If you’ve got persistent acid reflux, you know it can be a tough and uncomfortable experience.
That burning feeling in your chest, a sour taste in the back of your throat, the sudden urge to regurgitate that lunch you had a few hours ago – you probably feel like you can’t eat or drink anything without feeling sick later on.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Changing your diet and lifestyle to keep your acid reflux at bay isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. That means no caffeine, no carbonated beverages, less meat and the list goes on.
It can feel like torture especially when you’re used to drinking caffeine in the morning.
However, as much as many doctors advise those with acid reflux to avoid caffeine, there aren’t many studies that prove caffeine as the direct cause of acid reflux. Some people with acid reflux apparently can still continue having caffeine if it’s not one of their triggers.
Maybe you’re one of those people and you’re interested in trying energy drinks but aren’t sure of which one to pick. Or perhaps you love energy drinks but you’re not sure which ones are best for your acid reflux.
Look no further as this article will cover several topics on acid reflux and energy drinks that you’ll find helpful.
Reminder: most medical advice on avoiding acid reflux involves steering clear of caffeine, thus consult your doctor before consuming any energy drinks or anything caffeinated.
Table of Contents
Can energy drinks cause acid reflux?
Energy drinks can possibly be one of the causes of acid reflux because energy drinks often contain high levels of caffeine, sugar and sometimes carbonated water which can trigger acid reflux. However, this varies from one individual to another.
For some people, caffeine can be a possible trigger for acid reflux. Caffeine has been known to increase acid production and digestive enzymes in the gastrointestinal tract.
Caffeine has also been found to relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which then most likely leads to heartburn symptoms.
However, energy drinks aren’t only made up of caffeine but an assortment of other ingredients as well.
Some energy drinks in the market contain guarana, taurine, B vitamins, natural or artificial flavors and colorings, and preservatives.
Energy drinks could trigger acid reflux due to the presence of guarana, as guarana also contains caffeine. Guarana is a Brazilian plant and its seeds naturally have high concentrations of caffeine.
Fun fact: 1g of guarana is almost the same as 40mg of caffeine!
Despite this, the caffeine content from guarana is usually not added up to the total caffeine tally in energy drinks. Thus, even if the caffeine mentioned on the label of the energy drink can is pretty low, the actual caffeine content might be higher and is likely to trigger your acid reflux.
Furthermore, I also found out that certain preservatives like citric acid and other chemicals found in energy drinks can weaken the esophageal sphincter muscle and cause a backflow of stomach contents, leading to acid reflux.
However, whether this happens to you or not depends on you as an individual. The ingredients in energy drinks might or might not cause heartburn. If you find that energy drinks don’t trigger acid reflux, I think it’s alright for you to consume them.
That said, before you do decide to consume energy drinks, always check with your doctor first.
You never know if energy drinks could worsen your condition in the long run even though they don’t seem to affect you now.
Can I drink energy drinks if I have acid reflux?
I do believe that you can drink energy drinks in moderation if drinking them doesn’t set off any symptoms for your acid reflux. But I advise you to first discuss with your doctor whether or not you can consume energy drinks if you have acid reflux.
Some experts don’t recommend drinking beverages like coffee, tea, energy drinks and sodas if you have acid reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) because of the high caffeine content.
However, for some individuals, energy drinks don’t trigger any symptoms of acid reflux or GERD and they’re able to consume energy drinks without experiencing any side effects.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact ingredient that triggers acid reflux/GERD. It could be a specific food or a combination of certain foods that cause acid reflux.
A 2019 study carried an investigation on whether the consumption of caffeinated drinks and the addition of milk and sugar triggered GERD. It was reported that drinking caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea and adding additives to them weren’t associated with acid reflux symptoms.
Some experts believe that caffeine is not really the trigger for acid reflux, but rather other ingredients caffeinated beverages contain.
In my opinion, you might benefit from paying close attention to the beverages that trigger your acid reflux and only consume beverages that you know you’re able to tolerate.
I recommend opting for energy drinks that are sugar-free and have lower amounts of caffeine. That way, you’ll find that they don’t upset your stomach too much and cause unwanted side effects.
Can Monster energy drink cause heartburn?
Monster hasn’t been known to cause heartburn. But if you have GERD or persistent heartburns, you may experience symptoms of heartburn after drinking Monster. This is because Monster contains large amounts of caffeine, sugars and additives, all of which are possible triggers for heartburn.
Monster contains 179mg of caffeine and 59g of added sugars. Even for people with no acid reflux, these quantities are massive.
Caffeine has properties that can irritate your stomach lining and aggravate heartburn. This is the reason why people who have GERD or constantly experience heartburn are advised to eliminate caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea from their diet.
On the other hand, high amounts of processed sugars are known to cause indigestion and an increase in acidity levels in your digestive tract, which would lead to heartburn.
Though for some reason, caffeine only causes heartburn in some individuals. For others, they feel perfectly alright even after drinking large amounts of caffeine.
Thus, whether Monster causes heartburn or not depends on you as an individual. If you find that Monster doesn’t lead to heartburn for you, you can continue consuming them. But limit your intake because drinking too many energy drinks can cause other side effects.
If you’d like to know if Monster is good for you or not, I’ve covered everything you need to know in another article you can find here.
Can caffeine cause acid reflux?
Caffeine is said to be one of the triggers for acid reflux as caffeine can weaken your esophageal sphincter muscle. However, not everyone who suffers from acid reflux or GERD experiences trigger symptoms after consuming caffeine.
