Why Does Chocolate Make Me Sneeze?

If you’re one of the many people who find themselves sneezing after consuming chocolate, you’re not alone. While it may seem like a strange and rare occurrence, there are quite a few of us who experience this seemingly random reaction to one of our favorite treats.

The condition is known as “chocolate sneeze reflex,” and it’s a relatively common phenomenon. It occurs when the “trigeminal” nerve in the face is stimulated, causing an involuntary sneeze.

In other words, eating chocolate can sometimes tickle the nerve endings in your nose and throat, leading to a sudden sneeze.

The Phenomenon of Sneezing After Eating Chocolate

Have you ever experienced sneezing after eating chocolate? You’re not alone. While it’s not a common reaction, many people have reported sneezing fits after indulging in this beloved treat. But what’s the reason behind this phenomenon?

One theory is that the compounds in chocolate, specifically “phenylethylamine” and “theobromine”, may irritate the nasal passages and trigger a sneeze. Another possibility is that chocolate contains traces of mold which can cause an allergic reaction, including sneezing.

Additionally, some people may have an underlying sensitivity to the chemicals found in chocolate, which can also induce sneezing. This sensitivity can vary from person to person and may be related to their overall immune system health and genetics. On a related note, I’ve written an incredible article that delves into the number of calories in a peanut butter sandwich. If you’re interested, you won’t want to pass up the opportunity to read it.

It’s worth noting that sneezing after eating chocolate is usually harmless and doesn’t pose any danger. However, if you experience other symptoms such as itching, hives, or difficulty breathing, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.

If you find yourself sneezing after eating chocolate, it’s likely nothing to worry about. Enjoy your chocolate treats in moderation and if you experience any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to speak with your healthcare provider.

What Causes Sneezing from Eating Chocolate?

If you’ve ever sneezed after biting into a piece of chocolate, you’re not alone. It’s a common phenomenon that has puzzled many chocolate lovers over the years. So what exactly causes this weird reaction?

One possibility is that you’re allergic to chocolate. But if that were the case, you’d likely experience other symptoms like itching, hives, or even anaphylaxis. Sneezing alone is not typically a sign of a chocolate allergy.

Another theory is that the sneeze reflex is triggered by an irritant in chocolate. Chocolate contains a compound called phenylethylamine (PEA) which has been found to cause nasal irritation and sneezing in some people. Additionally, chocolate can contain traces of mold or dust, both of which can also irritate the nose. Before we move on… I’ve just published a brilliant article that provides comprehensive information on the sodium levels in ramen noodles. It’s a must-read for ramen lovers.

It’s also worth noting that some people are simply more prone to sneezing from any kind of stimulation to the nasal passages. This is known as the photic sneeze reflex, or ACHOO syndrome (acronym for Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst syndrome). In these individuals, sneezing can be triggered by a variety of stimuli, such as bright lights, cold air, or even a full stomach.

Sneezing after eating chocolate is likely caused by an irritant in the chocolate or by an individual’s heightened sneeze reflex. While it’s not harmful, it can be a bit of a nuisance for chocolate lovers.

Many people report similar symptoms, leaving them puzzled about the connection between the two. As an expert in the field, I’ve been asked about this phenomenon several times and wanted to dive deeper into the topic.

So, why does chocolate make us sneeze? The main culprit seems to be a chemical compound called phenylethylamine (PEA), which is found in cocoa powder and chocolate. PEA is known to stimulate the production of histamine and trigger an allergic reaction, which can include sneezing, itching, and a runny nose.

However, it’s worth noting that not everyone reacts to chocolate in the same way. While some people may experience sneezing, others may not notice any effects at all. It may depend on individual sensitivity and their immune system response.

Cocoa AllergySome individuals may be allergic to cocoa, which is a primary ingredient in chocolate, triggering allergic reactions.
Histamine ResponseChocolate contains histamine-releasing compounds that can cause sneezing in individuals sensitive to histamine.
Sensitivity to PhenylethylaminePhenylethylamine, a compound found in chocolate, can stimulate sneezing in individuals who are sensitive to it.
Cross-ReactivityPeople with pollen allergies may experience sneezing when consuming chocolate due to cross-reactivity between proteins.
Migraine TriggersChocolate contains substances like tyramine that can act as triggers for migraines, which may include sneezing.
Temperature or AromaSome individuals may be more sensitive to the temperature or aroma of chocolate, which can induce sneezing reflexes.

Moreover, the type of chocolate you eat can also make a difference. Dark chocolate typically contains higher amounts of PEA than milk chocolate, which means it may be more likely to cause symptoms. Additionally, some chocolates may contain additives such as dairy, nuts, or artificial flavors that could also trigger allergies and sneezing.

To avoid sneezing fits after eating chocolate, there are a few things you can try. For instance, you may want to reduce your intake of PEA-rich dark chocolate or switch to milk chocolate instead.

Additionally, reading the labels carefully to identify any potential allergens is crucial. If you have a severe allergy to chocolate or any of its ingredients, it’s best to avoid it altogether. Allow me to share some intriguing information! I’ve recently pinned an excellent article that explores the alkaline nature of almond milk. It’s a must-read for those interested in the topic.

To wrap it up and summarize, sneezing after eating chocolate is a relatively common phenomenon that can be attributed to the presence of PEA in chocolate.

However, whether or not you experience this reaction may depend on individual sensitivity and the type of chocolate you consumed. If you’re prone to allergies or have a known allergy to chocolate, it’s essential to take the necessary precautions when consuming chocolate to avoid any unwanted symptoms.

The Difference Between Cocoa and Chocolate

When discussing chocolate and its effects on the body, it’s important to understand the difference between cocoa and chocolate. Cocoa refers to the seed of the cacao tree that has been harvested, fermented, dried, and roasted. Chocolate, on the other hand, is made from cocoa, along with other ingredients such as sugar, milk, and sometimes additional flavorings.

Cocoa contains several phytochemicals, including flavonoids, which are known for their potential health benefits. Flavanols are a specific type of flavonoid that have been shown to improve circulation and heart health. Cocoa also contains caffeine and theobromine, which are stimulants that can increase energy and mental alertness.

When cocoa is processed into chocolate, many of its potential health benefits can be lost due to the addition of sugar and other ingredients. Milk chocolate, which contains milk solids and sugar, has a lower percentage of cocoa than dark chocolate, which is made with little to no milk and has a higher percentage of cocoa solids.

In general, the darker the chocolate, the higher the percentage of cocoa, which means a higher concentration of flavanols and other potentially beneficial phytochemicals. However, it’s important to keep in mind that even dark chocolate can be high in fat and sugar, and should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

Here are some key differences between cocoa and chocolate:

  • Cocoa is the seed of the cacao tree that has been harvested, fermented, dried, and roasted.
  • Chocolate is made from cocoa, along with other ingredients such as sugar, milk, and additional flavorings.
  • Cocoa contains flavanols, caffeine, and theobromine, which can provide potential health benefits such as improved circulation and mental alertness.
  • Dark chocolate has a higher percentage of cocoa solids than milk chocolate and may contain higher levels of flavanols and other beneficial phytochemicals.
  • Chocolate should be consumed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Understanding the difference between cocoa and chocolate can help you make informed decisions about what types of chocolate to consume and how much to eat. By choosing dark chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa solids and being mindful of your overall sugar and fat intake, you can enjoy the potential health benefits of chocolate without overindulging.

I’ve written a phenomenal article that discusses the ideal time for keeping shrimp in the freezer. You’ll find it quite informative and insightful.

Other foods that can trigger sneezing

While chocolate is a well-known trigger for some individuals, it is not the only food that can cause sneezing. Here are some other foods that may be potential culprits:

  • Spices: Spicy foods can irritate the nasal passages and lead to sneezing. Some common culprits include pepper, ginger, and cinnamon.
  • Alcohol: Many alcoholic beverages, particularly red wine, contain histamines that can cause sneezing in some individuals.
  • Citrus fruits: Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruits contain natural histamines that can cause sneezing in some allergy-prone individuals.
  • Pickles and fermented foods: These foods contain high levels of histamine and other compounds that can trigger sneezing in some people.
  • Processed foods: Many processed foods, including packaged snack foods and fast food, contain additives and preservatives that can trigger sneezing in some individuals.

Remember that everyone is different and can have varying reactions to different foods. If you notice that certain foods consistently lead to sneezing or other allergy symptoms, it may be helpful to keep a food diary and discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider. Additionally, avoiding known triggers, such as the ones mentioned above, may help to alleviate symptoms.

Attention, please! I’ve written an amazing article that delves into the question of whether mushrooms can cause gas. Feel free to check it out whenever you can.

Is Sneezing After Eating Chocolate Dangerous?

Sneezing after eating chocolate can be unpleasant and inconvenient, but is it dangerous? The short answer is no. While it may be a sign of an underlying condition or allergy, sneezing alone is not harmful.

However fellas, if you all experience other symptoms along with sneezing after eating chocolate, such as hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, you may be having an allergic reaction. In this case, seek medical attention immediately.

It’s also important to note that some studies have linked chocolate to migraines, which can cause headaches, nausea, and other symptoms. If you experience migraines after eating chocolate, it may be a sign that you should avoid consuming it in the future.

In addition, sneezing after eating chocolate may be a sign of a condition called gustatory rhinitis, which is characterized by a runny, congested nose that occurs after eating or drinking. This condition is more common in adults and may be caused by spicy or hot foods, alcohol, or temperature changes. It is generally not harmful and can be managed with over-the-counter antihistamines or nasal sprays.

Yes, sneezing after eating chocolate may be uncomfortable, it is not usually dangerous. However, if you experience other symptoms or medical conditions, it is important to consult with your healthcare provider to determine the underlying cause.

How to prevent sneezing after eating chocolate

Avoid triggers

If you know that chocolate makes you sneeze, try to avoid eating it altogether. You could substitute it with other types of sweet treats that don’t seem to have the same effect on you. Some people only experience sneezing with certain types of chocolate, so you could try avoiding those specific variations.

Eat in small amounts

If you can’t resist chocolate altogether, try eating in small amounts. Eating a small piece of chocolate at a time may help reduce the allergic reaction.

Rinse your mouth

Rinsing your mouth with water after eating chocolate can help to remove any residual chocolate that may trigger sneezing. Some people also find it helpful to brush their teeth and tongue after eating chocolate, to increase the effectiveness of the rinse.

Seek medical advice

If your sneezing is severe or causes other reactions, you should seek medical advice. A medical professional will be able to help you determine the cause of your allergy or sensitivity to chocolate and provide appropriate advice and treatment.

It’s important to remember that while chocolate sneezing may be unpleasant, it’s usually not a serious condition. With a few simple precautions, you can still enjoy your favorite chocolate treats without worrying about sneezing.

Can you still enjoy chocolate despite the sneezing?

If you’re like me, you may find yourself asking this question whenever you reach for a chocolate bar…😒 Sneezing after eating chocolate can be a frustrating experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to give up chocolate altogether.

Here’s what you should know:

  • There is no evidence that chocolate is harmful to people who sneeze after eating it. Chocolate is generally safe for consumption, and there are no known harmful effects associated with sneezing after eating it.
  • The sneezing may be related to a sensitivity to cocoa or another ingredient in the chocolate. Some people may be allergic or sensitive to cocoa, dairy, or other ingredients commonly found in chocolate products. Sneezing may be a symptom of this sensitivity but is often not the only symptom.
  • Limiting your chocolate intake may help reduce sneezing. If you notice that you tend to sneeze more after eating chocolate, try limiting your intake or switching to a different type of chocolate that contains fewer or different ingredients.
  • There are alternative chocolate products available for those with allergies or sensitivities. If you have a known allergy or sensitivity to chocolate, there are alternative chocolate products available that are free from common allergens such as dairy or nuts.

Sneezing after eating chocolate can be bothersome, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to cut chocolate out of your diet altogether. While it’s important to pay attention to your body’s reactions and limit your intake if necessary, there are alternative chocolate products available for those with allergies or sensitivities.

When to Seek Medical Attention

While sneezing after eating chocolate is usually harmless, in some cases, it may indicate an underlying medical condition. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention:

Severe sneezing

If you experience intense and persistent sneezing spells after consuming chocolate, it could be because of an allergy to cocoa or other chocolate ingredients.

But first… I’ve just published a brilliant article that provides in-depth information on the number of calories in a peanut butter sandwich. It’s a must-read for those watching their calorie intake.

Difficulty Breathing

If you have trouble breathing or feel tightness in your chest after eating chocolate, it could be a sign of anaphylaxis, which is a severe and potentially life-threatening allergic reaction.

Hives or rash

An allergic reaction to chocolate may also trigger the onset of hives or a rash on different parts of your body.


Swelling of the face, lips, or tongue is another sign of a severe allergic reaction. If you experience swelling or difficulty speaking, seek medical attention immediately.

Abdominal pain

If chocolate consumption leads to abdominal pain, it could be a sign of irritable bowel syndrome or a sugar allergy.


Consumption of chocolate may trigger migraines in some people. If you have a history of migraines, consult with your doctor before consuming chocolate.

Asthma symptoms

If you have asthma, consuming chocolate may trigger asthma symptoms like wheezing or coughing.

It’s important to note that while sneezing after consuming chocolate may be a nuisance, it’s generally not a cause for concern. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, it’s best to seek medical attention promptly. Your doctor can perform allergy tests to help determine the specific trigger and offer treatment options.

Why do some people sneeze after eating chocolate?

Some individuals may experience sneezing after consuming chocolate due to a condition known as “chocolate sensitivity.” It is believed that certain components present in chocolate, such as phenylethylamine or theobromine, can trigger an allergic-like reaction in some people, resulting in sneezing.

Is sneezing after eating chocolate considered an allergy?

Not necessarily. Sneezing after consuming chocolate is often not classified as a true allergy but rather a sensitivity or intolerance. True allergies involve the immune system, while chocolate-induced sneezing is typically a non-allergic response.

Can sneezing after eating chocolate be a symptom of a more serious condition?

In most cases, sneezing after consuming chocolate is not indicative of a serious underlying condition. However, if you experience other severe symptoms such as difficulty breathing, hives, or swelling, it is important to consult a healthcare professional, as it may be a sign of a more severe allergy or intolerance.

Can the amount of chocolate consumed affect the likelihood of sneezing?

Yes, the quantity of chocolate consumed can influence the likelihood of experiencing sneezing. Some individuals may be more sensitive to chocolate than others, so consuming larger amounts may increase the chances of triggering a sneezing episode.

Are there specific types of chocolate that are more likely to cause sneezing?

While any type of chocolate can potentially trigger sneezing, dark chocolate is often reported to be more likely to cause this reaction. This could be due to the higher concentrations of theobromine and phenylethylamine found in dark chocolate compared to milk or white chocolate.

Is there a difference between sneezing caused by chocolate and a chocolate allergy?

Yes, there is a distinction between sneezing caused by chocolate and a chocolate allergy. Sneezing is typically associated with a non-allergic reaction or sensitivity, whereas a chocolate allergy involves a more pronounced immune response and can lead to various symptoms beyond sneezing, such as itching, rash, or gastrointestinal distress.

Are there any other symptoms that may accompany sneezing after eating chocolate?

While sneezing is the primary symptom reported by individuals with chocolate sensitivity, some people may also experience other mild symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes, or an itchy throat.

Can chocolate sensitivity develop later in life?

Yes, it is possible for chocolate sensitivity to develop later in life, even if you have previously consumed chocolate without any issues. Sensitivities and intolerances can emerge at any age, so it’s important to pay attention to how your body reacts to certain foods.

Should I see a doctor if I frequently sneeze after eating chocolate?

If sneezing after eating chocolate is the only symptom you experience, it is typically not a cause for concern. However, if the sneezing is accompanied by severe symptoms, or if you are unsure about the cause, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation and guidance.

My 2 cents

Chocolate-induced sneezing is a real phenomenon that affects a small proportion of the population. Through research, we have learned that the culprit behind this reaction is likely due to the cocoa powder or certain chemicals found in chocolate that can irritate the nasal passages of some individuals.

While the exact cause of chocolate-induced sneezing is not fully understood, it’s important to note that this reaction is typically harmless and does not require any treatment. For those who experience this reaction but still want to enjoy chocolate, opting for white chocolate or chocolate with lower cocoa content may be a solution.

Additionally, it’s always a good idea to talk to a healthcare professional if you experience any concerning symptoms after consuming chocolate or any other food.

Stay safe my dear readers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *