Chocolate and constipation

Does chocolate cause constipation? When it comes to constipation, common beliefs die hard...


Chocolate and constipation

Does chocolate cause constipation?

When it comes to constipation, common beliefs die hard: bananas and rice should be avoided if you are constipated. Some foods slow bowel movements down while others “cure” constipation, or even cause diarrhoea.

Diet plays a key role in maintaining a healthy intestinal transit and a balanced diet helps prevent bowel disorders.


What role does chocolate play in diets?

There are countless people who love to devour chocolate... The French, for example, consume more than 390,000 tonnes per year, i.e. around 7 kg per person. Chocolate can be good for your health when consumed in reasonable quantities, of course, as with all simple pleasures in life.

Chocolate contains fibre: 100 grams of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% gives 10 grams of fibre, which is more than some vegetables.

However, it should be noted that we are talking about cocoa-rich dark chocolate only.

When it comes to chocolate, it is important to make the following distinctions:


• Dark chocolate: contains at least 45% cocoa (measured by dry matter), including no less than 26% cocoa butter and 14% non-fat cocoa solids

• Milk chocolate: contains at least 25% of cocoa or 30% in the case of “fine” milk chocolate

• White chocolate: does not contain cocoa, but contains at least 20% of cocoa butter and 14% of milk (dry matter)

Moreover, all these compositions are governed by strict laws.


The positive effects of chocolate on intestinal transit

Only dark chocolate, therefore, has positive effects on bowel movements.

Dark chocolate contains iron, copper, potassium, magnesium and calcium. What’s more, the darker the chocolate (nowadays, you can find dark chocolate containing up to 99% of cocoa solids), the less sugar it contains.

Cocoa, and therefore dark chocolate, contains fibre, which has a positive effect on intestinal transit. Fibre contributes to correct bowel function and helps both prevent and reduce constipation.

To sum up, does chocolate cause constipation? No, if consumed in reasonable quantities. Does it cause diarrhoea? No, although consumed in excessive amounts, dark chocolate may speed up bowel movements because it is rich in minerals and fibre.

Constipation and diet: chocolate, fibre... and enjoyment

Dark chocolate does not cause constipation; on the contrary, it can even relieve constipation.

Due to its slightly bitter taste, dark chocolate is not everyone’s cup of tea, however. Some prefer milk chocolate, the sweeter and melt-in-your-mouth kind, while others still would rather reach for white chocolate. But, as is the case with many foods, any excess will have an impact on bowel movements.

Yet dark chocolate is not necessarily as bitter as you might think. Indulge in it gradually, first trying chocolate with 50% cocoa, followed by 60%.

There are many different types to choose from: dark chocolate with fleur de sel, pistachios, raspberry, almonds, salted butter caramel, and much more.

Start with one square and let it slowly melt on your tongue, perhaps as an accompaniment to an Italian coffee or a nice cup of tea.


Foods that relieve constipation

There you have it: chocolate’s false reputation as a constipating food dispelled. Chocolate does not cause constipation as long as it is dark chocolate, i.e. if it has a cocoa content of at least 43%.

That said, chocolate can hardly be viewed as a food item that relieves constipation.

If constipation is a relatively serious problem for you, the answer does not lie in a square of chocolate; you need to review your weekly dietary intake.

Do you drink enough water? Do you eat enough whole grains, fruit and vegetables, all of which are rich in fibre?

Did you know that brown rice and legumes, amongst others, are also considered foods that help overcome constipation?

If you suffer from bowel disorders, and particularly chronic or recurring constipation, your pharmacist or dietician will be able to recommend food products that will naturally increase the fibre levels in your daily diet.

OptiFibre®, for example, is a Food for Special Medical Purposes available in pharmacies and made up of 100% plant-based guar gum. This soluble fibre has been proven to regulate bowel movements.



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