Why There’s No Simple Answer To ‘Is Chocolate Gluten Free’!

There are very few people, even among those who have celiac disease, who do not have a soft spot for chocolate. And if you go by the number of gluten free chocolates lining the supermarket aisles you will have no doubt whatsoever. But one question remains – is chocolate gluten free – in the truest sense of the term ‘gluten free’?

We wondered the same thing and our research brought up interesting results – results that will allow you to indulge your sweet tooth wisely!

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: jazzijava via Compfight cc

Our search for the answer lead us to 3 categories of ‘gluten free’ chocolates.

Category 1: 100% Pure gluten free chocolate

Pure and unsweetened chocolate is made from cacao beans which are liquefied. Technically, they are 100% gluten free. But then, pure chocolate is so bitter that even if you love dark chocolate you won’t be able to withstand the bitterness quotient.

It is the unique combination of pure chocolate, cocoa butter (another derivation of cacao beans), sugar and milk among other ingredients that make chocolate savory and sweet. But the moment you allow these ingredients in, you have gluten infused chocolate – which would be ‘poison’ instead of ‘pleasure’ for you.

And even pure unsweetened chocolate could have a hint of gluten if it has been subject to gluten cross contamination.  Chocolate making has various phases starting from harvesting the beans to their processing. And gluten contamination could occur at any phase.

Category 2: Chocolate that is gluten-free down to 20 parts per million:

When a brand claims that its chocolate is gluten free down to 20 parts per million it refers to its actual gluten content. You use the term ‘parts per million’ when you want to measure the amount of one ingredient/substance present in 1 million units of another substance.

So technically, most ‘gluten-free’ chocolates still contain some amount of gluten – some contain more, some less. When you consider chocolates with 20 parts per million gluten content, they actually contain 0.002% gluten.

What you need to know is how much gluten can be sneaked into your system – how much is okay for you.  And this is something you need to check with your doctor, since the level of gluten sensitivity varies from person to person.

Category 3: Chocolate with gluten free ingredients but processed with foods that are not gluten free:

Such chocolate will have ‘No Gluten Ingredients’ flashing on the label, but that doesn’t mean it will come out ‘green’ in the gluten cross contamination. This is because these chocolate bars are processed along with foods that contain gluten, especially ‘Gluten Grain’.

The bottom line is, you can never have a simple answer for the query – is chocolate gluten free . And if you want to savor the taste of chocolate, you will need to do a spot of research on your own. Read the labels carefully and the taglines used to fool you into buying gluten containing chocolate will no longer work. Take care of your health and pick your chocolate wisely.

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Why There’s No Simple Answer To ‘Is Chocolate Gluten Free’!
The label might read ‘gluten free’, but is your chocolate actually 100% gluten free? Time to find out.

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