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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Does chocolate cause asthma?

    Hi my son has asthma, and there are many things that trigger his condition, one of these things I believe may be chocolate. He has had an allergy test for it, once before, and although he has been told he isnt allergic to cocoa they havent ruled out the things that may be in chocolate. I know its not eggs , or milk. We are sure that this food isnt any good but cant work out why or what would be in it to cause this problem. I would love to know how many people who have asthma cannot eat chocolate and if they know what it is that is in it to cause the problem, so that maybe if there are other foods we may be able to stay clear of them. Thanks.
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    I am Accredited Practising Dietitian with a passion for helping people who suffer from food intolerance. I have 25 years of experience in this area … View Profile

    Asthma symptoms can be triggered by allergies to food proteins and can also be triggered by intolerance to food chemicals.  The mechanism of allergy is understood so, if the food allergen is suspected, it can be confirmed with blood tests, skin prick tests and oral challenge.  Unfortunately, the mechanism of food chemical intolerance in most cases has not yet been identified so there are no reliable tests to diagnose this problem.  Currently, food chemical intolerance can only be identified by elimination and reintroduction.  

    The most common food chemical triggers for asthma are the preservative sulphur dioxide, naturally occurring salicylates, added or naturally occurring glutamates (e.g. MSG) and artificial food colours.  Occasionally other food chemicals can trigger asthma and there is one found in chocolate that can cause asthma symptoms in some people.  The chemical family is known as amines and is found in a wide variety of foods.  This is an uncommon trigger for asthma so before restricting this chemical in the diet your son should undergo supervised elimination and challenge to confirm his sensitivity.

    You should consult your doctor and contact a dietitian experienced in the area of asthma and food chemical intolerance if you would like to investigate this further.

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    Muhammad Ashri Mustaffa

    HealthShare Member

    Hi. I have asthma and its main trigger is chocolates. The problem is I LOVE CHOCOLATES. (As a matter of fact, I just came back from the hospital as a result of eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's 3 days ago, inclusive of Iced Milo & popcorn.. My triggers as well lol)

    Now, chocolates and popcorn aren't my only triggers. They include what I would say Asian traditional medicine calls heaty foods. I'm not sure about the actual contents but I can at least categorize them easily like this.

    Chocolates, nuts, oranges, apples, a wide variety of fruits, soft drinks & fizzy drinks are all included. It's not that I can't eat them totally in my case, but I have to watch what I eat over 10-days. I still drink a small glass of orange juice to boost my immune system once a week. Milk is fine, but I realised it increases the Phlegm when sick, so I avoid it as well. Spicy & oily foods when unwell makes things worse.

    Overworked at work or too much exercise can trigger my asthma as much as a weak immune system from not enough exercise too.

    To every individual, they have their own triggers. Just listing out mine so I hope it helps

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