Can Sour Candy Cause Sore Throat?

Sour candy can cause many things. It can cause you to experience wondrous delight in your taste buds. It can cause you to grimace at its strong sour taste. It can even cause pain and burning to your tongue if consumed in large quantities at a time. But can it also cause a sore throat? Well, that’s the question I’ll be looking to address here today. 

So, can sour candy cause a sore throat? Sour candy can cause a sore throat, either by the acids that it contains or by acid reflux brought about by the consumption of sour candy. Either way, it is the acid on the back of your throat that can cause this burning sensation or inflammation. 

If you have a sensitive or infected throat already, then it’s going to feel even more pronounced. 

With this all in mind, let’s delve into the reasons in greater detail before turning to some practical tips and suggestions to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future and each time you eat sour candy! 

Why Can Sour Candy Cause A Sore Throat?

Sour candy can cause a sore throat by creating/exacerbating inflammation or by causing acid to land on your throat, which naturally burns.  

Ok, so it looks like there are two ways sour candy can cause a sore throat.

Let’s start by talking about…


Our throats might be in a condition where they are susceptible to inflammation.

This could be because we have a throat infection, or it could be because our throat is raw and sensitive during this period of time.

So when our throats are susceptible to inflammation, there are certain things we can do and foods we can eat that can generate and exacerbate inflammation.

Inflammation will make your throat feel sore!

One of the types of food we can eat that can cause inflammation, and a consequential sore throat is sour foods.

And yes, we do include sour candy in that. Because sour candy has the same ingredients that make sour foods potential sore throat triggers.

But why? What’s in sour candy and sour foods that cause a sore throat?   

One word…ACID!

Sour candy has to get its sour taste from somewhere. After all, sour candy is artificial. It’s made by humans, not mother nature.

Other sour foods, like lemons and limes, get their sour taste naturally because that’s how nature makes them.

But when we make artificial sour food, like sour candy, we need to replicate that sour taste.

For sour candy, this taste is replicated by using edible acids in the candy’s manufacturing process.

That’s right.

Sour candies you eat contain acid in their ingredients list!

Many of these acids are naturally found in other foods like citrus fruits. But as I’ve already alluded to, citrus fruits get these acids naturally.

Sour candy gets these acids from us putting them in the candy. This is how they get their sour taste because the acids used are sour-tasting!

The more acid in the recipe, the sourer the candy will be.

So what does all of this mean? Well, the acidic contents of sour candy bear significance when it comes to sore throats.

Let’s go back a few steps. Your throat right now is susceptible to inflammation, right? For whatever that reason may be.

Now, you’ve just eaten some sour candy.

By doing this, perhaps without even knowing, you have put a load of acid on the back of your throat. This is the acid that, of course, was in the sour candy you’ve just eaten. 

What’s the problem? Well, even though these acids are edible, they are still acidic. They’re quite strong, hence the strong sour taste of the candy.

Would you put acid on a cut you had on your finger? No! Because it would exacerbate any inflammation in the wound.

The same is the case for a sore throat. If you eat sour candy, the acid inside will exacerbate your inflammation. 

This is why sour candy, even if your throat is perfectly healthy, should be consumed in moderation!

Acid Reflux

This is the other cause of a sore throat after eating sour candy.

Acid reflux is where acids in your stomach are propelled up your esophagus/throat.

This occurs when the sphincter muscle at the bottom of our esophagus relaxes at the wrong time.

When this happens, that is when the acids in our stomach are pushed up our esophagus/throat.

It’s also what causes feelings of heartburn.

Now, some foods, when eaten, can trigger acid reflux.

And yes, you guessed it, sour foods and sour candy are on that list of potential triggers.

The reason sour candy can do this is once again because of its acidic content.

Foods that are high in acid are known to provoke the esophagus, thus causing acid reflux.

Now, why does this cause a sore throat for us?

Well, when that acid is pushed up into your throat, it lands somewhere.

Some might even land in your mouth. But most of the acid will land on the back of your throat.

This is acidic, so it will burn your throat at first. A burning throat is a common symptom of acid reflux.

If our throat has been burned by some acid, guess what? It’s going to be a bit sore!

Sour Candies That Are More Likely To Cause A Sore Throat?

The more sour a sour candy is, the more likely it is that it will cause a sore throat. This is the case for both potential inflammation and acid reflux.

A candy that is sourer than another will have a more acidic content. That is how it gets its sour taste, remember?

So, if you eat a sour candy that is highly acidic, then this has more chance of causing you inflammation and, thus, a consequential sore throat.

The same is true for acid reflux. The more acidic a candy, the more chance there is of acid reflux being triggered.

But how do we know which candies are more acidic than others?

Can we just taste them to see which ones are sourer?

Yes, you could give that a go. But it might be difficult to discern accurate results.

Instead, you can research the pH levels of sour candies.

pH level is the measure of acidity. The lower the pH level score, the more acidic something is.

Water, for example, has a pH level of 7.0, whereas battery acid, which, funnily enough, is really acidic, has a pH level of 1.0.

A lot of the sour candies you will find on the store shelves contain pH levels closer to battery acid score than that of water. 

Here are some pH level scores for some of the most popular sour candies:

Candy pH Level 

So to summarise, the lower a sour candy’s pH level, the more chance there is that it will cause you to have a sore throat.

How To Not Have A Sore Throat After Eating Sour Candy?

You can limit your chances of getting a sore throat after eating sour candy by not eating too much, drinking water, and by not eating sour candy on an empty stomach.

Time to talk through each tip one by one.

Don’t Eat Too Much

Pretty simple this one. The more sour candy you eat, the more acid you’ll be putting at the back of your throat.

The more acid at the back of your throat or in your stomach, the more chance of a sore throat coming along.

So really make sure that you’re not overindulging. Otherwise, you’re just increasing your chances of a sore throat with every extra piece of sour candy you eat.

Drink Water

This is particularly relevant for tackling the issue of inflammation at the back of your throat.

If you’ve eaten sour candy, then some of the acidic content will get stuck in your throat because, remember, sour candy also contains sugar which makes it sticky.

But if you drink water after eating sour candy, then you can wash a lot of this acid off your throat and down into your stomach…which doesn’t solve the issue of acid reflux…but I might have a tip for that anyway.

Don’t Eat Sour Candy On An Empty Stomach

If you eat sour candy on an empty stomach, then there is a higher chance that it will trigger acid reflux.

So it’s best to eat sour candy whilst you’ve got other foods in your stomach. Of course, these foods need to not be acid reflux triggers.

Other Suggestions To Prevent Getting A Sore Throat When Eating Candy?

You can also try to prevent a sore throat after eating candy by choosing candy wisely, not eating it altogether, and eating foods that will soothe your throat.

Choose Wisely

Remember when we spoke about pH levels? Well, I would recommend that you choose sour candies with high pH level scores. 

These candies will contain less acid and thus pose less of a threat of a sore throat.

Ditch It All

You could, whilst your throat heals, just pack in the sour candy altogether.

That way, your throat will heal easier and quicker, allowing you to enjoy sour candy much sooner.

That doesn’t mean you don’t have to not easy candy altogether – just opt for something different for a while.

Eat Foods That Soothe Your Throat

There are some foods out there that will help soothe your throat. So it might be wise to eat some of them after you have eaten some sour candy. This way, you can reduce the chances of a sore throat.

Some examples of these foods include:

  • Cooked Pasta
  • Yogurt
  • Vegetables 
  • Fruit (non-citrus)
  • Juice (non-citrus)
  • Creamy Soups
  • Milk
  • Scrambled Egg


So it would seem that sour candy can cause a sore throat after all.

We can limit the chances of this occurring.

But after all, this is sour candy we’re talking about. It’s highly acidic and, therefore, risky candy-eating business!

Related sour candy guides you may want to read: