Why Does Chocolate Give Me Heartburn? (2024)

Chocolate may trigger acid reflux in some people. While chocolate is not acidic, it can increase reflux symptoms by relaxing the esophageal sphincter muscle.

Eating chocolate may worsen or trigger acid reflux in some people.

The National Institute of Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK) recommends avoiding chocolate if you frequently experience acid reflux or have gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).

Keep reading to learn why chocolate causes heartburn and which varieties may result in fewer symptoms.

Chocolate may cause heartburn for a couple of different reasons. These include:


A 2020 review of research on GERD notes that chocolate can decrease pressure in the lower part of the esophageal sphincter. This muscle typically prevents food and acid in your stomach from going back into your esophagus.

When this muscle is relaxed, you may be more likely to experience symptoms of acid reflux.

Chocolate comes from the cacao plant and contains methylxanthine, a compound similar to caffeine. This compound can relax the lower esophageal sphincter muscle.

Different types of chocolate may contain different levels of methylxanthine. The values in the table below are in milligrams per ounce (mg/oz) and milligrams per gram (mg/g).

cocoa powderabout 800 mg/oz (28.5 mg/g)
unsweetened (baker’s) chocolateabout 450 mg/oz (16 mg/g)
semisweet and sweet dark chocolateabout 150–160 mg/oz (5.4–5.7 mg/g)
milk chocolateabout 64 mg/oz (2.3 mg/g)

White chocolate contains only a negligible amount of methylxanthine.

Fat content

Chocolate contains fat in the form of cacao butter. Milk and white chocolate also typically contain added fat from milk.

Eating content high in fat typically causes the digestive system to produce more bile in order to aid digestion. This can result in a higher level of acid in your stomach.

The effect may be more noticeable if you eat large quantities of milk chocolate or have chocolate after a meal high in fats.

Learn about which foods to avoid if you have acid reflux.

If you have GERD, eating chocolate may cause heartburn.

Still, some people may be able to eat a small amount without having symptoms. If you decide to try chocolate with GERD, you might want to try:

  • avoiding eating it before bed
  • opting for a low fat variety, such as a dairy-free or reduced-fat option
  • eating a small amount to see how it affects you
  • avoiding eating chocolate alongside or after other foods that trigger acid reflux

Read more about strategies to reduce or prevent acid reflux.

Why am I getting heartburn from chocolate?

Chocolate can cause heartburn for some people. You may want to avoid chocolate or try eating only small amounts if you have acid reflux.

What foods cause heartburn the most?

Foods and drinks that typically trigger heartburn include citrus, tomatoes, onions, garlic, spicy foods, alcohol, chocolate, caffeine, and mint. Some people also get acid reflux from mint.

Why does chocolate give me chest pain?

You may get chest pain after eating chocolate due to acid reflux. Chocolate is a known trigger for heartburn.

What foods help acid reflux go away?

No specific foods treat acid reflux but you may be able to relieve acid reflux with herbal remedies like ginger or chamomile tea. You may find that over-the-counter reflux medications or prescription strength options help prevent and treat acid reflux.

These can include antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.

Learn more about treatment for acid reflux and GERD.

Experts typically recommend avoiding chocolate if you have acid reflux as it’s a common trigger for reflux symptoms.

But different people may have different acid reflux triggers and symptoms. Some people may be able to eat chocolate without symptoms.

If you have acid reflux and want to eat chocolate, you may choose to eat it in small amounts and see how your body responds. If chocolate is an acid reflux trigger for you, doctors may recommend avoiding it.

Frequent reflux symptoms can damage the esophagus and lead to .

Why Does Chocolate Give Me Heartburn? (2024)


Why Does Chocolate Give Me Heartburn? ›

Yes, chocolate can cause heartburn. It contains caffeine and theobromine, which can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, allowing acid to flow back up into the esophagus. Additionally, the high fat content in chocolate can increase stomach acid, potentially leading to heartburn.

How do you stop heartburn from chocolate? ›

If you decide to try chocolate with GERD, you might want to try:
  1. avoiding eating it before bed.
  2. opting for a low fat variety, such as a dairy-free or reduced-fat option.
  3. eating a small amount to see how it affects you.
  4. avoiding eating chocolate alongside or after other foods that trigger acid reflux.

