The acid reflux occurs when stomach acid reflux into the esophagus. The food you eat affects the amount of acid your stomach produces. So eating the right types of food is key to managing acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), a severe and chronic form of acid reflux.

We have all experienced acid reflux at one time or another. It’s the regurgitation of sour food and the burning sensation that seems to travel from your chest through your throat, and into your mouth. If you are like most people, you have probably wondered why this uncomfortable feeling occurs.

At the entrance to the stomach is a ring of muscle, the lower esophageal sphincter, or LES. Most of the time when we eat, this valve closes as soon as food moves through it. When the LES does not close completely or if it is opened too often, acid produced by the stomach can move up into the esophagus. This “seepage” of acid is what causes heartburn.

Common risk factors for acid reflux disease – a chronic condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) – are:

  • Eat large meals
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Certain beverages, such as alcohol, coffee, tea, or sodas
  • To smoke
  • OTC and prescription medications, including aspirin, ibuprofen, blood pressure medications, or muscle relaxants
  • Eat certain foods

It is this last risk factor that we focus on in this article.

7 foods that cause acid reflux

Here are seven foods (and drinks) that cause acid reflux:


This delicious food can cause more reflux than any other food. This is why:

  • Common ingredients in chocolate, including the stimulants caffeine and theobromine, can induce reflux.
  • Chocolate is high in fat.
  • Chocolate contains cocoa, a bean known to produce a reflux response.

Dark chocolate does not produce the same number of reflux episodes, but the difference is marginal.

Carbonated drinks

Carbonated drinks include the most famous sodas on the market and are among the main causes of acid reflux.

Here’s why carbonated drinks are bad for acid reflux:

  • Carbonated bubbles (to blame for that reflex “burp”) expand within the stomach, which can stimulate a reflux response.
  • Almost all soft drinks are acidic, and acidic ingredients contribute to reflux.


The drink may not be overly acidic, but almost all forms – beer, liquor, and wine – can cause acid reflux.

Alcohol can produce an acid reflux response by relaxing the pathway that joins the esophagus and stomach. Of course, this is not the kind of ‘relaxant’ we imagine soaking in – and it can produce an unpleasant reflux.

High-fat dairy products

All foods high in fat are among the main culprits of reflux . This little fact includes any type of high-fat dairy product: cheese, milk, butter, yogurt, and ice cream among them.

Low-fat dairy is a better alternative, but it can still instigate reflux. The best advice is to consume dairy products only sporadically.


Medical professionals claim that up to 3 8-ounce cups of coffee is good for your health. Not bad, right? Well, if you do, you’re ebbing an invitation with correspondence. Chamomile tea might be a healthier option, or a cup or two of green tea per day.

Fried food

Fried foods are high in fat. French fries, fried chicken, fried fish – basically anything that is both fried and delicious – are among the common culprits of reflux.

The high fat content in fried foods is what makes them among the leading causes of heartburn and chest pain that results from acid reflux.


Like fried foods and dairy products, the high fat content in meats makes it an instigator of acid reflux. Meats like beef, lamb and pork also take longer to pass through the stomach during digestion – and increase the risk of a reflux response.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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