Chocolate and FODMAPs

After a long wait, the Monash team analyzed chocolate last year and the news was glorious! YES….small amounts of dark chocolate would fit the low FODMAP diet criteria. IMG_1008edit-1 FODMAPers around the globe rejoiced! And I was one of them!

For those who don’t know my history, here is a little recap:

I am a registered dietitian and a low FODMAP diet follower.  I have learned which FODMAPs trigger my symptoms and back off eating them when I want a calm belly.  For me, the low FODMAP diet was a long awaited answer to my very sensitive tummy post intestinal resection.  When I was pregnant with my middle son, I developed a strangulated  intestine and required immediate surgery to save my life–and that of my little growing baby within. It was a very scary time. I was in the hospital for 10 days and every morning the obstetric nurse came with the doppler to listen for my son’s heart beat.  Honestly, I cried every time I heard it.  Despite a miserable post-operation course, I felt so grateful that my son survived this trauma.  Every day that I see my college aged grown boy, I feel extremely blessed.  With 6 1/2 feet of my intestine removed along with of my ileo-cecal valve (the door between the small and large intestine), I struggled with terrible pains and cramping…daily. I later developed small intestinal overgrowth (yikes!) which as many of you know…is NO fun! Unfortunately, I am a high risk for small intestinal bacterial overgrowth since I don’t have my ileo-cecal valve.

But the low FODMAP diet has kept me in check. Fortunately, I had my nutrition degree throughout this ordeal and kept abreast of the research in GI nutrition. I learned about the low FODMAP diet back in 2009. Since then… I have been a new person.  It’s been such a rewarding experience to share what I have learned about FODMAPs with all of you. Really. Rewarding.

So…le’t talk chocolate. I mean, really, what’s more important? Ha!IMG_1014editt-1

Monash gives dark chocolate the ‘green light’ for a 30 gram portion.  Because chocolate can be a GI irritant and  is high in fat–tolerance is variable. Bottom line: Don’t over do it!!  So what’s a 30 gram portion–about 2 tablespoons of semi sweet morsels.  For cocoa, the limit is 2-3 heaping teaspoons–about 1 heaping tablespoon.

In an article in Antioxidants and Redox Signaling in November 2011 titled: Cocoa and Chocolate in Human Health and Disease, the authors note that cocoa has more phenolic antioxidants than most foods. Epicatechin (a natural plant phenol antioxidant) in cocoa provides a favorable effect on the blood vessels (lowers blood pressure). Cocoa polyphenols provide anti-inflammatory effects too. Cocoa can protect our nerves from injury and inflammation, protect the skin from UV radiation when applied on the skin( ie cocoa in lotions), and may help us feel full, preventing over eating. Chocolate may improve our mood (Ah…ya think? Yup.)  The summary of this article: The benefits of eating moderate cocoa or dark chocolate consumption likely outweighs the risks. Yahoo! 🙂

I am a big fan of fruit dipped in a little chocolate because a small amount just really hits the spot! IMG_0996edit-1I simply melt 2 tablespoons of semi-sweet chocolate chips with a drizzle of vegetable oil and heat in the microwave about 30 seconds and stir. Sometimes you need to heat the chocolate a little longer to get the morsels to melt (microwaves vary)–just watch the chocolate closely as you don’t want to burn it.

Choose a semi-sweet chocolate chip that has low fiber (1 gram or less) such as Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips. The potential FODMAPs in dark chocolate are fructans and GOS, fiber sources.  So, I like to choose those with lower fiber amounts. Some fair trade chocolate is quite high in fiber.  Of course, milk chocolate should be avoided as it contains lactose.

Just a little chocolate added to fruit makes a delicious dessert.  You can dip the fruit in the chocolate or drizzle the melted chocolate over a low FODMAP fruit kabob.  I like to add a little sprinkles because I think they are fun.  Nonpareils typically are made with sugar, cornstarch and confectioner’s glaze–so would be low FODMAP.

No major recipe today, just melt, dip or drizzle–it’s really quite easy.


21 replies on “Chocolate and FODMAPs

  • Nancy

    Thank you very much for sharing your history of how the FODMAP diet played such an essential role in your life.
    Also, many thanks for the beautiful photos of chocolate & fruit. It doesn’t look to hard to do and very tasty!

  • Sandy


    When you get a SIBO flare do you treat with antibiotics or just try to keep it down by following the low FODMAP diet?



    • katescarlata

      Sandy –I was first-2003- put on antibiotics and had 10 years SIBO free. I had another round of antibiotics in 2013 after being put on antibiotics for another infection–and this disrupted my gut bacteria –and ended up with SIBO again. Overall-I am fortunate and feel that I have been able to keep things relatively calm with the low FODMAP diet, meal spacing, and pulling back on my diet periodically when things seem to be heading in the wrong direction. I do take Culturelle probiotic (health and wellness formula) too when my symptoms flare for a few days and that seems to help me. Not sure if this is the placebo effect 🙂 but it seems real to me!!

      • Sandy

        Thank you! I’ve been struggling with SIBO since 2006. Xifaxin cleared it out the first time but never again 🙁 That’s how I found low FODMAPS and your blog.

