Top 10 Acid Reflux Foods to Avoid

Foods That Cause Acid Reflux

Highlights (Acid reflux foods to avoid)

1. When it comes to preventing a heartburn, avoid highly acidic foods

2. Cut down on fatty foods and beverages, as they take a toll on your digestion

3. A great diet for acid reflux should consist of foods that are high in pH and full of fiber

Acid reflux occurs when acidic stomach fluid reverts into the gullet. This causes a burning effect in the chest area, which you might be familiar with. That’s because acid reflux is pretty common and occurs in most people every once in awhile.

Also known as a heartburn, this scenario happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) fails to close up. The LES is “tasked” to create a barrier between the stomach and gullet. If it fails to do so, acidic fluids can go back up and cause the burn.

Thankfully, occasional reflux isn’t life-threatening and can be prevented easily. You see, most cases of heartburn is typically triggered by various lifestyle factors – A big one being food.

Foods that Cause Acid Reflux

Most cases of heartburn is due to one’s diet choices. Generally, foods that cause reflux are either acidic or high in fat content. Here are 10 common acid reflux foods to avoid:



You might have experienced a reflux from having a couple of drinks:

While many alcoholic beverages aren’t known to be very acidic, they are believed to allow the LES valve to relax and cause stomach acid to creep up. This can be made worse when you’re having some drinks along a huge meal.

Sure, having some drinks every now and then is definitely a treat. However, you must make an attempt to cut down when you notice that you’re getting burned from drinking too frequently.

Acidic Fruits

Fruits contain a chockfull of healthy nutrients. That being said, some fruits are naturally more acidic than others. These includes apples, berries and tomatoes. Eat them in moderation if you suspect that they might be the cause to your heartburn.

Otherwise, you can substitute them for more alkaline fruits such as watermelon, cantaloupes and avocados.


Caffeinated drinks such as coffee, contributes to reflux in 2 ways:

Firstly, coffee is highly acidic and can trigger the hypersecretion of gastric acids. What about going decaf then? First of all, no one drinks decaf. Even worse, decaffeinated coffee has shown to be even more acidic than regular ones.

Secondly, caffeinated drinks also causes the LES valve to relax and loosen up. This isn’t to say that you should not drink coffee at all. All you need to do is to have your daily coffee in moderation. Did you know that a “Starbucks tall” is equivalent to almost 3 servings of coffee?


Chocolates are nice. They also have almost every element to give you a nice heartburn. Cocoa is acidic by default. The added sugars and milk in chocolate also does not help as it makes it high in fat content.

This will take a toll on your gut as fatty foods tend to be digested longer. They are definitely a bad diet choice for acid reflux

If you must satisfy your sweet tooth, try going for dark chocolates instead. Otherwise, having a sweet treat occasionally should not be a problem.

Citrus Fruits


Did you know that oranges are one of the foods that cause acid reflux?

Fruits like lemons, oranges and limes all have high concentrations of citric acid. These can trigger a heartburn, especially when you consume them on an empty stomach. Therefore, citrus fruits makes it to the list of heartbun foods to avoid. Try switching out for more alkaline fruits instead.

Carbonated Drinks

Carbon dioxide in sodas pose a threat as it causes a lot of air to get trapped in your stomach. All that gas within will build up pressure and cause the LES valve to open up. Stomach acid then starts to creep out.

Moreover, most carbonated beverages are high in caffeine and very acidic.


Medical experts have confirmed that the link between onions and heartburn is clear:

This claim is made as onions seem to lower the pressure of the LES.

The Oklahoma Foundation for Digestive Research also studied with GERD patients that consuming onion, increases the amount of time the body remains acidic (pH lower than 4). This can aggravate a reflux condition.

High Fat & Dairy

Some of the foods that cause acid reflux are non other than fatty and unhealthy foods. Fried foods and high-fat dairy products such as cheddar, slows down the digestion process. Hence, they stay around longer in the stomach and gives acid the chance to build up.

Instead, try going for low-fat dairy foods for acid reflux such as cottage cheese and ricotta.

Spicy Food


Many people complain of getting a terrible heartburn when consuming a spicy dish. The thing is, research has shown that spicy foods does not really affect the LES pressure. Instead, it might be due to the cause of irritation in the gullet. Onion being one of the staples of spicy dishes, can also make things worse.

Red Meat

You should see a pattern by now that most acid reflux foods to avoid are either acidic or high in fat content. Delicious red meat such as beef and pork are no doubt a staple to our everyday meals.

However, these cuts are pretty acidic and contain lots of fat. Put them together and you will have the perfect recipe for a massive heartburn.

If you notice frequent symptoms, try switching out for leaner cuts. This can be chicken, white fish or even healthier beef parts such as a sirloin tip. Also prepare meat in healthier ways such as broiling, poaching and grilled. These cooking methods make a difference to frying food in a lot of oil.