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Chocolate (100% Cocoa) has been linked to acne. Your experience?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created March 20, 2012 at 6:25 PM

I have been Paleo for a few months and have had occasional flare ups of acne. Its been quite bad these past few days so I went in search of the cause. I heard Chocolate caused acne, but found a study that found no link a few weeks back, so I ruled it out.

I reconsidered my position after thinking about how my Dark Chocolate has increased a lot this past week and my flare ups have increased at the same time. After finding another hack with a similar experience to mine I did some research on google and found the following article describing a study that found a link:

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/737037

How has your experience with chocolate been? Has it caused acne for you? Now that I think about it the flare ups have always coincided with my intake of chocolate.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on October 22, 2012
at 10:33 AM

Worse yet, Lindt started using barley malt in a lot of their flavored stuff! Luckily their pure chocolate bars don't have it. (That's the left over scum at the bottom of the barrel after fermentation used for beer, so it's full of the toxins from yeast along with gluten barley analogs!)

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:42 PM

I have no idea, but if you find you are sensitive to caffeine elsewhere, I'd place my money on that! Like others have said, sugar and caffeine (and maybe soy and milk?) are triggers for some. In my case it's the feelings of stress that follow caffine :/ What a bummer!

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on March 22, 2012
at 02:38 PM

so eat the sugar alone. Sugar is also in whole foods, so how can this be a problem. It's tiny amount of sugar in 85 %

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 05:44 PM

I am wondering if its some additive in Lindt that is not listed as an ingredient or I am just sensitive since I never did a Whole30.

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:57 PM

If you're only eating one square per day, then I doubt sugar is the problem. My own experience was that when I gave up sugar, grains, and seed oils, I stopped getting acne, even though I eat other things sometimes associated with it like dairy and chocolate.

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:32 AM

It does, but not much. I eat 85% Lindt bars which has about 1 gram of sugar per square. When I was still transitioning I ate about 10 grams of sugar per day to get me by and my acne was fine.

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:31 AM

I am having the same problem with the same brand! 85% Lindt Bars and breaking out on the forehead. I don't eat quite that much but I have been eating a few squares a day. I wonder if its the quality of chocolate in Lindt? They are not known for quality.

A2c38be4c54c91a15071f82f14cac0b3

(12682)

on March 20, 2012
at 09:55 PM

Absolutely. And this was my experience with 85% and 99%.

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11 Answers

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2
C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 20, 2012
at 07:14 PM

I'm noticing the same reaction in myself, and I think it's the caffeine!

I don't know how much dark chocolate has, but I have the 85% Lindt bars and they make me quite hyperactive. I've noticed myself breaking out in small pimples on my forehead after eating them, which is usually something that happens with stress. Caffeine makes me feel stressed out so I think it might be the cause (quite sensitive to it). Stopped eating it and the pimples are dying down.

It's probably the quantity I eat too... I mean the fact that it's all cocoa is not enough to deter me from chomping through nearly the whole bar. I make myself sick on it and get really jittery and crazy and later, stressed out.

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:31 AM

I am having the same problem with the same brand! 85% Lindt Bars and breaking out on the forehead. I don't eat quite that much but I have been eating a few squares a day. I wonder if its the quality of chocolate in Lindt? They are not known for quality.

C513f1dba19e01bbd7e0f4f12b243a97

(670)

on March 22, 2012
at 07:42 PM

I have no idea, but if you find you are sensitive to caffeine elsewhere, I'd place my money on that! Like others have said, sugar and caffeine (and maybe soy and milk?) are triggers for some. In my case it's the feelings of stress that follow caffine :/ What a bummer!

3
744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

on March 20, 2012
at 07:01 PM

Does your chocolate have sugar in it? For me, at least, it's not the chocolate, it's the sugar. I eat 99% dark chocolate (Scharffenberger) with no problems.

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 11:32 AM

It does, but not much. I eat 85% Lindt bars which has about 1 gram of sugar per square. When I was still transitioning I ate about 10 grams of sugar per day to get me by and my acne was fine.

7660f5a0ec906d3922d79b20f3434ecc

(788)

on March 21, 2012
at 05:44 PM

I am wondering if its some additive in Lindt that is not listed as an ingredient or I am just sensitive since I never did a Whole30.

744f86f48c92d4f89d99d7ddb864231e

(193)

on March 21, 2012
at 03:57 PM

If you're only eating one square per day, then I doubt sugar is the problem. My own experience was that when I gave up sugar, grains, and seed oils, I stopped getting acne, even though I eat other things sometimes associated with it like dairy and chocolate.

