GERD Diet

Read on to learn all about GERD diet. Article written by UK doctor. Here is a doctor's advice if you have acid reflux.

Everyone is an individual, therefore your personal experience of heartburn teaches you which foods lead to heartburn and acid reflux. 

However, there are common causes of heartburn such as fatty or spicy foods and there is a lot of general lifestyle advice that applies to most heartburn sufferers.

It can help to keep a record of what foods precipitate acid reflux symptoms and to learn from your experience. This record can be a written diary or a mental record.

GERD stands for gastroesophageal reflux disease which is also known as acid reflux disease. The most common symptom is heartburn.

See below for details of foods that help relieve heartburn, those that are safe to eat and those to avoid, when you are following an acid reflux diet.

GERD diet foods picture

Some advice that applies to most GERD sufferers:

  • If a certain food or drink leads to heartburn shortly after consuming it then obviously avoid this food!
  • Try not to eat large meals
  • Eat smaller portions of food than usual 4-8 times a day. 
  • Enjoy your food and consume it slowly
  • Thoroughly chew food before swallowing.
  • Do not lie down flat until 3-4 hours have passed after a meal
  • Therefore, do not go to bed for 3-4 hours after your last meal of the day
  • Allow drinks and food to cool down before eating. consuming hot food or drinks will burn your gullet. 
  • Drink alcohol in moderation. Avoid strong spirits.
  • If you happen to be overweight thenn try to lose those excess pounds.
  • Tight clothes around the abdomen should be avoided, so choose comfortable clothes that do not constrict.
  • Smoking aggravates acid reflux disease, so try to give up cigarettes.
  • It has been shown that lying on the right side can lead to acid reflux, so try to sleep lying on your left-hand side.
  • Sleeping with head of the bed raised helps to prevent reflux of acid so raise the the head of the bed.
  • If exercise leads to heartburn then try medication such as ranitidine (reduces the stomach acid) before exercising.

Which foods fequently lead to heartburn?

Fatty Foods such as:

  • Fried Foods
  • High Fat Meats
  • Butter and Margarine
  • Creamy Sauces
  • Mayonnaise
  • Whole milk dairy products
  • Salad dressings

Spicy Foods such as:

  • Chilli
  • Curried food
  • Mexican spicy foods
  • Indian hot curries

Other foods that may cause or aggravate heartburn are:

  • Chocolate
  • Citrus foods and drinks
  • Coffee and Caffeine containing beverages
  • Mint containing foods
  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Carbonated drinks and colas

Miscellaneous foods:

  • Tomato
  • Black Pepper

Other factors that affect gastroesophageal reflux disease are:

  • Tobacco – may worsen acid reflux.
  • Obesity – probably worsens GERD
  • Recumbent Position – worsens acid reflux – but maybe only those who have more severe GERD
  • Right lateral decubitus (RLD) Position – lying on your right side makes heartburn worse
  • Late evening Meal – eating less than 3 hours before going to bed may lead to heartburn
  • Large Meals – are more likely to lead to acid reflux than small meals
  • Hot Foods/Drinks – can irritate or burn the esophagus or gastric lining​

Heartburn no more ebook review

Which foods can cause heartburn? - more info

Experience teaches you quickly which foods lead to acid reflux. When you consume a certain food or drink you get heartburn. Wouldn’t you like to know what those foods are now so that you can avoid them or be prepared with antacid medication if required.

What follows is an easy to follow guide to a GERD diet.

What you eat, how much you eat, and when you eat affects your acid reflux. Warning: Some of the food suggestions that follow are going to be easier to swallow than others.

What are the foods I need to be careful of now that I have acid reflux?

The standard anti-reflux diet has not changed much over the last 25 years. It calls for restricting foods that seemed to bring on or aggravate acid reflux symptoms—spicy foods, acidic foods, fatty foods, as well as coffee, tea, and cola drinks. Two extra foods are on the list of foods to avoid because they are known to lower the esophageal sphincter pressure, which encourages stomach acid to reflux into the esophagus.

