Many people are complaining about heartburn, chest or stomach pain after drinking certain types of juices.
However, we cannot say that all juices can cause chest or stomach problems. The answer depends both on the juice and on the person drinking it.
Stomach pain after drinking juice
Even though many people think fruit juices are healthy, this is often not the case. The high sugar and low fiber content of these juices might trigger stomach discomfort. On top of that, many fruit juices sold in supermarkets contain added sugar, which further increases the risk of digestive issues.
Simply drinking too much is probably the most common cause of stomach pain after fruit juices. However, those who experience symptoms regularly might have an underlying health problem that should be diagnosed.
These are the most common medical conditions that can trigger stomach pain after drinking fruit juices:
Possible symptoms are:
- stomach cramps
- abdominal pain
- nausea, vomiting
Chest pain after drinking juice
Juice-induced chest pain is less common than stomach pain, but still a possible symptom.
By far the most common cause is heartburn, but sometimes stomach pain caused by digestive disorders might radiate up to the chest.
Sometimes food allergies or food intolerance might also trigger chest pain.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the more popular juices and the way they are likely to interact with the digestive system.
Orange juice and heartburn
Orange juice is a common trigger of heartburn. However, the reason for experiencing heartburn after drinking orange juice is not entirely understood, it seems to be related to the high acid content of orange juice.
This study has found that orange juice is likely to trigger heartburn if you are prone to acid reflux.
Orange juice is the second most appealing flavor in the US and is among the most popular drinks.
Orange juice contains a lot of:
- vitamins (especially C, and A)
Freshly squeezed orange juice also contains a lot of fiber.
However, many experts say that orange juice is not as healthy as we are being told.
The reason for that is the high sugar content. Orange juice contains almost as much sugar as Coca-Cola, which can cause blood sugar spikes and lead to cardiovascular, and kidney problems.
What to do if orange juice causes heartburn?
Research shows that calcium-fortified orange juice might be less likely to cause heartburn.
Upper stomach pain after drinking orange juice
Experiencing discomfort in the upper stomach or lower chest area after drinking orange juice is fairly common.
More often than not, the pain isn’t caused by the stomach (or chest), but by the esophagus. When digestive juices can seep up into the food pipe, they can irritate its lining, causing a burning sensation, called heartburn.
The pain is often felt in the upper stomach, where the food pipe joins the stomach, and sometimes higher, in the lower or middle chest area.
Apple juice and acid reflux
We all know that apple is a very healthy fruit: “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”
Even though apple is an acidic fruit, fresh apples are usually considered to be safe for people with acid reflux, because of the alkaline calcium and magnesium content.
However, drinking apple juice might cause problems, as it contains a lot more sugar than fresh apples and no fiber. Sugary foods and drinks are a no-no to people with reflux.
It is also worth noting, that some people are simply allergic to apples, and apple allergy might be causing chest or stomach symptoms, not reflux.
What to do if apple juice causes you chest pain?
If only apple and apple juice cause you chest pain, acid reflux is unlikely to be the reason. Usually, reflux has more than one “trigger food”, like sugary or fatty foods. In such cases, an apple allergy test might be a sensible choice.
Fresh apples have less sugar and a lot more fiber content than apple juice. Switching from the juice to apples might solve your problem. Try multiple types of apples, red ones are considered less likely to cause chest pain, than green ones.
You might also try calcium-fortified apple juices, just like in the case of orange juices, it might relieve your abdominal pain.
If none of this helps, limiting or completely eliminating your apple consumption is probably the best you can do.
The high fructose content of apple juice might cause bloating, especially when you drink too much at once.
While digesting the fructose, gas is produced and this might cause stomach pain after drinking apple juice. If this is the cause of your stomach pain, it should go away in about an hour.
Fructose intolerance is another possible reason. If your body cannot digest fructose, you should eliminate high fructose foods from your diet, or consume only small amounts. Otherwise, you may experience stomach pain, diarrhea, and bloating.
Is pineapple juice good for acid reflux?
While pineapple has many great nutrients and health benefits, it is a highly acidic fruit, therefore pineapple juice is usually not recommended to people suffering from heartburn.
