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30 Foods That Cause Acid Reflux

Grilled Foods

Something about grilled foods can make your acid reflux so much worse. Whether you’re eating out or cooking food at home, you may find yourself reaching for Tums after eating. If you’re at a grill-out, you can stick to eating vegetables, salad, or the leanest of burgers. 

Raw Onions

It may seem normal to top your salad or burger with raw onion, but if you have acid reflux, you should stay away from this vegetable. Raw onions can increase the number of reflux episodes as well as the frequency of belches you may experience.


Dairy products, especially milk, cheese, and ice cream, are also a common cause of acid reflux. These products are frequently high in fat, and as mentioned earlier, foods like this can cause acid to leak into the esophagus. Switching to low-fat or skim milk may improve symptoms for some. 

Cranberry Juice

Cranberries are great for your stomach, but most juices are loaded with sugar. While this enough to provoke acid reflux, cranberries alone can make symptoms worse. This juice isn’t as acidic as orange juice, but it can trigger reflux in the same way.

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Alcohol dehydrates the body, which is what causes hangovers in the morning. Being dehydrated can cause poor digestion and acid reflux. It also increases gastric acid in your body. All of this means you may wake up to an uncomfortable burn the next morning.


Most cuts of beef have a high fat content, which can aggravate acid reflux. That doesn’t mean you can’t eat beef, but it requires choosing extremely lean cuts. Overall, it’s still better to eat fish, lean chicken, or chicken.

Olive Oil

While olive oil provides a number of heart-healthy benefits, it can trigger acid reflux for some people. High-fat foods have the ability to loosen the muscle dividing the stomach from the esophagus, which can lead to acid leakage. With 14 grams of fat in one tablespoon, olive oil falls squarely within the realm of high-fat products. 


Like olive oil, coconut and coconut oil provide essential nutrients for heart health. However, these products are also high in fat and may lead to acid reflux. Shredded coconut as a garnish will probably not cause problems for most people, but using it as a main ingredient or cooking with coconut oil can lead to trouble. 

Pasta Sauce

Tomatoes are highly acidic themselves, and when combined in pasta sauce with other reflux-causing foods like garlic or onions, digestion issues can surface. Limiting the amount of pasta sauce with a meal can help keep acid reflux at bay, as will switching to a sauce that does not contain tomatoes. 

Salad Dressing

A salad is good for you, but the dressing – not so much. Most of the time, salad dressings are mostly fats, and this can cause your stomach to create more stomach acid. Salad can be eaten without dressing, or with a small amount to limit reactions.

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Fried Foods

Fried food is one of the most challenging things for your body to digest. It’s high in trans-fats, which causes havoc with your digestive tract. Fried food is heavy and slows down the digestive process, leaving excess acid in the stomach. Eventually, it makes its way up and causes acid reflux.

Carbonated Beverages

Your favorite drink may be bad for your acid, especially if you like soda. Carbonated beverages, including tonic water, increases the pressure in your stomach. This causes an increase in the acidic response and makes heartburn much worse.


While not as acidic as oranges, pineapples and pineapple juice can still lead to acid reflux. However, the acidic concentration of whole pineapples is significantly less than in pineapple juice, so for those who don't want to give up the fruit up entirely, it’s best to make this switch.

Orange Juice

Citrus fruits and fruit juices such as orange juice are among the most frequent causes of acid reflux because of their high acidity. However, some companies offer low-acid varieties of orange juice, which may help limit the occurrence of the condition in some people. 


Garlic has been known to cause acid reflux, but only in certain circumstances. In most cases, consuming cooked garlic poses no problems; however, eating it uncooked may lead to the condition, due to a higher acid content. Interestingly, there is some research to indicate that taking garlic supplements may actually decrease a person’s risk of acid reflux.


Spicy foods, including peppers, are a common cause of acid reflux. Particularly potent varieties such as jalapenos pose the highest risk, but even milder, sweeter types, such as bell peppers, can lead to the condition in those who are especially susceptible. Thoroughly cooking peppers before consumption may reduce their spiciness and potential for acid reflux. 


Peanuts no doubt have nutritional benefits, but they are a legume that is particularly high in fat, which make them potential cause of acid reflux. This is especially true when it comes to peanut butter—which derives about three quarters of its calories from fat. 


Foods are not the only potential source of acid reflux. Beverages high in caffeine, such as coffee, can also cause the condition. As with fat, caffeine can loosen the muscle between the stomach and the esophagus, which allows acid to leak upward. Switching to decaf coffee or limiting its intake can potentially lessen the symptoms of acid reflux.


Tomatoes are incredibly acidic, even if they aren’t cooked. A raw tomato can cause just as much trouble as one prepared in a sauce or grilled. It’s best to stay away from this food altogether. It can trigger reflux and worsen symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

Spicy Foods

Spicy or hot foods don’t help acid reflux. Some spices can irritate the stomach lining, like chili peppers. Many spicy foods contain capsaicin, which can produce a burning sensation on tissue, which only exacerbates acid reflux symptoms.


Few things are as bad as being told you probably shouldn’t eat chocolate. Unfortunately, it’s pretty bad for you. It’s high in fat, so it takes a while to digest. It also has caffeine, which can cause stomach acid to come up the esophageal sphincter. 


Butter is nothing but fat. Naturally, this can make acid reflux so much worse, especially if you’re frying foods in it. It adds unwanted calories to your meal and can cause serious acid reflux symptoms later. It’s best to cook your food with a touch of cooking spray.


Candy is nothing but sugar, which is one of the worst culprits of acid reflux. Candy may also have vitamin C and preservatives that can also increase the acidity, making it a seriously bad food for acid reflux sufferers.


Processed baked goods may be delicious, but they make an acidic environment in your stomach. They’re high in butter and fats and are also made with refined products like sugar and flour. These three ingredients are some of the worst causes of acid reflux, and pastries mix them all into one food.

Mac & Cheese

Mac and Cheese is a double threat. The pasta is made with enriched white flour that can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. To make matters worse, it’s covered in cheese. After eating mac and cheese, it’s no surprise someone may have acid reflux issues.

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Jam or Jelly

Jam and jelly taste great on a peanut butter sandwich, but it’s pretty acidic. It has a highly acidic pH and is nothing but sugar. If you have to have jelly, try to eat an alkalizing fruit like bananas with it to bring down the acid levels.


Mint or peppermint are known to settle upset stomachs but stay away from it if you have acid reflux issues. The numbing effect relaxes the esophageal sphincter, which keeps your stomach acid at bay. Anyone with acid problems should avoid this herb at all costs.


Lemon is pretty bad for your teeth because it can eat away at your enamel. Think about what it can do to your stomach! Lemons irritate the stomach and can trigger acid reflux symptoms in no time. Sadly, lemon water is just as bad as a plain lemon.


Avocado toast is a perfect breakfast food, but they have a high level of natural fats. While healthy, it can cause acid reflux issues. Those with mild problems can consider eating avocados, but someone with severe reflux should avoid them.

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken nuggets are an easy dinner, but you could be making your heartburn worse by eating them. Not only are they fried, but they’re also loaded with salt. If you want chicken nuggets, you can make your own using breading and lean chicken breast. Just make sure to bake them instead of frying.

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