This is a common question among those with celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. And gluten-free and gluten-sensitive diets are the buzzword these days.
The answer, however, may surprise you. Chocolate does not contain gluten in itself! But chocolate can become contaminated with gluten via the manufacturing process used to make it (typically by the addition of wheat flour).
Nevertheless, if you are questioning whether or not chocolate is gluten-free, then there are several ways that you can determine the answer for yourself. However, I will say the answer is different depending on the type of chocolate and the chocolate brands.
Before going deep into gluten-free chocolates, let's understand what is Gluten and why gluten-free is getting popular among food enthusiasts.
What is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley malt. It is the substance in flour that makes dough chewy and elastic. And also, it gives the final baked goods its shape.
Gluten is often found in 80% of processed food and because of the usage of wheat, barley malt, and the usage of raw materials that contain gluten.
Although it can be found in some vegetables, fruits, and even meat, they have a trace amount of gluten. And the amount found in vegetables and fruits is so little that it can be unnoticeable.
It is a very sticky compound that helps to bind food together and make foods hold their shape during the cooking process.
Problem of Gluten
When someone eats foods containing gluten, it causes inflammation in the small intestines preventing them from absorbing nutrients.
And when someone has Celiac Disease, the small intestines cannot absorb not only gluten but other foods such as milk products and sugar alcohols.
When this happens over a long period of time it can result in dangerous deficiencies that cause damage to your body.
This can lead to numerous medical complications including malnutrition, weight loss, bloating, depression, and diarrhea. It affects the people who have celiac disease.
What are gluten-free?
Going gluten-free means avoiding any products that are having gluten, which is the protein found in wheat. It may also refer to avoiding foods that contain ingredients derived from it, such as malt flavoring or modified food starch.
Gluten-free foods are those that contain less than 20 parts per million of gluten, which means they're virtually free from it.
There are 2 reasons people go gluten-free.
1) To lose weight.
2) For health reasons. People with celiac disease (about 1% of the population), gluten intolerance (about 6%), or who may suffer from wheat allergy (less than 0.5%) must avoid gluten because their bodies cannot process it properly.
What is a gluten-free diet?
This means avoiding all gluten-containing foods and avoiding products that may contain gluten. And the good thing is, there are numerous healthy gluten-free recipes that are delicious.
It also includes avoiding any products that contain ingredients derived from gluten, like malt flavoring or modified food starch.
You should read the food label carefully for this type of information if you're not sure whether something is okay to eat or not.
Why a gluten-free diet matters
The reason why a gluten-free diet has been gaining so much popularity in recent years has a lot to do with certain digestive issues that might be healed when you remove gluten from your diet completely.
Many people switch to a gluten-free diet after they get diagnosed with celiac disease (CD). It is an autoimmune disorder where the body's immune system attacks its own healthy tissues when gluten is consumed by mistake.
On the other hand, some people don't have any gluten-related digestive issues but still want to adhere to a more restrictive diet for health reasons or personal beliefs such as veganism, low carbs diets (Ketogenic Diet), pale
Eating too much gluten has been shown to affect people's health negatively. As a result, more people are going with gluten-free diet habits nowadays.
Is cocoa bean contains gluten?
Chocolate is made from cocoa beans which come from the cacao tree. Cocoa beans do not contain gluten. And the finished chocolate product should be gluten-free as well.
But, it's not always true.
However, once cocoa beans are processed and refined for chocolate making, they may no longer be gluten-free. Because, during the process, gluten-containing grains are often used for fermenting making chocolate not considered safe for people who have celiac disease or severe gluten intolerance.
Are Chocolate gluten-free?
Yes, if it is pure chocolate with 100% cocoa from cocoa beans means that does not contain gluten. The reason why manufacturers might add ingredients with gluten to their recipe is for flavor or to make it puffier or lighter in texture.
The way these ingredients are processed before being used could make them cross-contaminate other products and be unsafe for those avoiding gluten.
Why chocolate contains gluten?
Okay now, you are wondering about chocolate and gluten. Below is the list of why gluten was added to your chocolate bars
1) Add Fiber
Chocolate bars with gluten added to them hope to add fiber and weight.
2) Make Chocolate Chewier and Creamier:
Gluten acts as a binder and emulsifier for many chocolate products.
3) Increase Volume:
Adding gluten to certain chocolates will make them thicker and creamier, thus increasing volume.
4) Make Foods Tastier:
Gluten gives chocolates a distinctive taste as well as increases their elasticity.
What is gluten-free chocolate?
So what are gluten-free chocolate exactly?
Is it just another term for a dark chocolate bar or some other type of chocolate bar that doesn't contain any dairy?
No, gluten-free chocolate bars are definitely not the same as dark chocolate bars.
What makes them different from your average milk or white chocolate bars is their production process, which avoids the cross-contamination of gluten ingredients from other products within the factory where they're made and uses gluten-free products as raw materials.
There are some chocolates that are both vegan and gluten-free.
Chocolate is an important part of many people's life as it can make us feel pleasure as well as caffeine that stimulates our mind and body after eating chocolate - depending on the type of chocolate you choose from dark chocolate or milk chocolate.
With the health-conscious trend, many manufacturers have shifted to making chocolate bars with gluten-free ingredients. This is great news for people who are sensitive to gluten or avoid it due to allergies or for other health reasons.
If you're confused about whether the chocolate bars are safe to eat or not, just read their ingredients list! You can find out if the chocolate bars contain gluten or not by looking at the list of ingredients.
If they include a 'gluten-free' label on their product, then you can be sure it is gluten-free and safe to eat!
BeeTee's Melt - Gluten-Free Chocolate
BeeTee's Melt is a Bean to Bar artisan chocolate manufacturer and it makes a chocolate bar that is gluten-free and soy-free.
And it ensures that the chocolate bars that are made by them are gluten-free by ensuring a strict manufacturing process and raw material sourcing process which prevents any cross contamination by-products that may contain gluten.
It produces 72% Dark chocolate bar, 54% Coconut milk Chocolate bar, and 48% Milk chocolate bar- all of which are gluten-free.
And by following gluten-free practices, they ensure that the chocolate is Soy-free and Preservative free. And it uses all-natural ingredients to manufacture chocolate in micro batch from a single-origin imported cacao bean.
Chocolate is the pleasure that everyone wants to share with their beloved ones. It brings them closer and increases intimacy which makes couples happy.
But it might be important for some people to know whether chocolate bars are gluten-free or not, especially those who have special dietary requirements like allergies or sensitivities.
Many efforts have been made by chocolatiers in order to create chocolate bars that are safe for those following a gluten-free lifestyle.
So if you enjoy chocolate but worry about its ingredients, there's nothing to fear! Just read the labels of the products carefully before purchasing them and choose wisely! And do let us know what kind of chocolate bar you like most - dark or milk?