Are there any food/drinks that, if consumed regularly over a long period of time, would have a permanent negative effect on the throat, and especially the singing voice?

  • 2
    Broken glass...
    – NReilingh
    Jul 26 '11 at 20:14
  • @NReilingh, You mean fishbone?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 1 '14 at 19:17

Permanently? Not really; there's nothing that would be generally called "food" or "drink" that would immediately and permanently have a detrimental effect on your singing voice.

However, avoid cigarette smoking (really any type of smoking or tobacco use) and alcohol, as these can have a cumulative effect that builds up over time. If you stop now, before any change becomes noticeable, your body will heal. However, once the effects of these things reaches a critical mass, they will become permanent, and while they may improve, your career as a singer will likely be over.

I would also caution against regularly eating very spicy foods. The capsaicin will actually irritate and erode the mucous membranes of the mouth and throat, which in the extreme can cause permanent damage. They can also cause acid reflux which can damage the pharynx in other ways. I don't mean cut out spicy food entirely; I love jalapenos and chili and you probably couldn't get me to stop eating them entirely. Just cut back on the heat, and don't eat these things every day.

  • i know acid reflux is painful. but is acid reflux that dangerous?
    – Pacerier
    Jul 27 '11 at 17:07
  • 3
    @Pacerier: Absolutely. Over time, stomach acid wears away your esophagus lining, which greatly increases the risk of throat cancer. And KeithS, out of curiosity, do you have any references to the spicy foods stuff? I'm not trying to call you out, I'm just interested in it.
    – Babu
    Jul 28 '11 at 19:58
  • 1
    Anything bad about coffee? also, alcohol?
    – arsaKasra
    Feb 5 '14 at 6:17
  • @Keiths, How would regular consumption of alcohol damage the throat?
    – Pacerier
    Jun 1 '14 at 19:17
  • 1
    Would moderate or light drinking hurt the throat? Should singers avoid alcohol altogether?
    – Kevin
    Jun 2 '14 at 5:08

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