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I've had a variety of singing teachers, all of whom assured me that eating chocolate prior to singing was bad for my voice. This is assumed fact amongst almost all other singers I have known. I've never come across the original research though, so is this claim based on scientific evidence or not?

  • This is possibly based on the belief that eating dairy products causes mucus to form, which is untrue. However, dairy might cause existing saliva/mucus to thicken which might affect voice. – dancek Mar 12 '12 at 8:38
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    I bet if you're choking on it and can't speak that qualifies as bad for your voice. You shouldn't talk while your mouth is full of chocolate. – Bart Silverstrim Mar 15 '12 at 13:37
  • A surprising number of singers believe that the things they swallow affect their vocal cords because the substance makes direct contact and leaves residue on the tissue of the vocal cords. This is of course completely false. – phoog Dec 23 '16 at 14:34
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According to Voice Care Knowledge Among Clinicians and People With Healthy Voices or Dysphonia Journal of Voice Volume 21,January 2007, Pages 80–91:

Chocolate as a solid caffeine may be detrimental to the voice

Four references (6, 18, 25 and 36) are cited for supporting this statement.

The effects of preventive vocal hygiene education on the vocal hygiene habits and perceptual vocal characteristics of training singers J Voice, 14 (2000), pp. 59–71

Clinical Voice Pathology: Theory and Management (3rd ed.)Singular, San Diego, CA (2000)

Vocal Arts Medicine: The Care and Prevention of Professional Voice Disorders Thieme Medical, New York, NY (1994)

Effect of caffeine on the vocal folds: a pilot study J Laryngol Otol, 113 (1999), pp. 341–345

This last reference says:

changes were seen to authenticate the fact that caffeine does produce alterations in voice quality

  • At most of the church choir jobs I've held, singers have eagerly sought coffee in order to enable them to sing the Sunday morning services. So caffeine may be beneficial to the voice rather than harmful. – phoog Dec 23 '16 at 14:36
  • @phoog another article finds that caffeine in beverage form had no effect cafeesaude.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/… So either this only applies to solid chocolate (as opposed to beverages) or one of the studies is wrong. – DavePhD Dec 23 '16 at 17:45
  • Part of my point was that your last quote doesn't necessarily imply that caffeine or chocolate or anything is bad for the voice. "Alterations in voice quality" might be beneficial. – phoog Dec 24 '16 at 4:25

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