Monday, December 4, 2023

Why Does Chocolate Give Me Heartburn

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Lauren Gerson

Patients have been known to hug Lauren Gerson, MD, so overjoyed are they at hearing her words. What does she say to them? Go ahead and eat chocolate. Indulge your passion for spicy cuisine. Drink red wine. Enjoy coffee when you want it, have that orange juice with breakfast and, what the heck, eat a grapefruit, too. Gerson says that for most heartburn patients, there’s insufficient evidence to support the notion that eating these foods will make heartburn worse or that cutting them out will make it go away.

Many of Gerson’s patients walk into her clinic upset, having been advised elsewhere to severely limit their diets to help reduce their heartburn symptoms. But recent research by Gerson, assistant professor of medicine, indicates there’s no evidence to support a need for dietary deprivation, except for the unlucky few whose heartburn is clearly triggered by a particular food.

But Gerson, a practicing gastroenterologist for seven years and director of Stanford’s Esophageal and Small Bowel Disorder Center, said the stream of “very unhappy” patients referred to her clinic by outside doctors caused her to doubt the efficacy of the usual treatment advice. “The patients were on very bland diets and cutting out coffee and wine and everything that they enjoyand basically their heartburn wasn’t getting any better,” she said. “So I decided that maybe it’s time to look and see if these lifestyle measures really work.”

Does Dark Chocolate Cause Heartburn

The roles of chocolate, along with coffee and the possible effects that alcohol can exert, are widely discussed.

What weve presented above is the most up-to-date set of information to answer the question: does chocolate cause heartburn?

The answer is YES, it does.

But there also is a series of information to remember, to avoid mistakes now and for the future.

The list of 19 takeaways is below.

#2) If you are not suffering from acid reflux, you still have to consider that the excessive consumption of chocolate can lead to similar symptoms.

#3) According to the Stanford study, there is currently no evidence to show that any of the dietary restrictions usually recommended make a difference.

#4) Cocoa powder is acidic.

#5) Thats why chocolate intake can predispose to more serious symptoms when reflux occurs.

#6) When reflux occurs, chocolate can be responsible for more serious effects because of the increased acidity of stomach content.

#7) But some people report more symptoms than others.

#8) Chocolate, like many other fat-rich foods, acts on the LES , by relaxing it.

#9) Chocolate has the serotonin hormone that can relax the lower esophageal sphincter in turn.

#10) Pregnant women have to be very careful in consuming chocolate.

#11) Chocolate contains the compounds theobromine and caffeine.

#12) Both theobromine and caffeine act on the LES, by reducing the pressure and making it relax thats why reflux occurs.

As always, remember that personal experience is essential.

Foods That May Help Relieve Heartburn

While many foods can make your heartburn worse, there are several foods that may help relieve symptoms.

Here are some foods that may help relieve heartburn:

  • Ginger: This is a natural remedy for nausea and vomiting. While there is limited evidence about gingers effects on heartburn, it may help reduce reflux (
  • 41 ).

Summary While many foods can make your heartburn symptoms worse, there are plenty of foods that may ease heartburn symptoms. These include ginger, bananas and melons, veggies, oatmeal, grains and potatoes.

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Things To Stop Doing If You Have Gerd

When you suffer from chronic heartburn that can be associated with gastroesophageal reflux disease , this condition can affect your entire life. It may be necessary to stop eating some of your favorite foods. The heartburn may interfere with your sleep. It may even interfere with your availability to work well.

Pay Attention To Your Body

Why Does Banana Bread Give Me Heartburn

Again, Ive shared the strategies that have worked best for me for eating chocolate with acid reflux. Its taken me years to figure out these strategies and to develop new habits for eating chocolate without feeling lousy. Ive had to pay close attention to what does and doesnt make me feel good and to steer clear of certain foods or avoid chocolate altogether when Im stressed or something else is triggering my reflux. You need to do the same thing. No one else has your exact same body and will be able to tell you exactly what will or wont work for you.

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When Heartburn Can Be A Sign Of Something More Serious

Gastroenterology of San Francisco explained: If you have frequent heartburn of more than twice a week, you may have Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease .

“GERD is a digestive disorder that affects the lower esophageal sphincter, a muscle that connects the esophagus and the stomach.

“Over time, GERD may damage your esophagus or lead to a serioius complication called Barretts esophagus.

“In Barretts esophagus, repeated exposure too stomach acid causes changes to esophageal cells.

“These damaged cells can transform into esophageal andenocarcinoma, a potentially fatal cancer.

Here’s What To Order From Mcdonald’s Chik

I don’t eat fast food often, but sometimes the McDonald’s McDouble cravings are too strong to resist. It’s after downing one, a medium fries, and a fountain drink that heartburn reminds me why it’s been so long since my last drive-through trip.

Once the burning chest pain is a distant memory, those cravings never fail to swing back around but next time, I’m going to be prepared. Dr. Soma Mandal, MD, a board-certified internist and women’s health specialist at Summit Medical Group, is helping me indulge smarter by picking out the least heartburn triggering menu items from my three go-to fast-food joints: McDonald’s, Chik-fil-A, and Taco Bell.

