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Home arrow Health arrow Gut Health arrow Does Chocolate Cause Constipation? What You Need to Know

Does Chocolate Cause Constipation? What You Need to Know

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Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
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Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 18, 2023
4 min read 1692 Views 0 Comments
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We explain whether chocolate causes irregular bowel movements and provide the best type of chocolate to eat.

Does chocolate cause constipation

Sometimes, it’s hard to resist the tempting smell of chocolate. 

This delicious treat can satisfy anyone’s sweet tooth, making it great for a cheat day. Of course, consuming chocolate all the time won’t offer many long-term health benefits. Some people report experiencing infrequent bowel movements, which could be a sign of too much chocolate. 

Constipation can be a challenging thing to deal with on a regular basis. From stomach pain to throbbing headaches, you’re bound to get fed up eventually. It’s normal to want to enjoy sugary foods in your diet, but not all of them will pass through your gut smoothly. 

In this article, you’ll discover if chocolate causes constipation. 

Does Chocolate Cause Constipation?

Yes, chocolate can cause constipation by slowing down your digestive system. There are certain ingredients in chocolate, like milk and caffeine, that suppress consistent bowel movements. It’s best to avoid this food if you regularly suffer from painful constipation. 

Chocolate is a great treat to have when you need something sweet. Even though it tastes divine, not everyone can enjoy it in their diet. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have reported feeling constipated after eating chocolate, so they can only have very small amounts.

Dairy products containing caffeine might also cause chronic constipation. This is because milk produces methane gas in your stomach, slowing down the digestive process. Caffeine is another key ingredient that has a laxative effect, leading to diarrhea and dehydration. 

However, those who eat chocolate in moderation should have a healthy digestive system. This treat doesn’t have to disappear from your diet completely. Most experts recommend that adults only eat 6 grams of dark chocolate a day to stop constipation and improve their health.

Which Chocolate Is Best to Eat to Avoid Constipation?

Dark chocolate is the best type of chocolate to eat for regular bowel movements. Of course, not everyone enjoys the bitterness, but it actually has many health benefits. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate every day can strengthen your digestive tract.

High-quality dark chocolate is one of the high-fiber foods that prevent those horrible bathroom visits. This is because dietary fiber increases the weight of your stool and maintains strong bowel health. Regular milk chocolate doesn’t contain enough of this important nutrient. 

You should eat rich dark chocolate for its high antioxidant profile. It’s known that antioxidants can reduce intestinal damage from constipation. These natural compounds also minimize chronic inflammation, making them another great choice for those with type 2 diabetes

Both milk and white chocolate contain too many sugars. Eating too much sugar will cause constipation and uncomfortable symptoms like back pain, headaches, and severe bloating. Stick to dark chocolate on your diet if you don’t want to experience abdominal discomfort.

Does Chocolate Affect People Differently?

Yes, everyone has a unique digestive system, meaning chocolate won’t always cause constipation. People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are more likely to experience irregular bowel movement, as they have a more sensitive gastrointestinal system. 

Your body may have a normal response to eating chocolate. It could digest the food normally and not show any signs of discomfort. A study suggests that small amounts of fiber-rich  cocoa can actually ease constipation, especially in children who struggle to go to the bathroom.

Around 12% of people in the United States suffer from IBS. This means they can’t eat chocolate bars all the time or fried foods that are hard to digest. Instead, they might need to avoid consuming chocolate completely to prevent the risk of digestive and kidney diseases. 

How Much Chocolate Can You Eat Without Getting Constipated?

You can start by eating one square of chocolate to see if that affects your stomach. If you feel okay after that, slowly reintroduce more every other day. People who have a sensitive digestive tract should consume chocolate in moderation or avoid it entirely. 

There’s no set amount on how much chocolate you need to eat in a balanced diet. Chocolate is a sweet treat for those who need sugar now and then. However, if you do want to enjoy this delicious food, opt for dark chocolate bars that contain enough fiber to relieve constipation. 

Consult with your doctor or a registered dietitian about eating habits. They could suggest foods that help with constipation and whether chocolate is causing constipation. It’s better to find out the recommended chocolate intake to ensure your stool consistency stays firm and soft. 

How to Prevent Constipation?

There are many ways you can avoid constipation, including drinking lots of water, exercising regularly, following a balanced diet, and eating fiber-rich foods. Doing all of these steps could stop you from experiencing constipation on a daily basis. 

People who drink plenty of water flush toxins out of their intestines. This is because water softens stools and helps stimulate your bowels. Men need around 12 cups of this hydrating beverage a day, and women need 9 cups to prevent dry stools and other constipation issues.

You could also go for a long-distance run to get everything moving in your stomach. Of course, cardio-based exercise gets your heart pumping, which naturally pushes more blood through the gut. Aim to get at least 75–150 minutes of moderate physical activity throughout the week. 

Following a fiber-rich diet can improve your digestive health in the long term. You could eat dark chocolate, ripe bananas, whole grains, and leafy green vegetables. Foods containing resistant starch will ferment in your large intestine and encourage the gut to produce more good bacteria

One last thing to try is fiber supplements that are made to help fight constipation and bloating for people who don’t get enough dietary fiber in their regular diet.

A Word From Our MD

Chocolate is perfectly fine to have when you crave something sweet.

Everyone gets those sugar urges, so don’t be afraid to indulge now and then. There’s a common misconception that just one bite of chocolate will instantly increase the risk of heart disease and other health conditions.

All you need to do is monitor how much chocolate you’re eating and try to reach for dark chocolate when you’re shopping. Of course, the bitter taste might not be your cup of tea, but most types of dark chocolate are great for your long-term bowel, heart, bone, and brain health.

If you do experience constipation regularly, avoid unripe bananas, fast food, white bread, frozen meals, white rice, brown rice, and anything that contains added sugars. People claim that consuming whole grains won’t cause constipation, as the fiber acts as prebiotics for your healthy gut bacteria.

Conclusion

So, does chocolate really cause constipation?

Eating minimal amounts of chocolate shouldn’t harm your gut health. Most people opt for dark chocolate when trying to avoid stomach discomfort. Just make sure to drink lots of water, exercise regularly, and follow a balanced diet to maintain strong bowel fluctuations.

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD
HR_author_photo_Rosmy
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: July 18, 2023
4 min read 1692 Views 0 Comments
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