Imagine performing in a sold-out stadium or event centre, everyone is moving with the groove, enjoying the melodies, your backups on-point,  and your vocals give up right in the heart of your performance…

That’s so embarrassing…

There’s a lot of reasons behind this but one often underestimated factor is the kind of food eaten before the performance. And this article will show you the foods you need to put checks on and avoid to prevent these from happening or reoccurring.

Here’s a quick list of items that are commonly considered problematic for singers:

1. Dairy Products 

If you naturally have a nasally sound to your voice, or you have difficulties raising your soft palate for high notes, avoid milky drinks in general.

For most singers, taking dairy products like milk, butter, yoghurt, ice cream or cottage cheese will create mucus, and should be avoided within a couple of hours before singing. It causes a reflux trigger, extra mucus and mucus coats your throat and makes it harder to sing.

Avoiding milk on the day of your performance, and switching to water which hydrates the vocal cords and improves your tonal quality is your best bet.

2. Caffeine 

Caffeine dehydrates the vocal cords and can stimulate anxiety. This effect means caffeine can alter your singing. For example, if you suffer from anxiety, it is advised you avoid coffee (contains caffeine) on the day of your performance. Caffeine is a stimulant and encourages a ‘fight or flight’ feeling, which can make a person’s anxiety even worse. Drinking caffeine if you already suffer from anxiety could even cause a panic attack.   

 3. Spicy Foods 

Spicy foods are associated with grease which can irritate the throat and increase phlegm which massively affects the tone of the singer and a tingling sensation that makes you want to clear your throat which eventually leads to vocal fatigue. Also nasal drainage can be an effect of spicy foods which makes it very uncomfortable to sing.

Taking warm tea or water can help prevent vocal damage and clear your throat after taking  spicy foods.

4. Alcohol 

 It causes dehydrating, those drinks also dry out your voice, which can make the vocal fatigue even worse. Soon after, you’ll end up with a sore, scratchy, or lost voice.  

And when we get dehydrated, our body tries to fight back by overproducing mucus in our throat and nasal passage. Singing with a dry throat is bad, but singing with mucus in your throat is just as bad and can really harm your vocals.

Drinking Alcohol is even considered UNPROFESSIONAL by Master Vocal trainers. 

Some other effects include: Sticky saliva, diminished vocal control

Other foods singers must avoid before performance are;

• Processed Sugar – it causes extra mucus, sticky saliva, sugar crash.

•  Fried Foods & Chocolate – it causes dehydrating, sticky saliva, sugar crash, reflux trigger.

• Soft Drinks – it causes sticky saliva, carbonation, burping.


Don’t forget that every singer’s body will respond differently to their dietary choices and mealtimes. Some of these foods may have no adverse affects on your voice, but you may discover that a food not on this list causes your voice to react negatively. Elimination diet experiments or close observation of your diet and performance are the only surefire ways to identify which foods have an impact on your voice

Author: John G-AuRa

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *