Why Does Chocolate Make My Throat Burn?

When you eat some chocolate, you want certain (pleasurable) things to occur. You want your tongue’s taste buds to experience the wonderfully delicious flavor and the sensations of the smooth and creamy texture. You DO NOT want your throat to burn! What’s all that about, hey? Is this reaction normal, even? Or is it to do with the particular type (or brand) of chocolate you may have consumed? Well, today, we’re going to find out!

So, why does chocolate make my throat burn? Chocolate makes your throat burn by causing reflux that brings some of the acidic contents from your stomach up into your throat. Because the contents of your stomach are acidic, they will damage your throat lining. By doing this, they produce a painful sensation that feels like your throat is burning. Chocolate causes this acid reflux because it contains two trigger ingredients: caffeine and theobromine. 

Sounds pretty disgusting right? 

And it kind of is, to some extent.

So, let us continue to explore why this can happen before (perhaps more importantly), moving on to how to stop this from happening in the future!

Why Does Chocolate Cause A Throat To Burn?

Chocolate causes a throat to burn because it contains caffeine and theobromine, which can produce acid reflux or a tightening throat. 

So it’s true, after all. Chocolate does make your throat burn. 

It’s not your throat’s fault, and it’s not your stomach’s either. It’s the chocolate’s fault, specifically the caffeine and theobromine in the chocolate. 

Your throat and stomach are just the weapons the chocolate uses against you to create that burning sensation.

So let’s talk a bit more about how this undesirable process works.

Via Acid Reflux

You eat a bar of chocolate. Maybe 2…Maybe 3. Don’t worry; I don’t judge here.

When this chocolate gets into your stomach, so too does any theobromine and caffeine that are inside the chocolate.

These are two of the many ingredients that can produce acid reflux.

Once the acid is refluxed up your throat, it will burn it because, after all, it’s acid!!

But caffeine and theobromine aren’t the only things at play here.

Chocolate also often contains a cocoa powder which is acidic. 

When you ingest cocoa powder, it can make your intestinal cells relax your esophageal sphincter to produce lots of serotonin.

When this occurs, your gastric contents will possibly ascend up to your throat.

So the addition of cocoa powder in your stomach will only increase your acid reflux and thus exacerbate your burning throat. Acid + acid = lots of acid.

But caffeine and theobromine are the main culprits, sometimes for more reasons than one.

Via Stimulation 

Caffeine, for example, will make your throat burn by producing acid reflux. But it can also make your throat burn another way.

Because caffeine is a stimulant, it increases your heart rate and blood pressure. I’m sure you coffee drinkers will be aware of this.

When your heart rate and blood pressure increase, your throat can start to feel tight and uncomfortable. 

So this is another way chocolate and its caffeine contents can make your throat burn.

As A Consequence Of GERD

It is common to experience heartburn as well as a result of this process. However, frequent recurrence of acid reflux could be a sign of something else. 

And that something else is…gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD.

A burning throat is one of the key symptoms of GERD, so if you experience that more than twice a week, you may have it!

Other symptoms will include a burning chest, bad breath, dry cough, and chest and throat tightness. 


So let’s briefly summarize all of that.

The caffeine and theobromine inside chocolate will cause your stomach’s contents to reflux up your throat, causing that burning sensation.

Caffeine can also cause a burning sensation in your throat because it is a stimulant.

Chocolate also contains a cocoa powder which is acidic. But it also relaxes certain muscles to produce acid reflux.

The more chocolate you eat, the more you’ll get acid reflux, and the worse your burning throat will be.

Remember that this does not happen every time you eat chocolate. Otherwise, chocolate wouldn’t be as popular as it is.

But by eating lots of chocolate high in caffeine, theobromine, and cocoa powder, you increase the chances of acid reflux and a consequential burning throat occurring.

Will All Chocolate Cause A Throat To Burn?

Chocolate that is high in caffeine, theobromine, and cocoa powder will cause more throat burn than others. The biggest culprit for possessing high amounts of these ingredients is dark chocolate.

Now you know what ingredients in chocolate cause acid reflux and throat burn. 

You can now work out which chocolates will more likely cause throat burn than others just by checking the packaging. 

But typically, the broadest chocolate type that causes throat burn is dark chocolate. 

You may be surprised.

After all, dark chocolate is commonly regarded as the healthiest option out of all the chocolates. And it is. 

So why would dark chocolate inflict a mean throat burn on us more than others?

Well, it’s simple. Dark chocolate is much higher in theobromine, caffeine, and cocoa powder than, say, milk chocolate or white chocolate.

So because it contains higher amounts of these ingredients, it will cause more acid reflux more often. 

That’s not to say that milk chocolate or white chocolate aren’t guilty of causing acid reflux, either. They are. 

The chances are just lower for it to occur.

What Chocolate Will Cause The Least Amount Of Throat Burning?

Chocolate that is lowest in caffeine, theobromine, and cocoa powder will cause the least amount of throat burning.

It’s pretty much self-explanatory. If you’re looking to avoid throat burn, then you should go for chocolates that contain low amounts of the trigger ingredients.

Milk chocolate and white chocolate contain much lower levels of these ingredients compared to dark chocolate. But they can still trigger acid reflux and throat burn.

Finding chocolates with low amounts of all three: caffeine, theobromine, and cocoa powder, will be tricky as they’re all key ingredients for making chocolate tasty in their own right.

So your options will be few and far between.

Instead of perhaps altering what chocolate you eat, eat less instead. The less you eat, the lower the chances of acid reflux occurring and subsequent throat burning. 

How To Stop Your Throat Burning After Eating Chocolate?

You can stop your throat burning after eating chocolate by monitoring what you eat soon after, drinking water, taking medications, or sucking on lozenges.

Food Monitoring

So, you’ve had some chocolate, and now acid is refluxing up your throat. It’s causing your throat to burn. What should you do?

Well, you can start by not eating any more chocolate. Eating more will only make it worse. But going further, you need to watch what other foods you eat right now. 

If you eat something else that causes acid reflux and throat burning, then you’re only going to make it worse.

These foods often tend to be acidic.

Here are a few examples:

  • Fast Food
  • Fried Food
  • Meats
  • Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Tomatoes
  • Citrus Fruits

So whilst you’re experiencing a burning throat, be careful not to eat anything that will make it burn even more.

Drink Water

H2o is your friend in any situation…unless you’re drowning somewhere.

By drinking water, you will help soothe your burning throat.

Water will also help wash down any acidic stomach contents that are hanging around your throat.

So drink a big glass of cold water to help your throat ease its pain.

Medication 

There are plenty of medications you can get over the counter or via prescription when looking to get rid of a burning throat.

Consult a pharmacist to get the best one for you.

If your burning throat is only mild, then some over-the-counter medications will do the trick. These would include antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.

Of course, if the precautions and medicines you take don’t abate your acid reflux and burning throat, then you may need a strong prescription medicine.

Prescription-strength antacids, H2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors are available. A few examples to note are nizatidine, esomeprazole, and lansoprazole.

In extreme cases, if the issue is more to do with your throat, then a doctor may give you an esophagus-strengthening medicine like Baclofen.

And then, if even that doesn’t work, there is always surgery. Eeek!

But let’s stick with the positives today, shall we?

Lozenges

And last but not least, there are lozenges. These are basically cough candy. So it’s no wonder that they can also help you combat a burning throat.

Buy a pack and suck away in the hope that they will help stop your throat from burning.

You can also buy oral numbing sprays over the counter to help your burning throat.

Finally

So, we know that chocolate causes acid reflux and throat burning.

But if it’s happening too often, it could be that you have GERD.

Either way, there are several ways you can help combat that burning throat.

I always start with our good old friend H20!

Leave a Comment