Is Chocolate Flammable?

In this article we will discuss the following: “Is Chocolate Flammable?”, and other important doubts you may have.

Is Chocolate Flammable?

Yes, chocolate is flammable. Most solid foods possess at least some level of flammability because they are organic, and chocolate is no different. Even so, a chocolate bar is unlikely to start a fire in your place so don’t worry.

What is chocolate?

Chocolate is a food. It is made from rusted and milled cacao pods.

Cacao seeds alone have a bitter taste. They require some fermentation time before processing. After that, they get dried, roasted, and their skin (shells) are removed.

After being grounded, the grains can be heated to produce chocolate liquor, which can be processed again to produce cocoa solids and cocoa butter, the cocoa major products.

There are many types of chocolate, but they can be more or less divided into 3 kinds.

  • Sweet chocolate

This is made of cocoa solids, cocoa butter, vegetable oils, and sugar.

Milk chocolate is nothing more than sweet chocolate with the addition of milk powder and/or condensed milk.

  • Baking chocolate

It’s made with cocoa butter and cocoa solids in various proportions, but normally doesn’t have sugar added.

  • White chocolate

White chocolate doesn’t have cocoa solids in its formation but has cocoa butter, sugar, and milk. 

Hence why it doesn’t have a dark color.

Chocolate ingredients

Chocolate liquor

Chocolate liquor is one of the rawest forms of chocolate. It gives birth to nearly all types of chocolate.

Here’s a small list of its constituents (the proportion is in mass):

  • Cocoa butter (53%)

It’s fat extracted from the beans. It presents a pale-yellow color, not dark at all. As you probably know, fats are normally very flammable.

  • Carbohydrates (17%)

These compounds are used by the plants to store energy and as structural components, hence why they have a lot of calories and are considered villains in our diet.

  • Proteins (11%)

Proteins are the structural components of our own bodies and of other animals.

  • Tannins (6%)

Tannins are an important group of antioxidants, commonly found in fruits. They give an astringent flavor to wines.

  • Theobromine (1.5%)

This compound is very similar to caffeine.

Sugar

Sugar is just a simpler form of carbohydrate. The only difference between bread and the sugar from a sugar bowl is that sugar can be more easily used by our cells to harvest energy.

Both carbohydrates and sugars will eventually be transformed into glucose in our cells. The only difference is that sugar has more calories than bread if you eat the same weight of both.

For example, a large slice of bread (30g) has the same calories as more or less 3 teaspoons of sugar (11g).

Other carbohydrates

These are other carbohydrates naturally occurring inside the cocoa seeds. They would have been used as energy by the seed so it could germinate (create its first stem and leaves).

Calories

Have you ever wondered how calories are measured?

If you still have doubts that foods are flammable, we hope this will help you.

Calories are a measure of the energy in foods. A piece of food is tested in a lab using many methods, one for each ingredient.

Carbs are usually the easiest to deal with. Their calories are calculated by how much water a piece of food heats. This is done by burning a sample of food in a controlled environment.

Since the water weight is known, by measuring the temperature before and after it is possible to quickly understand how much heat the fire has generated.

And here’s the important part: the amount of heat generated in the burning is similar to the energy we get by digesting food.

So, foods are so flammable that chemists and other professionals burn them to understand how caloric the food is.

Chocolate Flammability

Most things we eat are going to catch fire if we put flames directly on them.

Of course, this depends upon a lot of stuff. Like, a dish of pasta would not catch fire because pasta hydrates after we soak it in water and boil it, but it can light up easily in its dried form.

We could say that water acts as a fire-retardant compound.

Likewise, ingredients that are flammable themselves, such as fats and oils, will make food turn out to be more flammable.

Cocoa in its dried and butter form is very flammable itself. Sugar and other carbohydrates also present some flammability. Chocolate, therefore, is also flammable.

Other sources of oil may also be added to form chocolate.

Is chocolate a fire hazard?

No, it’s not. Chocolate is combustible like most types of food but is not likely to start a fire under domestic conditions.

Supermarkets (and any kind of warehouse that stores big quantities of it), although, are always concerned about it, but not more worried than they’re with flour, bread, dried grains, cleansing products, and many other flammable things. It’s just their day-to-day.

As you can see from this video, chocolate can ignite easily if an ignition source is provided.

If I let a chocolate bar melt in my pocket, would it catch fire after I open it?

This is a very good question. If the chocolate is melted, it would present a higher temperature, which can surely stimulate that it will catch fire. 

Melting would also increase the chocolate’s surface area and facilitate that volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released, which combined with the fact that it’s now liquid, would boost the flammability.

But it doesn’t mean that milk with chocolate (the drink) would be very flammable. We actually expect near-zero flammability due to the amount of water milk has.

The milk’s fats and sugars alone would present a high level of flammability as well.

But again: direct flames ought to do it, so at the end of the day, melted chocolate is not much more flammable than before melting.

Conclusion

For a piece of chocolate to catch fire, someone would have to facilitate so that scenario would happen. Unless a piece of chocolate is exposed directly to flames, it shouldn’t burn. 

But in an eventual fire, chocolates would definitely be a fire hazard. They have a good amount of fats and oils, which can be very flammable in that condition.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS): Is Chocolate Flammable?

Is chocolate healthy?

Chocolates can be healthy. They usually have a good deal of antioxidants, especially flavonoids and alkaloids, which can be beneficial for our body’s defenses against oxygen-reactive species.

But chocolate also could be a factor for heartburn, it could be naturally poisoned with lead, and could increase the risk of kidney stones. Some of these conditions depend on previous risk factors and will not be a problem if the consumption is moderated.

At least, the biggest nutritional problem of chocolate is that it has a lot of sugar on it. The healthiest choices would be dark and baking chocolates.

Why chocolate is bad for dogs?

Chocolates have an antioxidant named theobromine. Unlike us, dogs can’t metabolize it. Sugar and fat are also problems that can make dogs ill.

If a dog ate a piece of chocolate, there’s no way to be sure if has ingested a toxic dose or not. The best thing to do is search for a vet immediately.

Is chocolate good for pregnancy?

With moderation, yes. Chocolate is safe to be consumed during pregnancy. It can serve as a relief from stress and anxiety, which shouldn’t be taken for granted.

But caution is advised. Too much sugar could lead to many problems for both mom and baby, including gestational diabetes and preterm birth.

Caffeine is another important concern since it could lead to miscarriages. 

Citations

https://www.carolina.com/teacher-resources/Interactive/food-calorimetry+/tr23949.tr
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chocolate
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_butter
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbohydrate
https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/5429#section=GHS-Classification

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