocoa and it is with pleasure that I can say that Monash University has given the ok (low FODMAP) to up to 2 heaped teaspoons of cocoa powder, which you can mix with your favourite low FODMAP milk.

Aren’t we lucky?!

Until next time take care.

xo Larah

About Larah

I have been suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome for many years, but it took a longtime to get a diagnosis, since then I have been following a low FODMAP diet, which has changed my life for the better. This is my story and experience with IBS and the low FODMAP diet.

14 comments on “Chocolate, Saint or Sinner for IBS Sufferers?

  1. Hay Larah,
    I have problems with both Lactose & gluten. The lowfod diet removed many of my favorite fresh & dried fruits. I can tolerate very small amounts of chocolate so I guess I will have to settle for that. Thanks for the information.

    • Hi Bill, I understand your frustration. It was the same for me, at the beginning I had to give up most of the food I ate, but eventually I was able to re-introduce a lot of that food back in small doses. Keep me informed on how you going. Take good care.

  2. When I was told I had to cut out dairy, I was afraid I wasn’t going to be allowed to have any chocolate. I’m so relieved I can now! Dark chocolate was never my favourite, but it’s kinda growing on me. (Also I sneak in a teensy piece of milk chocolate every now and then.) Was dark chocolate an acquired taste for you?

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for your comment. I have started to enjoy dark chocolate in the last few years, even before having IBS, before that it was always milk chocolate. You can always modify my low fodmaps chocolate bar recipes and put a bit more lactose free milk inside. Take good care and all the best with IBS.

  3. This is where as a person on the other end of the slow moving IBS spectrum, I tend to use the chocolate to my advantage. It helps as a form of a laxative sometimes and can be more tasteful than the normal things that are on the market 🙂

    On the same note, you still have to be careful and not over-load yourself because you can get into trouble and find yourself in some unnecessary pain. Been there, done that and it was not pleasant at all.

  4. This is very interesting, so white chocolate should be eaten in lesser amounts than dark and milk? Dark chocolate is the best choice, followed by milk chocolate and lastly by white? Chocolate gives me instant indigestion, could this be a sign that my body is not breaking it down well?.

    • Hello Jacinta, thank you for your comment. According to studies done by the Monash University (2014) both milk and white chocolate intake should be limited to 15 gr because of the lactose in them, dark chocolate is ok in small doses (30 gr). If chocolate doesn’t agree with you, even in small doses, refrain from eating it, you may have an intolerance.

  5. Hi Alex, I am the same. I am ok with good quality dark chocolate, but if I cheat and have milk chocolate, soon after I bloat.
    At least we can still have a bit of dark chocolate even if we suffer from IBS, it’s better than nothing, for those like me who crave chocolate so much. Take care.

  6. I’ve found dark chocolate to not give me too many problems, however about a year ago I was at a dinner party – always a nightmare for IBS sufferers – and ate a white chocolate dessert to avoid embarrassing my host. It caused an awful reaction and I was in agony for ages afterwards. I now avoid all chocolate except the occasional piece or two of dark chocolate.

  7. Wow that’s is some great information for me. I don’t know how anyone could live without Chocolate.

    • Completely agree with you Happy Fiona, I have given up pasta, bread, soft drinks, my favourite fruits like mangoes, cherries, avocados, take away also chocolate, I’ll have a break down 😉

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