Here is a quote I read in the window of an Italian chocolate shop:
Nine out of ten people like chocolate. The tenth is lying.Anonymous
If you are one of the nine (or then tenth!) you may be asking:
Can I have Chocolate on the Low FODMAP diet?
The answer is…Yes! But not too much.
Chocolate and cocoa powder do contain oligosaccharides (GOS and fructans), one of the FODMAP groups. If you look at the nutrition facts label, you will see that it contains a small amount of fiber.
The good news for chocolate lovers is that oligosaccharides are prebiotic fibers that have beneficial effects on our gut. The not-so-good news is that humans lack the enzyme that splits the carbohydrate units into single sugars and we cannot absorb them.
This means that the undigested oligosaccharides travel to the large intestine where they are fermented by our gut bacteria. They are literally their ‘fast food’.
Whereas in most people this does not cause much trouble, people with IBS are more sensitive to the gas production that occurs as a result of the bacterial fermentation, and, even at small doses, these carbohydrates may cause symptoms such as bloating, excess gas, and abdominal pain.
And now, for (more) good news: at small doses, chocolate, and cocoa powder can be tolerated by people with IBS and are allowed even in the strict phase of the low FODMAP diet.
Low FODMAP Chocolate
Monash University analyzed the oligosaccharide content of chocolate and cocoa powder and determined that a “green” serving, which is their way of designating a serving size that is low enough in FODMAPs that can be tolerated, is:
- 1 oz. (30 g) of dark chocolate
- 2/3 of 1 oz. (20g) of 85% dark chocolate
- 2 heaping teaspoons (10 g) of cocoa powder
That’s quite reassuring as 30 grams of dark chocolate is a generous portion and allows you to enjoy a chocolate dessert now and then. And 2 heaping teaspoons of cocoa powder make a nice cup of hot cocoa with either lactose-free or almond milk.
Another reason to not overindulge in chocolate is that it is high in fat (about 7-12 g per ounce) and, in some people with IBS, high-fat loads lead to gastrointestinal distress.
This Valentine’s Day, skip the asparagus (high in another FODMAP, fructose) and try these Mayan Chocolate Truffles. They are low in FODMAPs (at the specified serving), lactose-free, easy to prepare, and most important of all, unapologetically delicious!
Mayan Chocolate Truffles
6 oz. 60-70% chocolate, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon chili powder
¼ plus 1/8 cup unsweetened almond milk
½ teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder to coat truffles
- In a glass or stainless-steel mixing bowl, toss chopped chocolate with the cinnamon, chili powder, and salt.
- Heat up the almond milk over low to moderate heat; when the almond milk is hot, turn the heat off. Dissolve the cornstarch in 1-2 teaspoons of water and add it to the almond milk.
- Pour almond milk over the chopped chocolate and stir continuously with a wooden spoon until the chocolate is thoroughly melted and the mixture becomes thick and uniform.
- Transfer the mixture to a plate lined with parchment paper and, with the help of a spatula, shape it into a rectangle about ½-inch thick. Make sure to have enough parchment so that you can fold it over and cover the chocolate. Refrigerate until it hardens, at least 30 minutes.
- After the chocolate has hardened, remove it, unmold it from the parchment paper, set it on a cutting board, and cut it into 24 squares (they won’t be perfect but that’s ok, in fact, it makes the truffles look rustic).
- Put the cacao powder on a plate and toss the chunks until partially, if not fully, coated.
Yield: 24 truffles (1 serving = up to 4 truffles)
Author: Antonella Dewell, Registered Dietitian & Natural Chef