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What about cocoa powder and chocolate?

Malted milk eggs might not be a good choice for a low-FODMAP diet because the ingredients include whey and malted milk, both potential sources of lactose.

Malted milk eggs might not be a good choice for a low-FODMAP diet because the ingredients include whey and malted milk, both potential sources of lactose.

I don’t care what the USDA says…chocolate is an important food group! However, it is my duty to tell you that cocoa powder does contain FODMAPs, as tested at the Monash University lab, a fact the faculty shared with dietitian attendees at their May, 2013 seminar. It contains both fructans and galactans in almost equal amounts. More recently (4/2014) an update has been posted on Monash's web site stating that 1 ounce of dark chocolate can be considered low FODMAP and suitable for the elimination phase of the diet.

What is cocoa powder, and how is it different from chocolate, anyway? I got lots of interesting information about chocolate and cocoa from the National Confectioner's Association Chocolate Council at http://www.thestoryofchocolate.com. Cocoa powder is ground cocoa solids which have been removed from chocolate liquor (chocolate liquor is ground cocoa beans, a combination of cocoa solids and cocoa butter--think natural peanut butter, with peanut solids rather easily separated from the peanut oil). Wickedgoodies.net has a really "sweet" illustration of how chocolate is made that will help visual learners such as myself understand all these terms.

Solid chocolate is made from cocoa liquor (which includes both cocoa solids and cocoa butter), sugar, and sometimes milk. It can be difficult to interpret the ingredients named on the label of a chocolate product. When you see "70% cocao" on a chocolate label, that 70% can include chocolate liquor, cocoa solids and cocoa butter. Many chocolate bars don't even tell you what the % chocolate is, so you have no clue. But you can probably figure that the less fiber per serving, the lower the % cocoa solids.

So...we're looking for the lowest % cacao, the lowest number of grams of fiber, yet not a milk chocolate, because that would add lactose, another FODMAP. Below are just a few candidates.

  • Newman's Own Organics Orange Dark Chocolate (1 g fiber/ounce)
  • Dagoba Organic Chocolate Semisweet for Baking (2 g fiber/ounce)
  • Ghirardelli Mini Chocolate Chips (2 g fiber/ounce)
  • Nestle's Toll House semi-sweet morsels
  • Ghirardelli semi-sweet baking chips

For an illustration of the effect more cocoa solids and a bigger portion size can have, a 3 ounce/90 gram, 70% chocolate bar has 9 grams of fiber in it.

Enjoy your Easter candy this weekend in moderation.