Yeast in Chocolate

by Allergy Guy

Does chocolate contain yeast?

The short answer is yes.  It doesn’t necessarily have a lot of yeast in it, depending on how it is processed.  It may or may not be enough to be a problem for you.

Also, most chocolate has a lot of sugar in it, which is also bad if you are on a yeast-free and “don’t feed the yeast” diet.

Other ingredients added to some chocolate bars may include additional yeast.

The main culprit is maltose and other similar ingredients. Maltose is a fermented product, usually made from barley. Fermentation in this case involves yeast.

“Surely” you may be thinking to yourself, “chocolate doesn’t have yeast in it!”  Here’s why chocolate has at least some yeast in it.

Thanks to Samantha Madell for her cocoa processing article, and several other sources, I now have the following information to share with you about cocoa processing and the involvement of yeast.

Cocoa beans are at the center of a pulpy fruit.  These beans do not have the familiar chocolate taste we are used to.

The beans and surrounding pulp are removed from the fruit.

At this first stage of fermentation, air is excluded, which is perfect for the growth of yeasts.  Wild yeasts, probably from the outside of the fruit, drive the fermentation process.

Note that this is not baker’s or brewer’s yeast.  If you have a yeast allergy, or suffer from Candida, they types of yeasts found in chocolate may not be a problem for you.  On the other hand, they may trigger your allergy, and eating chocolate is not, strictly speaking, a yeast-free activity.

After about a day, air is allowed into the fermentation process and the bacteria take over.  This is the second stage of cocoa fermentation.

Chocolate may contain mold. The cocoa beans are then dried.  This has to be done properly or mold will develop. If you have a mold allergy, this may be an important factor.

After drying, the beans are roasted, then ground into cocoa mass – pure chocolate.  From here it is further processed and other ingredients are added to form the final product (cocoa power, chocolate bars etc.)

Conclusion

So should you eat chocolate if you have a yeast allergy?

The answer is not so easy.  The yeasts used in fermenting chocolate are not the same we are most commonly exposed to in bread, beer and other common foods with yeast in them.  But yeast is still involved.

You will have to use your own discretion when deciding whether or not to eat chocolate.

If you want to be very safe, don’t eat chocolate.

If you are willing to experiment, try cutting out chocolate for a while, and see if you feel any different, then reintroduce it.  If you decide to do this, be sure that other parts of your life are yeast-free.

 


 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Guest February 17, 2009 at 20:56

Yeast allergy

Items that are related to/may contain yeast also needs to contain potatoes.
Our ND tested for “Yeast Family” in allergy testing and included potatoes in her list.

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2 Guest March 6, 2010 at 12:42

Yeast In Chocolate

The main ingredient in chocolate is actually a fermented product. In the creation of chocolate liquor, yeast, lactic acid bacteria, and acetic acid bacteria all play a major role. Unless there is a lot of processing, there is definitely yeast in chocolate.

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3 Rob April 13, 2011 at 22:34

What about the “No added sugar” chocolates that are mainly 70% cocoa?

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4 Allergy Guy April 14, 2011 at 08:12

“No added sugar” does not necessarily mean “no sugar”. Marketers often twist the language, so read the ingredients and see if there is sugar in one form or another (sucrose, glucose, high fructose corn syrup etc.)

Regardless, as the article explains, there will probably be some yeast in the chocolate itself.

This does not mean “don’t eat it”, it means proceed with caution and listen to your body. It may not work for you.

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5 Brian November 12, 2011 at 21:12

If your allergy involves ‘wild yeast’ but not bakers yeast, then chocolate is not advisable. The yeast is whatever drops into the bin and likes to grow on cocoa. Is there yeast in fermented cocoa? Hell yes.

Oh, could it be ‘processed out’? No. Allergies involve tiny amounts of the allergen. There are very few (or zero) purification mechanisms known that can remove every molecule of an antigen from a foodstuff.

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6 Maria October 26, 2012 at 20:05

I want to thank you for this article. My allergies have been getting worse and worse over the last 4 years and I have had testing done for wheat & cocoa (amongst many other things) and both came back negative. Not to mention 3yrs ago I had ulcers that developed in my mouth out of nowhere, but then they were linked with a chocolate allergy (but like I said the blood test came back that I actually am not allergic to chocolate). After eating any type of breads, cakes, pies etc. I bloat up and have severe nasal congestation, like i’ve just come into contact with a cat (allergic to those as well) But now I realize I need to have them test me for yeast. Thanks

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7 Allergy Guy October 30, 2012 at 23:19

Remember, allergy tests are a guide. You may get false positives (results say you are allergic when not), or false negatives (results say you are not allergic, when you are). The ultimate test is: do you feel better when you avoid a particular food or not? Keep that in mind as you adjust your diet.

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8 Anette May 24, 2015 at 11:45

I came across this thread after searching ‘can there be yeast in choclolate?’. Long story short: I have seemingly been infected with Candida krusei, a rare and very resistant candida. I was very surprised to Google krusei and discover that not only does it occur naturally in the cacao plant, but many chocolatiers use it in the processing of chocolate, as it breaks down the bitterness. I have lately bought and eaten a lot of chocolate that is supposedly naturally sugar-free (just debittered), and I have also been eating raw cacao nibs and beans… so I suspect I have found the culprits. I was curious about whether there could actually still be yeast in the processed chocolate itself… and it seems the answer may be yes!

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