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Is Chocolate Causing My Heartburn?

Updated on August 15, 2013
Learn why & how chocolate causes heartburn.
Learn why & how chocolate causes heartburn.

If you've ever eaten a chocolate bar, brownie, cookie, etc and got heartburn after eating it, you could be one of many, who is effected by this heartburn trigger food. Please read on as I share my findings with you and ways to help yourself, or someone you know, with heartburn.

Facts About Heartburn

  • 1 in 10 Americans experience heartburn at least once a week.
  • About 25 million Americans suffer from heartburn daily.
  • Children and infants can experience heartburn symptoms.
  • 40-80% of pregnant women will suffer from heartburn.
  • The first written record of heartburn treatment dates back to the first century.
  • Heartburn is caused when the lower esophageal sphincter is weakened or opens inappropriately. This allows acid and other stomach contents back into the esophagus, causing it to be irritated.
  • Heartburn has many different triggers, including foods, medications, obesity, or sometimes stress.
  • When used regularly, ibuprofen, naproxen, and prescription drugs can trigger heartburn.
  • Despite the name, heartburn has nothing to do with your heart.
  • Heartburn in the most common symptom of GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease)
  • Smoking maker GERD worse.
  • Approximately 94% of people link their heartburn symptoms to certain types of food.
  • Lifestyle changes can often reduce the onset of heartburn.

You're more susceptible to heartburn if you:

  • Are Pregnant
  • Overweight
  • Wear tight fitting clothing
  • Under Stress
  • Eat greasy & spicy foods
  • Smoking
  • Eat Spicy Foods
  • Drink too much coffee or alcohol
  • Eat before bedtime
  • Eat too quickly

How often do you have heartburn?

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Why Chocolate Causes Heartburn

  • Chocolate is one of the most common foods that causes heartburn.
  • Chocolate also irritates the digestive tract.
  • Chocolate contains concentrations of theobromine.
  • Theobromine occurs naturally in plants like cocoa, tea, and coffee plants.
  • Dark Chocolate has more Theobromine than milk chocolate, as well as higher quality chocolates, compared to lower quality.
  • Chocolate relaxes the esophageal sphincter muscle, letting stomach acid go up and into the esophagus. If this happens enough, the esophagus may become inflamed by repeated exposure to acid.


Substitute Chocolate For These Sweet Treats

I'm sure some of you are wondering what could ever replace chocolate. I know how you feel. But when you're dealing with intense, heartburn pain, the taste of chocolate becomes very unappealing. So when you're craving chocolate or something sweet, play it safe and eat these non-heartburn causing sweets:

  • Gummy Bears
  • Red licorice
  • Jellybeans
  • Candy Corn
  • Fat-Free Cookies (non-chocolate)
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Jello
  • Bananas
  • Apples
  • Grapes

These sweets may never take the place of chocolate for you, but they can help subside your sweet tooth.


Material on this hub is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.


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    • georgialgal1984 profile image

      Mrs Clark 4 years ago from United States

      Kierstin- thank you for visiting and your support! I had **horrible** heartburn with all of my children. I could eat a bowl of cereal or a simple piece of fruit and the heartburn would be on full force. I didn't know then, but as a chocolate lover, it put me in a lot of pain!! Hope your heartburn gets better! Have a wonderful day and week.:)

    • Kierstin Gunsberg profile image

      Kierstin Gunsberg 4 years ago from Traverse City, Michigan

      Ooh, great article! I have pregnancy-heartburn/acid reflux and without a doubt, chocolate is the WORST culprit. Voting up :)