What causes sore throat after eating?

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Some people experience sore throat after eating certain foods. The two main causes of eating-related sore throat are:

  • food allergy
  • silent reflux (also called laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR)

It is important to watch your other symptoms, as a sore throat caused by a food allergy can quickly advance to anaphylaxis, which requires immediate medical help.

Sore throat and food allergy

A great video about why certain fruits and veggies might trigger allergic symptoms. Duration: 3:23.

Food allergy is an abnormal reaction of the immune system to certain foods or an ingredient.

Albeit food allergy might cause stomach pain, it is not related to the digestive system. If the body is unable to digest certain foods and it causes symptoms, we talk about food intolerance.

If you are allergic to certain foods, symptoms are usually triggered right after swallowing the food.

These are the common symptoms of food allergies:

  • itchy mouth and eyes
  • hives and skin rash
  • swelling of various body parts (usually the lips, face, tongue, and throat)
  • runny nose
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble swallowing
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness

Food allergy symptoms can be mild, however, sometimes can be very serious. The most serious symptom is anaphylaxis, which requires immediate help.

If you think food allergy causes your sore throat after eating, it is important to consult with an allergist to identify the kind of food allergy you might have.

There is a wide variety of foods people can be allergic to, however, these are the most common foods that might cause allergic reactions:

  • tree nuts
  • peanuts
  • cow milk
  • egg
  • soy
  • wheat
  • sesame
  • shellfish

While a food diary can help to identify which foods you are allergic to, talking to an allergist is still essential, and a food allergy test is also highly recommended.

Sore throat and silent reflux

A great video about reflux in the throat and a book recommendation to help the problem. Duration: 3:47.

When contents of the stomach seep back into the food pipe and irritate the lining of the esophagus, we talk about acid reflux. The typical symptom of this is a burning sensation in the chest, called heartburn.

In case of silent reflux (, or laryngopharyngeal reflux, or LPR), stomach acids find their way up to the throat and voice box, irritating the back of the throat.

These are the common symptoms of silent reflux:

Many people with LPR don’t experience heartburn at all, that’s why LPR is called silent reflux.

It might take 30-60 minutes after eating for the symptoms to flare up and might last for 2 hours.

Common trigger foods are:

Identifying and avoiding the foods that trigger silent reflux can help to manage your condition.

Several lifestyle changes can further reduce the risk of LPR symptoms:

  • eat smaller meals more frequently
  • chew your food well
  • no physical exercises after eating
  • do not lie down after eating
  • do not eat 2-3 hours before bedtime

Sore throat after eating oily food

Even though saturated fat might induce food allergy, it is more likely that silent reflux is the culprit in this case.

Oily and fatty foods are very hard to digest, they stay in the stomach for a long time and need a lot of stomach acids to digest.

On top of that, it is easy to eat too much from these foods, which makes the acid flow-back more likely.

Small sips of water or honey might help to relieve your symptoms.

Can sugar cause sore throat?

Yes, eating sugar can also cause a sore throat.

It is still debated if a true sugary allergy exists or not, but scientists seem to agree, even if it exists, it’s probably very rare. (However, sugar intolerance is more common.)

This means chances are LPR is causing the sore throat after eating sweets, chocolate, candy, or even drinking soda.

To avoid symptoms, you need to cut back on your sugar intake. Start with foods that contain added sugar.

Final thoughts

If you have a sore throat after eating, it is important to diagnose the medical condition causing this symptom. Chances are it is either food allergy or silent reflux.

Sometimes food allergies can have very severe symptoms, it is important to go for an allergy test if you think you have a food allergy.

There are a wide variety of foods that can trigger either food allergy or silent reflux. It is not easy to diagnose the exact cause, therefore we recommend talking to a doctor if you are experiencing a sore throat after eating.

Frequently asked questions

Can I have a sore throat after drinking soda?

Soda is very high in sugar, which means it can trigger silent reflux symptoms.
If it is carbonated, the chances of LPR symptoms are even higher.

Can deep-fried food cause sore throat?

Deep-fried foods contain a lot of oil and/or fat, they are hard to digest. Therefore they might trigger silent reflux symptoms, like a sore throat.

Why do I have a sore throat after drinking coffee?

Coffee and caffeine is another common trigger of silent reflux. Especially when sugar and cow milk is added.
An allergic reaction might also be a possible reason, as some people can be allergic to caffeine.

Why do fruits give me a sore throat?

The reason can be either allergy or silent reflux.
From cherries to bananas, people can be allergic to all kinds of fruits.
Other fruits, like citrus fruits, are common trigger foods of silent reflux.