Laryngopharyngeal Reflux – Foods to Avoid

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Foods to Avoid

If you are someone who suffers from laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR) you will know that it is caused by acid reflux. Of course, avoiding the obvious foods and drinks is a very important step for people to get on the right healing path, though with LPR you really need to take it an extra step.

Below I will cover the important things that you should be avoiding then I will cover some other less talked about things that you should avoid along with why you may want to consider an alkaline style diet. Also, if you want more information on LPR check out my complete LPR guide here.

Laryngopharyngeal Reflux Foods to Avoid

Fatty Foods

Foods that are high in fat content are harder to digest and take longer to digest. Because the digestion process is longer that means more exposure and chance for acid reflux to occur. Also, because the stomach must work harder to break down the fat it also means that the stomach will move around more in the digestion process which in turn can result in more acid reflux.

Processed Foods

Foods that are processed just like fats are harder to break down and they too generally take longer to digest. Not only that but foods that are processed are typically filled with preservatives which makes the food more acidic and can cause more throat irritation and reflux.

Chocolate

Chocolate itself is not too acidic. The problem with chocolate is something that it contains. It is a substance called methylxanthine. This substance makes tissue muscles relax more in the body.

The important relation here is the muscle above the stomach called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which can be affected by this. Methylxanthine will make the LES relax more which will stop it from closing and keeping the acid in the stomach. You can read more about the LES’s importance in LPR here. Dark chocolate is better because there is less sugar and milk included which makes it easier on acid reflux and also tend to be less nasty added ingredients included. Dark chocolate may be possible for some people in moderation with LPR.

Peppers, Raw Onions, Tomatoes, Garlic

All these vegetables can make your reflux worse. This is mostly because of their acidity. While raw onions should be avoided, eating cooked sweet onion would be fine and is a good alternative for someone who enjoys onion.

Citrus Fruits

As you may have already guessed citrus fruits should be avoided. In fact, I would recommend avoiding most fruits as they are generally too acidic. A few exceptions are bananas, melons, pears and papaya. For some more acidic fruits like berries you can blend them with an alternative milk like almond milk and this will lower and neutralize their acidity which is a good way to get their taste and nutrition without worrrying about their acidity.

Alcohol, Soft Drinks, Fruit Juice, Drinks with Caffeine

Of course, most of alcoholic drinks are highly acidic and they can induce the reflux in the first place and can further irritate the throat directly. There are a few expections like some vodkas, gins which are not acidic which I cover in more depth in my Wipeout Diet Plan.

As for drinks with caffeine like coffee they should be avoided. This is because the caffeine can weaken the LES just like I mentioned in the section about chocolate. It can also irritate the throat and esophagus.

Soda and soft drinks are the worst thing you can probably take if you have acid reflux. Wether it’s Sprite or Gatorade or anything in between the vast majority of them are very acidic and should be avoided at all costs.

Foods to Avoid that Aren’t Typically Mentioned

Vinegar

Anything with vinegar I would highly recommend you avoid. The problem with vinegar is that not only is it acidic but when it passes over you throat it will irritate your throat even more. There is a reason why people use vinegar for some cleaning purposes and you effectively get this effect on your throat which you really want to avoid.

Dressings/Sauces/Condiments

Dressings, sauces and condiments generally should be avoided. This is because a lot of sauces contain things like vinegar or are made from a base of tomatoes which will further worsen your symptoms.

Spices

When I say spices there are a lot of spices that should be avoided, though there are some exceptions which you can enjoy. Some of these spices that you can use are – ginger, cumin, fennel and coriander seeds.

Following an Alkaline Diet and Why it’s Important

If you have LPR and want to go that extra mile I would suggest following an alkaline diet, it is the best laryngopharyngeal reflux diet out there. For me to fully explain the benefit of an alkaline diet I have to explain about a thing called pepsin. Pepsin is a digestive enzyme which is produced in the stomach and is used to help digest proteins.

When you reflux acid the pepsin also comes up with it. The problem for someone with LPR is once the pepsin gets in the throat it causes inflammation and irritation. The thing with pepsin is based on early research it can lay dormant in the throat for 24-48 hours’ time. The problem with it being dormant is that pepsin can be reactivated by things more acidic coming in contact with it, that means if you eat/drink something that is more acidic it will reactivate the pepsin more.

The thing worth noting is to avoid foods/drinks that have an acidity of lower than 5 pH (acidity scale). The point is if you avoid these foods/drinks with the lower pH level (higher acidity) that pepsin won’t be reactivated, and your throat can then properly heal. You can see in the chart below how the acidity effects the pepsin activity. You can read more about pepsin in my complete LPR guide.

