You may know that chocolate can cause acid reflux, but how soon after eating it can it produce this symptom?

Acid reflux, even when caused by eating chocolate, can result in a burning sensation in the chest and/or the upper abdomen.

Unfortunately, chocolate is a known trigger for the reflux of acidic stomach “juices” that travel up the esophagus and cause annoying symptoms.

However, to a chocoholic, the symptoms are worth the reward.

Time It Takes Chocolate to Cause Acid Reflux After Eating It

“Eating chocolate can cause reflux,” begins Jeffrey Fine, MD, chief of gastroenterology at the Medical Surgical Clinic of Irving.

“This can occur within seconds of consuming chocolate or up to an hour afterward.”

So if you had chocolate cake, brownies or ice cream three hours ago, and seem to be having some acid reflux, chances are pretty good this is not coming from the chocolate you indulged in three hours ago—probably not even two hours ago.

How does chocolate cause reflux in the first place?

Dr. Fine explains, “Chocolate contains cocoa powder, which is an acidic substance that can directly injure the esophagus.

“In addition, it can decrease the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), which allows gastric reflux in the esophagus.”

If you’re prone to frequent episodes of acid reflux that seem strongly correlated to an intake of chocolate goods, you may want to consider discussing this with a gastroenterologist.

After all, chronic irritation to the esophagus can lead to a condition called Barrett’s esophagus — which is a risk factor for esophageal cancer.

Dr. Fine has been in practice for over 30 years and specializes in digestive health, integrative medicine and food sensitivities.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  


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