        Thank you for your blog. I look forward to reading all your posts 🙂


  • Cindy

    I recently discovered Enjoy (everything free) chocolate bars. They are so good, perhaps you can try them and tell me what you think. P.S……Thank you for your posts, they have truly been a life saver for me. I can now enjoy food again.

  • Mary Sosinski

    This really made my day. I use Enjoy Life brand morsels for baking but didn’t know if any chocolate or cocoa is FODMAP friendly. The portion recommendation is so important. As always, thanks for your generous spirit in sharing valuable info with us:)

  • Mary

    Oh! This is welcome news! I think I still so closely to the low FODMAPs list and here I’ve been eating lots and lots of dark chocolate, just assuming that if it was low in sugar and no milk, I was OK. Very glad to have the details straight now!
    Thanks again, Kate!

  • Mary

    I meant: I think I “stick” so closely …..

    Kate, thanks also for sharing your story. It puts just having irritable bowel in perspective, and also highlights the importance of GI and dietary health for us all.

  • Michael J. Rosen

    I’m a big chocolate fan. I was definitely relieved when I learned that chocolate and cocoa are compatible with a low FODMAP diet. Thank you for your additional insights and suggestions here.

    Regarding cocoa, do you know if alkalized cocoa (the typical kind — Dutch Processed) is better or worse than the non-alkalized kind such as Scharffen Berger Natural Unsweetened Cocoa Powder?

    Thanks for your help.

    Happy New Year!

    • katescarlata

      Hi Michael, Happy New Year to you! What I have learned is the processing of cocoa is a bit complicated! The alkalized product tends to be less bitter and more flavorful but has less of the antioxidant benefits. From FODMAP standpoint–not really sure. I do believe there are potential effects of the alkalizing process on carbohydrates in the cocoa bean–but I don’t have data on these exact changes. I think if you limit the use as described in my post–1 heaping tablespoon you can use the cocoa of your choice. This article provides some interesting info though I just skimmed it:

  • Trish

    Hi Kate, I enjoy reading your posts and find them informative. I have been doing the FODMAP diet for a year with a dietician (though in the Australian public health system, which meant I saw 3 different dieticians over the course of that year, which was frustrating). I find the general principles of FODMAPS useful but sometimes my symptoms reappear without explanation. The latest dietician suggested I try the Salicylate, Amine & Glutamate exclusion diet. I don’t think I can cope with this as well!

    • katescarlata

      Hi Trish, Yes combining low FODMAP with a low food chemical diet would be near impossible. I have found some of my clients benefit from a low histamine diet–in addition to the low FODMAP diet–and in this case, I have been able to just pull the very high histamine foods out of the diet and this does the trick.

  • Juliane Baerwaldt

    Dear Kate,

    indeed your history has really touched me… (I don`t know, if that is correct English, but I hope that you understand me)

    Today I would like to share some “global” experiences about our low FODMAP diet:

    1. Before Christmas I have posed you some questions about the Monash research in cornflakes… May be you remember: I was wondering why GF cornflakes were lower in FODMAPs than the common ones. At the moment I can say tha I have found out the following thing: All common brands here in Germany have malted barley in their formula! I was so naive to think that cornflakes are only made of corn… At least for the GF cornflakes that is right. So my little son enjoys the GF ones 🙂

    2.Thanks for your advice to order savory broths from Amazon… If I am not wrong, I have to pay nearly 40 US dollars for 12 cups of broth!!! Pooh 🙁
    I think I will go on cooking broth on my own.
    I strongly hope that the low FODMAP diet gets more common in continental Europe.

    3. I have noticed something interesting about chives: We used to have a chive plant in our home. The plant was quite white as it had not had much sun in winter.
    I had put some of that in our omelette and after that dish I had problems with my belly for some hours. Might that be the same thing as with the bulb and the green parts of spring onions or leeks?
    Consequently it should be possible to grow garlic grass?! It should be lower in FODMAPs than the cloves, shouldn`t it?

    4. I wonder why raw veggies like carrots and also cucumber in bigger amounts are so troublesome for me? I can tolerate the raw low FODMAP fruits (even some more than the suggested amounts as I am not a fructose malabsorber). I can tolerate fine green salads. I am rather careful with raw witlof f.e. as the leafs are not so fine… I can tolerate cooked carrots better than fried ones but I have to be really careful with the raw ones although I love them. They seem so hard to digest!?

    5. Following the low FODMAP diet with a child is much harder than I have thought… But at least I have the feeling that our son tolerates a bit more wheat and rye than I do. So I let him eat common wheat and rye products at his friends` homes.
    Anyway I`m sure our son will like your chocolate covered bananas! <3

    At the end I wish you a very good new year and much power and enthusiasm for your life. You really fill this low FODMAP diet with so much fun!

    Thanks a lot

    • Linda Cohen

      Hi Juliane:

      I just started my husband on FODMAP. We have been to many doctors and no on suggested it. I found it on the Internet and thought it was worth trying as all the previous diets suggested were not helping his symptoms. So far he seems better. I am in Spain and found Bimbo Gluten Free Bread and today we tried a product: Pegesa Sin Gluten Tortitas de Arroz con Chocolate Negro y Coco: Rice Cakes with dark chocolate and coconut. I think Gluten Free products are started to arrive in Europe. FODMAP is still relatively unknown.

      My husband has difficult digesting food. He also loves carrots. We were told to cook them and they would be easier to digest.

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