What are those two foods? This advice will probably not be welcome to you. They are peppermint and chocolate.

Has the gerd diet changed much recently?

Yes, there have been some modifications. These additions are the foods and drinks that worsen acid reflux either by weakening the lower esophageal sphincter, increasing the acid content of the stomach, or bloating up the abdomen, causing pressure up toward the esophagus.

Foods that weaken the lower esophageal sphincter muscle, encouraging acid reflux or heartburn should be eaten in smaller portions and limited in quantity. These foods are:

  • Fried or fatty foods
  • Coffee (including decaffeinated coffee which also increases acid content in the stomach)
  • Caffeinated tea and cola drinks (they increase acid content in the stomach)
  • Alcoholic beverages. (Although some studies have shown that small amounts of alcohol may actually protect the mucosal layer of the esophagus.)
  • Chocolate
  • Peppermint and spearmint
  • Garlic
  • Onions

Foods that increase the acid content in the stomach and should be limited or consumed in small portions. These foods are: 

  • All caffeinated drinks (coffee, tea, soda with caffeine)
  • Coffee (including decaffeinated coffee)
  • Food that can irritate a damaged esophageal lining and should be limited or eaten in small portions. These foods are: 
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Tomato products
  • Chili peppers
  • Pepper

Foods that can bloat up the abdomen causing increased abdominal pressures that causes acid to reflux back up into the esophagus.These foods are:

  • All carbonated beverages

Yes, I know the list above looks rather depressing and restrictive. What do you do if you love Italian food? How can you get through an Italian meal without lots of onions, garlic, or rich tomato sauce? And if you are like most Americans and enjoy regular cups of coffee throughout the day, how do you get through the day without those cups of coffee? And what about alcohol? If you enjoy having a drink of alcohol, every now and then, does this mean you need to stop that, too?

Well, it all depends on how severe your acid reflux is and which foods and drinks tend to cause problems for you personally. It also depends on the quantities of food or drink, and when in the day you are most susceptible?

Why do I experience heartburn every time I eat hot or spicy foods such as Indian and Mexican food?

Did you notice that spicy foods (other than chili peppers and pepper) are not on the above list. This is because they don’t actually cause acid reflux and heartburn. They simply make you more aware of heartburn. Which is definitely still a problem. In other words, eating spicy food isn’t going to increase the acid in your stomach or suddenly weaken your esophageal sphincter muscle, but when this occurs and the stomach contents come in contact with the esophagus, the presence of the spices will certainly irritate the esophagus.

What do you do if you love to eat spicy foods? Well there are tips that will help:

  • Try to eat spicy foods in small portions
  • Avoid eating a large meal at the same time you have your small amount of spicy food (large meals in general, classically worsen heartburn)
  • Try not to wash your little spicy meal down with alcohol or coffee (even decaf)
  • Try not to take a nap or lie down for several hours after your spicy meal
  • Chew some gum after the meal to help increase the flow of saliva

Alcohol—too much of a good thing?

It has actually been found in some studies that small amounts of alcohol may actually protect he mucosal lining of the esophagus. It is also known that a small doses of alcohol can speed up gastric emptying. This is a good thing if you have acid reflux. The more quickly your stomch empties its meal into the duodenum and small intestine, the sooner your esophagus isn’t being aggravated and irritated by the acidic stomach contents.

But that is where alcohol helping acid reflux and gerd ends. Alcohol relaxes the lower esophageal sphincter muscle (LES) and therefore potentially worsens acid reflux. Alcohol can also irritate the mucous membrane of the esophagus as it is passing down the esophagus. In terms of digestion, you can get too much of a good thing, also.

Whereas a low dose of alcohol can speed stomach emptying in the small intestine, high doses of alcohol slow stomach emptying (almost as if the stomach is drunk and confused), and even slow the movement of the bowel.

