Bad news for chocolate lovers: Chocolate seems to cause more reflux than any other food. It’s a triple whammy:
1. Chocolate contains caffeine and other stimulants such as theobromine, which cause reflux.
2. Chocolate is high in fat, and fat causes reflux.
3. Chocolate is also high in cocoa, and cocoa causes reflux.
Theoretically, dark chocolate isn’t as bad as high-fat milk chocolate, but let’s face it—all chocolate is bad for reflux.
Soda and other carbonated beverages are some of the main causes of acid reflux. The bubbles of carbonation expand inside the stomach, and the increased pressure contributes to reflux. Sodas with caffeine and those that are acidic (almost all) are even worse.
Fried food is the single most recognized cause of reflux. It is also the food most often associated with heartburn, which is chest pain from esophageal reflux.
Beer, liquor, and wine are believed to contribute to reflux. Many alcoholic beverages are not very acidic. However, alcohol is believed to relax the valve at the bottom of the esophagus (where it joins the stomach), leading to reflux.
High-fat dairy products
All high-fat foods cause reflux. There is no reason to believe that one high-fat butter or cheese is better than another in this regard. If you have reflux and a serious cheese habit, something has to give.
Acid reflux is caused by high-fat cuts of meat—beef, pork, lamb—which stay longer in the stomach and increase the chance of acid reflux.
One cup of coffee or espresso a day is fine, but people who drink coffee all day long are courting reflux—if they don’t have it already.