Also if you want a diet plan that matches all of these criteria I recommend you check out my Wipeout Diet Plan which has been created to help stop LPR and all its symptoms. Also if you want even more tailored advice or have more questions consider a consultation with myself here.

pepsin pH diagram

Not only does an alkaline diet benefit this but it also means less reflux because of the much lower acid intake!

Related Posts –

LPR Diet – The First Steps

Natural LPR Remedies – For Further Remedies Advice and Guidance


39 thoughts on “Laryngopharyngeal Reflux – Foods to Avoid”

  1. Kristi M Beckman

    Diet is very difficult to follow for me with the elimination of my morning coffee and my social glass of wine a couple times a week with friends. I can do without chocolate and other acid forming foods, but caffeine and alcohol at my age (65) is next to impossible. May as well shoot me. LOL!

    1. I know myself as a coffee lover it is difficult but trust me that once you stop taking it not only do you feel a lot better but you also stop craving it as much if not at all over time.

    2. You should look into roasted chicory, you can buy it on ebay. there are other coffee alternatives but some are pricy. If you just find it wholesale thats better, also i add a pinch of baking soda to my coffee grounds. It neutralizes the ph so its less acidic and it also benefits the taste, its much smoother. Just add a tiny bit though

      1. Idk if you have studied it or not but i add baking soda to my coffee grounds, it makes a noticeable difference. Also when i get indigestion, the only thing that helps is drinking water with a spoonful of baking soda. I immediately start burping and all the indigestion goes away.

    1. What is the reason behind decaf coffee not being okay? The small amount of residual caffeine? I have LPR and caffeinated coffee gives me a lot of unpleasant symptoms immediately, but decaf doesn’t seem to bother me much so far.

      1. It’s just a good idea to avoid. You may not notice any substantial downside though there could be some slight downside that prevents complete and further healing if drank regularly. Of course decaf would be the better option. If you don’t think it bothers you I think a cup of it daily should be relatively okay. Though when starting out healing I suggest to avoid all coffee for a least 1 month.

  2. Thank you for this good information. I was recently diagnosed with acid reflux and the only symptom is sore throat/thick throat. I’ve been working to avoid certain acidic foods in the week since, but find conflicting information everywhere. I understand lettuce is non acidic and I love to eat salad, but dressing is now the issue. Previously, I used either a Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic vinegar with olive oil mixture. Any suggestions for a way to go with Salad Dressing?

    1. You are welcome Tracy! Yes lettuce and most leaves are quite good to eat. Yes most if not all store bought dressings are highly acidic and should be avoided at all costs. For me personally it depends on what you enjoy but if you like it more plain you can simply use extra virgin olive oil. If you like some spices added you can cook the spices along with a little extra virgin olive oil and water and the spices of your choice – spices that should be fine that come to mind are ginger, cumin, fennel, paprika, or even herbs like coriander basil etc.

  3. Hello I suffer from LPR. I take dr prescribed pantoprazole twice (once in the morning and once before bed)

    For the most part, the pantoprazole has made a dramatic difference but there are still some days where my LPR kicks in to major overdrive:(

    Last night for my wife’s birthday, we had Cajun mildly spicy crab, mussels, clams, with corn, sausage and potatoes. I had sweet tea for my drink. I had a mild LPR attack on the drive home and was persistently clearing my throat, etc. When we got home, we had birthday cake and I also enjoy hot green tea with honey (it’s my staple drink and I never drink coffee – I do drink a lot of diet sodas especially ginger lime Diet Coke) and probably went to bed 3-4 hours later (taking the Pantoprazole as usual).

    I slept pretty well for the most part but after I started waking from my sleep, the acid in my throat was constant and I was clearing my throat, coughing even gagging to try to clear it for over an hour.

    Since I have been on the Pantoprazole, I do not have these attacks very often (for several years U had them pretty much every time after eating before I was diagnosed with LPR).

    Did my diet last night spur this LPR attack?:(

    1. Hey,
      Yes definitely sounds like what you ate and drink caused them worsened symptoms for you. Most of the foods/drinks you mentioned would worsen LPR symptoms especially for someone who is more sensitive.

  4. I am debating taking ppi meds or not, I have constant clearing throat and weak up at night “choking” on it… i need a major book diet guide to start. I really want to start changing my diet first. What do you suggest for “instant” reliefs?

    1. I suggest diet changes, a low acid diet like my wipeout diet. This is much more important and effective at helping LPR than any medication as studies have shown.

  5. I got Dr. Aviv’s book “Killing Me Softly From Inside” and after 3 days of the Phase One Diet I did not crave packaged or sweet foods. Tastebuds are weird things! Early on I gave up alcohol and chocolate (etc), and I have to say after a while I didn’t want them anymore (the alcohol took weeks but it tastes bad to me now)! I’ve grown to love my Kaffree Roma “coffee” in the a.m. and Bragg’s Liquid Aminoes for seasoning. I DO still really miss mayonaise and tomato sauce. Hang in there.

  6. Problem is, if you follow the advice (diet, lifestyle), HOW SOON can you get rid of pepsin and heal??? It’s been quite a while for me and no signs of healing……

    1. I mean most people see an improvement if they are following the right diet etc. within 1 month. For you it could be some something in the diet or lifestyle holding you back perhaps.

  7. Hello, im not sure if I fall into the category of LPR . But I have struggled with acid and stomach problems since I was 13, I am 25 now and things have only gotten worse. The Dr initially found pulllops on my galbladder so I had that removed. It helped for a bit but I still had problems. I had been throwing up because the acid was so painful. Mostly everything I ate. I was 280 at my heaviest in highschool and all the throwing up I had went down to 190 at my skinniest from being sick. I have gained back weight and kept things down for some years but now I’m throwing up everything I eat, no matter what it is, and naturally I stay away from acidic foods, so even my safe meals are giving me bad heartburn and just making my stomach feel terrible I throw up everything in my stomach at this point and still feel sick and still have heartburn. I take tums I still have heartburn, I use omeprazole and I still get heartburn, I’ve never been checked for a ulcer but I believe I could have one, the dr has tested me for GERD and gastro intestinal issues but have both came back negative. I had upper and lower endoscopy but all they found were small pinch like marks all along inside of stomach lining but they had no answer to what it was, said they may have found some kind of relevance of celiac disease in my intestines. I am at a loss of what to do, I’m scared for my gut health, I’ve cause damage on my teeth enamel and i don’t want to keep going through this, or getting the run around with physicians I just want answers and comfort. If you could shed any insight in to what might be going on with me I’d greatly appreciate it. Thank you.

    1. Hi Carson,
      I definitely suggest closely looking at your diet firstly, chances are perhaps something you are eating or drinking is making it worse, it could even be the meds you are taking. Send me an email to david@wipeoutreflux.com with your typical diet and meds and I can offer better advice from there.

  8. Hello David,
    Thank you for the info.

    I have had LPR for a number of years. Right now I’m in a bad flareup. Just wondering — is the Wipeout Diet much different than the Acid Watcher Diet? I tried the AWD, but it was hard to do because I have an egg allergy and a number of the meals included eggs.

    Thanks

    T

    1. Hi Laura,
      As you might expect there is some overlap to the diets as would be expected with any acid reflux diet. I think the devils in the details and that’s why I have focused on the smaller details that some other diet plans don’t cover. Most of the meals plans included do not use eggs so I imagine it should be easy to follow for yourself.

  9. I have tried ground cloves crushed and boiled in water and also clove powder in water and they seem to soothe my throat very much. Would it be OK to drink these regular? Has anyone else found cloves to be soothing?

    1. So cloves should be fine to take. Just make sure it’s just cloves and nothing else added. I imagine it should be fine to take regularly if you don’t notice any negative effect after taking it.

  10. Hi David,
    Just diagnoses with LRP and my throat really hurts. Can I take aspirin, Tylenol or Advil or will they make it worse?
    If yes, what can I take for this horrible sore throat!!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      If you want to take painkillers I would suggest paracetamol because it’s more gentle on the stomach than most other painkillers.

  11. With LPR, do you have to stay on this diet forever? or is it just until symptoms resolve and then you can go back to eating the trigger foods again?

    1. It depends on each person. For some they will have to be more strict to the diet whereas for others they might be able to return to a normal diet again.

  12. It has been recently suggested by a new E N T that the scarring in my throat and symptoms are the result of LPR.
    I am in my early 70’s.
    I love spicy foods; so this will become a big lifestyle change.
    My question is whether my vocal chords are permanently damaged?
    My singing range has changed from soprano to low alto and I have started using this lower range . Can I get my normal range back, or is this permanent?
    Thank you.

    1. It’s hard to say without actually seeing your vocal cords but from my knowledge when you are treating the condition properly you should see an improvement and I’d imagine that your vocal cords will start to feel better and likely back to normal once you have the right treatment regime.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top