Woman with a chocolate plate

Why Does Chocolate Burn My Throat?

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Chocolates are undoubtedly the most preferred treats for everyone. Chocolates satisfy us with immense flavor and smooth consistency. They also impact the human brain, making us feel happy and alert. The pleasant feeling of chocolates slowly melting over our tongue is its most appealing characteristic and unmatched by any other food item.

Chocolate is the most amazing comfort food anyone could ask for. It’s sweet, decadent, rich, and oh so tasty! But to some of us, chocolate might not prove to be a delicious treat. Unfortunately, some people feel a burning in their throat when eating chocolate as a result of Gastroesophageal reflux, which is also known as heartburn.

Chocolate is a common food item that triggers heartburn. But before we find the answer to why chocolate burns your throat, we must first address the component of chocolates. We need to find out what elements chocolate contains to trigger this issue.

Can Chocolate Cause Heartburn?

The cocoa powder in chocolate is highly acidic and hence triggers heartburn. High-fat foods like chocolate can relax the lower esophageal sphincter, and this relaxation causes stomach acid to escape into the esophagus. Hence, when the muscle relaxes, the gastric contents rise. This causes a severe burning sensation in the esophagus. 

Chocolate can also cause your throat to burn because it contains caffeine and theobromine. Caffeine encourages the production of gastric secretions, which are very acidic and can promote heartburn. These components contribute to increasing the symptoms of heartburn. 

On the other hand, fat promotes the release of CCK, a hormone that causes the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter. This relaxation is the leading cause of heartburn. Chocolates also contain methylxanthine. It is a substance that occurs by nature. It increases the heart pace and relaxes muscle tissues, especially the smooth muscle tissues. 

These characteristics can prove to be helpful in some cases. But methylxanthine relaxes the lower Esophageal Sphincter in people who suffer from regular acid reflux. Hence, it creates more openings for the stomach acid to inflame the esophagus, causing more damage.

Ingesting cocoa can lead to an outpouring of serotonin. This surge can cause relaxation of your esophageal sphincter and causes gastric contents to rise. Hence, this rush of serotonin leads to more heartburn.

Dark chocolate also has more potential to cause heartburn rather than milk chocolate. This is because there is greater theobromine content in dark chocolate. It also has more cocoa-containing caffeine than milk chocolate. Hence, compared to 1oz of milk chocolate, dark chocolate causes a more powerful burning sensation in the throat.

Chocolate And Acid reflux: What’s The Link?

The burning throat sensation that you experience after devouring chocolate might indicate a more severe issue. This burning throat experience results from a reflux of the majority of the inside fillings in the stomach into the throat. If this happens repeatedly, then you might have a condition called gastroesophageal reflux disease.

The contents of the stomach are quite acidic. Acid reflux is called the backward flow of acid into the tube that connects your throat to your stomach. These acids cause unpleasant heartburn and can damage your esophagus. Frequent refluxes are the symptom of GERD. And if it is left untreated for a long time, GERD can bring about severe health hazards.

What Are The Most Common Symptoms Of GERD?

The most common symptoms of GERD include heartburn, the feeling of food caught in your throat, chest pain, sore throat, and hoarseness, also facing problems while swallowing. Tightness in the throat and burning sensation in the throat or chest are the most common issues people with this disease face.

Hence, if your throat is burning badly every time you eat chocolate, I would honestly suggest you consult a doctor. Because in some cases, heartburn may actually be a symptom of a more chronic underlying situation. 

Heartburn and burning sensation in the throat might be harmless, but it might also indicate a more prominent disease. Suppose the heartburn is persistent after consuming chocolate and is not resolving through your efforts at self-care. In that case, it’s high time that you consult a doctor to take proper medications to solve this issue. 

Hence it is always better to remain on the safe side and consult a doctor if this burning sensation repeats every time you eat a bar of chocolate. Various prescription medications treat heartburn in various ways. 

Can You Still Eat Chocolate If You Have Heartburn?

If you are suffering from severe heartburn, it is best to cut the quantity of chocolate you consume to a minimum. Another efficient way of satisfying your daily chocolate craving is by eating it along with some non-reflux-triggering foods. After eating chocolate, try to eat something that will help ease any acid that is trying to creep up.

Woman with acid reflux symptoms

Sticking to low acid foods like bananas or melon, even sucking on a piece of ginger candy, will help to reduce the reflux after eating chocolate. 

Like many other conditions, heartburn might seem unusual to you. It might also be difficult to manage, especially if you are craving a sweet treat. Hence, by following these tips, you will most surely figure out how to keep decadent sweet treats in your life without causing chaos in your stomach.

But suppose you are diagnosed with GERD and having severe throat burns. In that case, the best way to avoid this excruciating pain is to avoid chocolates altogether. People with frequent indigestion should consider cutting back on chocolate and other triggers. 

What triggers and what improves acid reflux symptoms can vary depending on the person. Over-the-counter medicines will work best for you if you are suffering from mild conditions of acid reflux. But suppose bringing changes in your everyday life and OTC medication doesn’t help you. 

In that case, it is best to consult a doctor to know about the dietary measures you should follow because this condition varies from person to person.

Depending on your condition, whether it ranges from severe to mild, doctors will suggest medications and whether you will be able to consume chocolate. Consulting a professional is an efficient way to find out which medication might be right for you.

Hope For Chocolate-Loving Reflux Disease Sufferers

For people who suffer from chronic heartburn, a piece of chocolate may start as a joy to the tongue but can end as a raging fire in the stomach. But Chocolate lovers, Rejoice! as there is new hope for this suffering.

Researchers have found out that chocolate is only capable of causing isolated instances of heartburn. It is not the primary component in causing chronic heartburn associated with severe diseases like GERD. 

Also, results from a new study at the University of Michigan health system found a novel treatment for GERD. Hence chocolate lovers can enjoy these delicious treats even with their condition. The treatment they used on patients is a component called Granisetron which is a serotonin blocker. 

After the patients consumed the Granisetron, there was a significant decrease in the numbers of reflux events, the acid exposure, and the acid clearance time.

Though it might not seem like a serious symptom that needs consultancy immediately, it can indeed grow to be one. Hence, if you are feeling a burning sensation in your throat, it’s high time to examine yourself and find out the possible reasons. Because it’s chocolate we are talking about in the end, who wouldn’t want to enjoy these decadent treats without pain?

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