However, according to the guidelines of the American College of Gastroenterology, there are “no studies performed” yet that would justify GERD symptoms’ improvement when eliminating acidic foods and drinks from your diet. According to the ACG:
Not routinely recommended for GERD patients. Selective elimination could be considered if patients note correlation with GERD symptoms and improvement with elimination.(source)
In plain English: give it a try and see if pineapple juice causes you heartburn or not…
Can pineapple juice cause stomach pain?
Several medical conditions might cause stomach pain after drinking pineapple juice:
- Pineapple allergy: if you think you are allergic to pineapples, go to an allergologist and get tested.
- Drinking too much on an empty stomach: pineapple is highly acidic and contains a lot of vitamin C, this might irritate an empty stomach.
- Bromelain content: bromelain in pineapple might irritate your stomach, especially if you have ulcers.
- High sugar content: pineapple contains a lot of sugar, pineapple juice has an even higher sugar content, which might cause digestion problems.
Grapefruit juice and stomach pain
Just like other highly acidic juices, grapefruit juice can trigger stomach pain when drinking too much on an empty stomach. This might happen even if you are completely healthy.
This study has found that stomach pain after consuming grapefruit is more likely if you are female, over 60, and have been taking certain drugs for 1-6 months.
Grapefruit can also cause stomach cramps and other stomach problems if you have certain existing medical conditions, such as:
- Allergy: Some people might be allergic to grapefruit, citrus fruits in general, or might have salicylate sensitivity. In such cases, abdominal pain is a common reaction to consuming grapefruit.
- Taking certain drugs: Grapefruit juice can affect the way drugs interact with your body. Check out the FDA website for a list of drugs that don’t mix with grapefruit.
- Gastritis and ulcers: If you have ulcers or inflammation in your stomach, the highly acidic grapefruit juice might irritate it and cause stomach pain.
- Acid reflux: If certain foods trigger acid reflux for you, chances are grapefruit juice is among them. The typical symptom of acid reflux is chest pain (heartburn), but it might also cause stomach discomfort.
Can grapefruit juice cause acid reflux?
Just like other citrus fruits, grapefruit is highly acidic. According to WebMD, grapefruit is among the top 10 heartburn trigger foods.
If you are an acid reflux sufferer and the lining of your esophagus is already damaged, grapefruit juice might irritate your food pipe and cause chest pain.
However, if you are healthy and don’t drink excessive amounts of grapefruit juice, you should be fine.
Can cranberry juice cause heartburn?
Cranberry juice is not as acidic as orange or grapefruit juice but still might trigger heartburn for some people.
Cranberries also contain salicylic acid, just like aspirin. So those who have symptoms after taking aspirin might want to steer clear of cranberry juice.
Even though cranberry juice is a possible acid reflux trigger, it might also be beneficial for the gut and the entire body:
- Inhibits H. pylori adhesion to gastric mucus. H. pylori doesn’t cause acid reflux but might cause ulcers.
- Protects against esophageal cancer. This type of cancer is a possible (albeit not common) long-term consequence of untreated acid reflux.
- Might help to relieve urinary tract infection.
Other fruit juices and chest pain
According to this study, citrus drinks and juices are often reported to cause heartburn. Therefore it’s good to avoid not only orange juice, but grapefruit juice, and drinks with lemon and lime.
Most fruit juices – like grapes, cranberries, cherry, mango, peaches, pears, etc. – are more or less acidic, so they might cause reflux symptoms. Although they are usually considered to be reflux-friendly drinks, they might cause heartburn for some people.
It is worth noting, that experts don’t really recommend fruit juices, especially for kids, as their high sugar content can cause weight gain.
If you want to drink fruit juices, try blending the fresh fruit instead of buying a highly-processed drink in the supermarket. This will not only include less sugar but will also include the fibers that are often removed from juices.
Eating fresh fruit is your best option, blending is the second best.
As for chest pain after drinking such juices, the bottom line is that it’s hard to predict whether a certain type of juice will cause symptoms or not.
You can try drinking a cup and see if it causes stomach, chest, or throat problems. If yes, you might want to eliminate that fruit from your diet.
However, you need to make sure that your symptoms are caused by that particular fruit and not by some other food you also consumed.
A good way to track what you were eating and whether it caused your symptoms or not is a food diary. Just write down for at least a week or two everything you ate and when you had symptoms. After a while, you should see a pattern and be able to find out which foods should be avoided.