Can chocolate cause bad acid reflux? ›

Chocolate contains both caffeine and a substance called theobromine, which can relax the LES and promote acid reflux. Dark chocolate tends to have higher levels of these compounds, so it's best to limit your intake or opt for a milder alternative.

Why does my chest hurt after eating chocolate? ›

If you find that eating chocolate gives you heartburn or worsens heartburn symptoms, try cutting it out of your diet. Chocolate may cause heartburn by relaxing the LES. It's unclear whether cutting out chocolate is beneficial for all people with heartburn, but it may reduce symptoms in some people.

How do I stop heartburn asap? ›

7 Tips for Fast Relief from Heartburn
  1. Antacids. Over-the-counter antacids can neutralize stomach acid and relieve the burn in seconds. ...
  2. Chew gum. ...
  3. Loosen your belt. ...
  4. Check your posture. ...
  5. Save the snack. ...
  6. Change sleep positions. ...
  7. Manage your stress.
Feb 20, 2023

Will water help heartburn? ›

First, water can help to dilute stomach acid and make it less irritating to the esophagus. This can reduce the burning sensation in the chest that is characteristic of heartburn. In addition, drinking water can help to flush stomach acid back down into the stomach, where it belongs.

What calms GERD down? ›

It's always best to talk with your doctor before trying these options.
  • Baking soda. Baking soda can calm some episodes of heartburn by neutralizing your stomach acid. ...
  • Licorice supplements. Licorice root is an old herbal remedy that may help with heartburn. ...
  • Apple cider vinegar. ...
  • Chew gum. ...
  • Ginger.

How do you flush acid out of your stomach? ›

How to Treat Acid Reflux Naturally
  1. Drink diluted baking soda. Also known as sodium bicarbonate or bicarbonate of soda, baking can help alleviate symptoms of acid reflux. ...
  2. Drink diluted lemon juice or apple cider vinegar. ...
  3. Drink a glass of milk. ...
  4. Chew some gum. ...
  5. Enjoy ginger root in soups, smoothies or tea. ...
  6. Take Iberogast®
Feb 18, 2022

What foods soak up stomach acid? ›

Whole grains — High fiber, whole-grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole-grain breads help stop symptoms. They are a good source of fiber and may help absorb stomach acid, reducing the risk of symtoms. Lean protein — Low-fat, lean sources of protein also reduce symptoms of acid reflux.

What to drink first thing in the morning for acid reflux? ›

Try drinking herbal teas, coconut water, smoothies, and plant-based milks. Learn… Learn how Carafate might help treat symptoms of GERD and what you should be aware of before starting it.

What's the worst drink for acid reflux? ›

Drinks such as ginger tea, certain fruit and vegetable juices, and plant-based milks may benefit people experiencing acid reflux and heartburn. Avoiding citrus juices, carbonated beverages, and alcohol can also help to reduce symptom frequency and severity.

What are the symptoms of chocolate intolerance? ›

You may have chocolate intolerance or sensitivity if you experience any of the following when you consume it:
  • Bloating, gas, or cramps.
  • Headaches.
  • Rashes, hives, or acne.
  • Constipation.
  • Upset stomach.
Nov 1, 2022

Why do I feel terrible after eating chocolate? ›

The high sugar and fat content in chocolate can be difficult for your digestive system to process, especially in excessive amounts. Sugar crash: The sugar content in chocolate can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar levels, followed by a rapid decline.

Why does chocolate burn my esophagus? ›

Chocolate contains theobromine, a compound that can relax the lower oesophageal sphincter, allowing stomach acid to move back into the oesophagus. This can cause a burning sensation, particularly if you're prone to acid reflux or have a sensitive oesophagus.

What to drink for heartburn relief? ›

Herbal teas (chamomile, licorice, and ginger), low fat milk, plant-based milk (oat, flax, or almond milk), smoothies, coconut water, and nonacidic juices (cucumber, carrot, and aloe vera) may help you manage acid reflux symptoms. Remember to opt for unsweetened and noncarbonated drinks.

What is the fastest way to neutralize stomach acid? ›

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)

Baking soda can quickly neutralize stomach acid and relieve indigestion, bloating, and gas after eating. For this remedy, add 1/2 teaspoon (tsp) of baking soda to 4 ounces (oz) of warm water and drink. Sodium bicarbonate is generally safe and nontoxic.

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