For some people, caffeine is a possible trigger for acid reflux. This is probably because caffeine can trigger heartburn and relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). Though, many studies are unable to single caffeine out as one of the main causes of acid reflux.
Energy drinks have a notorious reputation in the market for containing crazy quantities of caffeine and sugar. The amount of caffeine in an energy drink depends on the brand and can be as low as 50mg to as high as 300mg per can.
Some of the energy drinks contain more caffeine than a cup of coffee or tea!
|Types of beverages||Caffeine content|
|Black coffee (8 fl.oz)||95mg – 165mg|
|Green tea||5mg to 40mg|
|Monster energy drink||179mg|
Most doctors would recommend limiting or avoiding caffeinated beverages if you have acid refluxes or GERD. Though, there is little evidence that caffeine triggers or worsens the symptoms of acid reflux.
But since the effects of caffeine on acid reflux differs from person to person, you should avoid the consumption of caffeine if caffeine turns out to be one of your triggers.
Plus, don’t go overboard with energy drinks either. Since energy drinks are highly-caffeinated, stick to the FDA’s recommended caffeine intake which is less than 400mg of caffeine per day to stay safe.
You can go for alternatives that have little to no caffeine like decaffeinated coffee, fruit juices or plain water.
Can sugar trigger acid reflux?
Sugar by itself apparently doesn’t trigger acid reflux. But sugar is often found in food and drinks that do worsen or trigger acid reflux symptoms.
Some of the trigger foods and drinks that contain sugar are:
- Fatty foods
- Citrus foods
- Caffeinated beverages like coffee
You should either cut back on or avoid these food and drinks if you find that they trigger acid reflux.
High intake of processed sugars and carbohydrates can cause inflammation and indigestion in your digestive tract, increasing its acidity which would eventually lead to symptoms of acid reflux or heartburn.
But natural sugars, like the ones you find in vegetables and fruits, won’t affect your acid reflux at all.
Sometimes, your acid reflux is caused by low levels of acid in your stomach instead of the other way around. A diet rich in processed sugars can cause a decrease in stomach acid.
When your stomach acids are inadequate, your digestive tract is unable to kill harmful bacteria in foods and break them down into important nutrients. This can lead to gas and bloating, which might trigger symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn.
If you want to know how much sugar you should consume, the American Heart Association (AHA) has guidelines on the maximum daily sugar intake for adults:
|Men||36g (150 calories)|
|Women||25g (100 calories)|
In my opinion, it’ll be better if you limit your consumption of sugar in your daily life. While sugar can provide you with energy for a while, too much sugar can lead to sugar crashes, leaving you feeling tired and lethargic.
Best drinks for acid reflux
Besides making lifestyle changes, it’s important to make alterations to your diet too. If you know caffeine triggers your acid reflux or if you want to reduce the occurrence of acid reflux, these are some of the drinks you can go for:
Avoid apple juice, pineapple juices and citrus beverages as these drinks are very acidic and can triggers your acid reflux. Instead opt for less acidic fruit juices like carrot juice and watermelon juice.
Herbal teas like chamomile tea and ginger tea are known to be able to alleviate stomach problems and improve digestion. However, be sure to avoid spearmint tea and peppermint teas as mint can trigger symptoms of acid reflux.
Water is the best beverage you can ask for. It has a neutral pH value of 7.0 and won’t set off symptoms of acid reflux.
Plus, drinking water keeps you hydrated, aids your digestion and prevents constipation.
Best energy drinks for acid reflux
Until now, nobody has been able to pinpoint the reason caffeinated beverages trigger symptoms of acid reflux. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t consume anything caffeinated at all, including energy drinks.
What you really need to do is limit your caffeine intake and avoid foods and drinks that you know trigger your acid reflux.
Let’s get into the best energy drinks that you can consume even if you have acid reflux (if your doctor says it’s alright)…
Red Bull energy drink
|Taurine, B vitamins||Yes|
In general, Red Bull has a pretty moderate amount of caffeine that most likely won’t give you any side effects or trigger your acid reflux. But Red Bull does contain quite a lot of sugar and calories, which might lead to sugar crashes and other health risks.
If you find that this amount of caffeine doesn’t set off any symptoms, I’d recommend Red Bull to get your energy boost. Though as always, keep your consumption moderate.
If you want to learn more about Red Bull, you can check out this other article I’ve written that covers all you need to know about the world’s most famous energy drink.
Guru energy drink
|B vitamins, natural extracts||Not specified|
Guru is quite a healthy energy drink as it contains a lot of organic extracts and even natural flavors. Though the higher amount of caffeine (20mg more compared to Red Bull) can be a cause for concern if you have persistent acid reflux.
If you think you can tolerate this much caffeine, you can go for Guru energy drink. But if you find that it triggers your acid reflux, avoid it completely and go for energy drinks with less caffeine.
REIZE (10 out of 10)
|Taurine, B vitamins||LOTS!|
REIZE is my favourite energy drink of all time.
REIZE has 50mg of caffeine, a sensible amount that doesn’t upset my stomach in any way. It also doesn’t cause any indigestion and bloating for me.
Plus, REIZE is sugar-free and contains a smart blend of taurine, ginseng and B vitamins to go along with the caffeine that provides me with a great, long-lasting energy boost. I don’t experience any crashes even hours after consuming it, which is another thing I love about REIZE.
Best of all, REIZE only costs about $1 per drink, including shipping right to your door.
Give REIZE a try and you might find that it’s the perfect energy drink for you even when you have acid reflux.