35a8b223ae5d863f17a8c9e3a8eed5eb

(571)

on March 22, 2012
at 02:38 PM

so eat the sugar alone. Sugar is also in whole foods, so how can this be a problem. It's tiny amount of sugar in 85 %

2
0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f

on March 20, 2012
at 11:21 PM

Going low-carbish paleo cleared my (adult, cystic) acne in a month, that was over three years ago. I introduced 100% dark Ghirardelli about a year ago -- your mileage may vary, but I've still had no skin problems in all this time.

Caffeine, soy lecithin and sugar seem to be triggers for some people.

1
793d5410141153932ed5654382a41730

(213)

on March 22, 2012
at 12:18 PM

Any chocolate that has soy lecithin makes me break out. I tried making my own chocolate which solved that.

1
Medium avatar

(19469)

on March 21, 2012
at 08:05 PM

I eat approximately 1oz of 100% chocolate (Baker's) daily and have had no issues with acne. I have noticed a relationship with dairy consumption and skin problems however.

Perhaps milk, soy, sugar or other ingredients found in chocolate bars (with less than 100% cacao) are confounding factors in your chocolate-breakout experience?

1
7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on March 21, 2012
at 01:49 PM

I think it is the soy lecithin. Lindt changed their recipe last year and started including soy lecithin in some of their bars that hadn't had them previously. When I can find bars that are free of grains, legumes, and dairy, I have zero problems, even if there is more sugar in them than I like. I find bars that don't list them as ingredients but mention they are made in factories that use them- these sometimes cause problems, sometimes they don't as one might guess.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on October 22, 2012
at 10:33 AM

Worse yet, Lindt started using barley malt in a lot of their flavored stuff! Luckily their pure chocolate bars don't have it. (That's the left over scum at the bottom of the barrel after fermentation used for beer, so it's full of the toxins from yeast along with gluten barley analogs!)

1
Ef4c5b09fdccf73be575d3a0c267fdd9

(2539)

on March 20, 2012
at 07:01 PM

I have eaten a piece of 85% dark chocolate about 5 times a week or used raw cacao powder in coffee or smoothies for the past 3 weeks and my skin looks great... I have also been super stressed with my thesis and still my skin looks great... Maybe the phytic acid is a thing for some people. I do eat oysters and liver at least once a week so my mineral status is probs good. With acne and skin issues... it's always individual and YMMV.

0
61879e455c2558d2d95839fa4c90efd1

on September 02, 2013
at 02:15 AM

I studied molecular biology as my degree. I never believe the teaching of Chinese herbalist that some foods are "cold" and some foods are "hot" even I am a Chinese, because western medical science has no such thing. I used to eat lots (I really mean a lots) of chocolate every day several years ago and had no break out because my body was "cold". However after taking about a year of Chinese herbal medicine, my body has changed to "hot". Now, even I eat a few pieces of chocolate or eat foods that are "hot", such as red pepper powder, I have break out or pimples without a few hours after ingestion.

I general, why do chocolate cause pimples. It is because cocoa beans were roasted before they are grinded into powder. Anything roasted or deeply fried, according to Chinese herbal medicine absorbed the "heat" during the roasting or frying process. That means the chocolate absorbed the "heat" during roasting. When we eat chocolate, the heat is considered "toxins" by the body and must be get rid of or released. One of the ways the body get rid of wastes/toxins is through the skin. So that is why eating "hot" stuffs, like chocolate, deeply fried foods, roasted chocolate bars, roasted nuts and so forth can cause pimples to some individuals, particular those have "hot" body.

0
Cb46e0af50e2490abacc004d26a2af08

on October 22, 2012
at 03:11 AM

Cocoa isn't causing the acne. It's the lecithin that's mixed with the cocoa and sugar. Take lecithin out of the equation and you can enjoy chocolate without getting acne.

0
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19413)

on March 22, 2012
at 09:51 AM

I can be a chocolate fiend, but only eat 85%+, though rarely that low, it's mostly either 100% Ghirardelli baking bars, or 90% Lindt. I also use about a teaspoon or two of unsweetened cocoa in coffee daily. Never had an issue with acne from it.

However, recently, I've had two cups of goat's milk kefir in one sitting because it's been sitting around in the fridge for too long and didn't want it to go bad - had acne the next day. Not a lot, just a zit or two on my arm and one on my belly.

If I dip lower than 85%, and eat more than a few squares - i.e. white chocolate, I do see acne form the next day, sometimes as boils.

Are we sure it's the chocolate and not the dairy? Or perhaps chocolate when there's dairy in the diet as well? I'm a bit skeptical of this article - at least for this n=1. :)

0
0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on March 20, 2012
at 07:16 PM

Is it possible that is due to phytic acid content? I associate acne and leaky gut, in my mind.

Personally, no ill effects from a square of 90% here and there. I'm not a big fan though, so I'm not consuming much.

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