Don’t be discouraged that Burger King, Wendy’s, or Arby’s didn’t make the list she went one step further by offering up some general tips for avoiding heartburn while eating at all chains.

Late night is often the most alluring hour for a greasy box of nuggets, but Dr. Mandal recommends planning fast-food meals two to three hours before bedtime, since laying down usually worsens heartburn pain.

And try limiting more triggering fast-food staples like fried dishes, cheese, high-fat dressings and sauces, caffeinated beverages, chocolate, and citric foods, she adds.

“If you develop heartburn symptoms after a fast-food meal and the symptoms are mild, antacids can help, but they only work for a short period. Histamine blockers are stronger and last for a longer period of time.”

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Can Chocolate Cause Heartburn

Can chocolate cause heartburn?

Chocolate is the ultimate comfort food. Its sweet, decadent, rich, and oh so tasty. Theres no wonder why Americans consume 2.8 billion pounds of chocolate each year. We consume chocolate in all its glorious forms from chocolate chip cookies, candy bars, gourmet goodies, and heavenly chocolate desserts. However, in recent years, there have been rumors stirring around the interweb that chocolate can actually cause heartburn? Heartburn affects more than 60 million Americans each month. Thats a lot of painful burning caused by stomach acid escaping into the esophagus. Have you noticed a flare in acid reflux after consuming chocolate?

The link between chocolate and heartburn

If you have ever told your physician youre suffering from heartburn, most likely, you were given a long list of foods to avoid. Usually, on the top of the list are spicy foods, mint, anything with caffeine, tomatoes, and citrus fruits. Where does chocolate fall into the list? High-fat foods, like chocolate, can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can cause stomach acid to escape into the esophagus. Fat also promotes the release of CCK, a hormone that may also relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which is the leading cause of heartburn. This leaves many wondering if chocolate is their leading cause of heartburn? While it may not be the prominent cause, studies do show there is a link between chocolate and heartburn.

If I have heartburn, can I still eat chocolate?

Fat In Chocolate Causes Acid Reflux

How To Cure Acid Reflux, GERD, Heartburn & Indigestion Naturally, Ep234

Chocolate contains fat in varying amounts. Higher the fat content greater the risk of experiencing acid reflux.

Fatty foods slow the digestive process. The stomach empties slower when digesting fats. This digestive delay can lead to added pressure on the LES. Fatty foods can also cause an increase in stomach acid production. When the pressure on the LES is great enough, stomach acid will reflux into the esophagus and cause heartburn.

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Your Water May Need To Be Filtered To Prevent Heartburn

  • Water isnt made up of just water depending on where you get your water from, it may contain several minerals that have either been added to it or that are found there naturally. Unfortunately, it may also contain chemicals as well as other pollutants and bacteria. Some people are very sensitive to the substances found in water, and if this is true of you, then you may find your bodyand especially your digestive systemresponding badly to the water you drink. This could lead to bloating and indigestion both.

Save Chocolate Splurges For Chocolate You Really Love

When you can only eat a limited amount of chocolate each week, make it count. Dont waste your chocolate intake on cheap candy or something you dont really love. I used to take chocolate for granted. Now that I only eat it a few times per month, I appreciate it so much more. A huge part of this appreciation comes from choosing chocolate I love. When I eat a homemade chocolate chip cookie or a piece of high-quality dark chocolate with almonds, it tastes like the best chocolate Ive ever had.

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Dont Eat Chocolate In Combination With Reflux

Say you have a mild to moderate dairy allergy. Having a bowl of macaroni and cheese or a slice of pizza is okay. But you dont want to follow it with a huge serving of ice cream. The same principle applies to acid reflux. If youve just had a spaghetti dinner with lots of marinara sauce, onions, and garlic, dont follow it up with chocolate. If youre going to eat chocolate after dinner, dont pair it with coffee or tea.

What Can You Drink To Relieve Heartburn

Why Does Banana Bread Give Me Heartburn

You might try ginger tea, which can ease irritation in the stomach. Skim or low-fat milk can help to neutralize stomach acid, but avoid whole milk, since the fat can increase acid reflux. A cup of water with a small amount of lemon juice and honey may also help to neutralize stomach acid.

Heartburn Doctor Discussion Guide

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Chocolate Coating On Almonds Can Counteract Effect On Heartburn

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I read with interest that eating three almonds before or after a meal could help with heartburn. Do you see any problem with the almonds being chocolate-covered?

Were afraid so. Although they are delicious, chocolate-covered almonds are unlikely to be helpful. Thats because chocolate may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. Heartburn happens when this muscle relaxes and allows acid to splash back up into the swallowing tube.

Without the chocolate coating, though, almonds have been winning praise: I wanted to tell you that almonds really work to prevent heartburn. I had heartburn after dinner no matter what I ate. When I saw your column about almonds, I bought a big container of roasted almonds . I have been eating a few after dinner, and I have not had heartburn since.

My fingernails began to break and peel, so I ordered a product to strengthen them. I discovered upon reading the ingredients that it contains formaldehyde. Can this possibly be safe to use?

Some people develop contact dermatitis in response to formaldehyde. Whats more, formaldehyde hardens nails by drying them, which often makes them brittle.

Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist, and Teresa Graedon is an expert in medical anthropology and nutrition.

Functional Medicine View Of Reflux

Theres an alternate theory in functional medicine, that it is low stomach acid and NOT high stomach acid that causes GERD and reflux.

The idea is that the LES gets loose when stomach acid secretion are lower than normal. And that a sufficient level of acid is what signals the LES to stay tightly shut.

One of the most common causes of low stomach acid is a bacterial infection of the stomach called h pylori.

Regular testing at your doctors office is not sensitive enough to catch this inflammatory and acid lowering infection. I use a highly sensitive functional lab test with clients that identify h pylori along with any other gut infections that it can lead to. The test I use is called the GI Map.

Stomach acid kills and protects you from pathogens like parasites as well as bacterial and fungal overgrowth. When acid is low it leaves the gut vulnerable to infections.

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Simple Tips To Prevent Heartburn After Drinking Water

Here are few effective recommendations that are valuable to prevent heartburn after drinking water and at the same time keep your body well hydrated.

  • Drink sips of water keeping a gap instead of gulping large amount of water at one time.
  • Avoid drinking water soon after eating meals or before the meal. Instead drink water before or after an hour of meal or in between meals. If at all you want to drink water, drink few sips as the stomach will be able to adjust it.
  • Drink water which is at room temperature or drink slightly warm water as it helps to prevent heartburn.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes as tight apparels will put pressure on stomach which may result in opening of lower esophageal sphincter.
  • Avoid few general triggers which may exaggerate the symptoms of heartburn after drinking water. These triggers are excess of coffee, spicy food, overeating, acidic food, lying soon after eating etc.

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What To Do About Reflux

Why Does Banana Bread Give Me Heartburn What Can I Do To Prevent This?


– Understand that acid reflux increases your risk of esophageal cancer, so get screened

Reflux is curable with effort and commitment to change.

However, here are the most important pieces of advice I can offer:

  • No eating or drinking within five hours of going to bed
  • Sleep on an incline no less than 45-degrees
  • Eat five small meals
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    Why Care About Easing Gerd

    Of course you want relief from GERD, because it affects your day-to-day quality of life. Experiencing the discomfort caused by the frequent backflow of stomach acid into your esophagus can make mealtime stressful. You may also experience disturbed sleep, regular coughing, and a sore throat.

    GERD can also cause long-term damage to your body. You may have scar tissue form in the esophagus. You may also develop a condition known as Barretts esophagus, which is characterized by cancerous changes to the lining of the esophagus.

    You May Be Drinking Your Water Too Fast

    • Many people are guilty of drinking their water too fast. However, if youre someone who already suffers from other stomach and digestive issues and conditions, this problem may be a more significant one for you. Drinking water in big gulps is a sure way to swallow a lot of air along with your water, which in turn can lead to indigestion, heartburn, and reflux in some situations. This is further exacerbated in anyone who suffers from IBS, but it can happen to anybody. Sip your water slowly to avoid this problem.

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    So Why Is This Post Called How To Eat Chocolate With Acid Reflux

    I gave up chocolate altogether, right? For several years, I did give up chocolate almost completely. Rich chocolate desserts were no longer appealing, and I really didnt want another bad flare-up. I learned to enjoy lots of non-chocolate desserts, and many days, I honestly didnt miss it.

    However, avoiding chocolate altogether is still difficult because lets face it: chocolate is an amazing food. Its been over five years since my last bad flare-up and I have a much better understanding of when and how chocolate triggers reflux for me. Consequently, Ive felt comfortable re-introducing it on a more regular basis. No, I dont eat chocolate every day. And Im pretty careful about what chocolate I eat, and when I eat it. But so far, reintroduction has been successful.

    I know Ive given a lengthy introduction before getting to my tips for how to eat chocolate with acid reflux. I think its important to understand where Im coming from and that its taken me years of living with reflux to develop these strategies. Im not just sharing a few quick tips I found from online articles. Im sharing my tried-and-true tactics Ive learned through many years of living with reflux.

    Before I get into the tips for eating chocolate with acid reflux, I want to address one more point.

    Avoid Chocolate During Bad Flare

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    When youre having a bad flare-up, it doesnt take much to keep setting it off. Eating chocolate will further aggravate your symptoms, making them even worse. If youre like me and often get minor flare-ups due to stress, steering clear of chocolate is the worst. A little chocolate should be a bright spot during a tough day. Unfortunately, its not when you have acid reflux. Steer clear of chocolate and any other major acid reflux trigger foods until youre feeling better.

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    More Ways To Control Gerd With Dietary Changes

    In addition to avoiding certain foods, there are even more dietary changes and lifestyle modifications you can make to control GERD. Exploring all the various ways you can manage this condition will help you discover what works best for you and make dealing with GERD that much easier on a daily basis.

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