Can You Eat Chocolate on a Gluten-Free Diet?

Chocolate brownie squares on cutting board, top view
Can You Eat Chocolate on a Gluten-Free Diet? (Image: Arx0nt/iStock/GettyImages)

Discovering you need to remove gluten from your diet can be overwhelming. Some foods obviously contain gluten, which is a protein in wheat, barley and rye, while other foods may or may not contain gluten or gluten ingredients. While you need to avoid wheat bread when eating gluten-free, deciding whether or not to eat a food like chocolate can be more complicated.

Tip

You can eat chocolate. However, be careful to identify cross contamination with gluten or chocolate bars that contain extra ingredients containing gluten.

Chocolate With Gluten Ingredients

Although chocolate itself does not contain gluten, it is often mixed with ingredients that do contain this protein. For example, a chocolate candy bar that contains a wafer or other ingredient made from wheat would definitely contain gluten, whereas a plain chocolate bar may not. Gluten-containing ingredients that may be added to chocolate bars, include pretzels and cookies.

Cross Contamination

Not only can chocolate contain gluten if certain ingredients are added, it may also contain gluten if it is contaminated with wheat, barley or rye during processing. For example, if a chocolate bar is manufactured on the same equipment as licorice, which usually contains wheat, it may contain trace amounts of gluten picked up on the equipment. For this reason, many companies that produced wheat products in their facility do not label their chocolate as “gluten-free.”

Certified Gluten-Free Products

A few chocolate products are certified gluten-free by the Gluten Free Certification Organization, which inspects facilities and products to ensure they are gluten-free. One company providing certified gluten free chocolate is Endangered Species. Endangered Species products that are certified gluten-free include the All-Natural Milk Chocolate with Almond bar and the All-Natural Supreme Dark Chocolate bar.

Products Tested for Gluten

Other companies, such as Hain Celestial Group, test their own products to ensure they meet the international standard for gluten-free labeling, which is under 20 parts per million of gluten. Gluten-free chocolate products produced by the Hain Celestial Group include Chocolate Dream bars and chips and Tropical Source bars and chips.

Products Without Gluten Ingredients

Some companies that manufacture both gluten-free and non gluten-free products provide lists of products that contain no gluten ingredients. One such company is Nestle, which states that numerous products are gluten-free, including Toll House Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips and Baby Ruth bars. Cadbury also maintains a list of products that do not contain gluten. Chocolate products on this list include Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury Mini Eggs. Keep in mind that both of these companies also produce products that contain gluten ingredients, so cross contamination may be an issue.

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