How much is a little alcohol?

It really depends on the person. When gerd sufferers have been interviewed many were able to manage their symptoms with no more than one drink a day.

Which types of alcohol are we talking about?

All types of alcohol are suspect, although some people mentioned a particular problem with red wine. Spirits are also a problem because the percentage alcohol is so high.

If I switch to decaffeinated coffee can I still drink coffee?

Unfortunately this is not wise. The roasted coffee beans that make up coffee contain proteins that actually promote stomach acid secretion. Decaffeinated coffee contains these proteins just as much as regular coffee beans do. So, although switching to decaf may help with other health problems, it won’t cure your acid reflux problem.

Sometimes it is not quality or type of food but the quantity

Even if you follow the rules and stay away from foods that tend to aggravate your acid reflux, you could very well find your symptoms are still troublesome. This could be because you aren’t looking at the quantity of food you are eating. The more you eat, the more food there is filling your stomach. Larger meals put pressure on the lower esophageal sphincter. There is also more for your stomach to digest and the longer the contents are churning away in your stomach. Eating small frequent meals through the day and eating light at night is a great way to eat for many health reasons (better for diabetes, obesity, etc.), so now you can add acid reflux and gerd to the list.

If your bedtime is 11 p.m., the last call for dinner should be 7 p.m.

Late night meals are a problem. Lying down shortly after you eat or drink is asking for trouble. The reason is purely physical. When you are standing or sitting up, your stomach is upright and the stomach contents have to work against gravity to reflux up into your esophagus. But when you lie down or recline, the stomach contents automatically churn against the valve separating the upper stomach from the lower esophagus, because gravity is no longer holding it back

To make sure your last meal has mostly left the stomach by the time you are ready to go to sleep, avoid eating or drinking for at least three or four hours before lying down. This means if bedtime is 11 p.m., the last call for dinner should be around 7 p.m. While we are at it, it is also a good idea not to exercise vigorously soon after eating, particularly activities involving bending or running - it also encourages refluxing.

Are there any foods or habits that are heartburn “helpers”?

Yes. Saliva to the rescue!

When it comes to acid reflux, saliva is a “good thing.”

Saliva, which is alkaline, helps bathe the lower esophagus, providing a little protection from the refluxing stomach acid.

What can you do to increase your saliva? 

  • Chew gum
  • Suck on antacids or lozenges
  • Eat sweet pickles

Another tip:

  • Drink Water

Can you walk and chew at the same time?

Chewing gum for one hour after a meal can reduce the time that stomach acid is in contact with the esophagus.

Eating slowly

Relax. Take your time eating your meals and snacks. You are less likely to eat a large amount of food at one sitting when you take your time and enjoy every bite. Eating meals that are smaller in size and calories help you avoid heartburn.

Eating small and frequently

Eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day and eating light at night is a great eating style for many health reasons, including acid reflux. 

Acid Reflux Diet – Foods to Avoid

Heartburn is caused by the acidic contents of the stomach refluxing up through a valve at the lower end of the esophagus. This valve is known as the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). If you suffer from heartburn, there are certain typical foods that are known to trigger acid reflux and heartburn. It is sensible to avoid these foods.

First, a general comment about meal size. Large meals seem to worsen heartburn and it is sensible to eat 4-6 smaller meals, rather than 2-3 large meals a day.

The types of foods to avoid are fatty foods, fried foods, especially fatty meats, food deep fried in batter and fatty dairy products. This is because fatty foods are slow to digest and remain in the stomach for longer and because fat reduces the lower esophageal sphincter pressure. There is some debate amongst gastroenterology specialists as to whether fatty foods do worsen heartburn in those with GERD. Please see this article for the research evidence:

It is sensible to avoid acidic fruits such as oranges and grapefruit. This is because the acid in the fruit or fruit juice is directly irritant to the esophageal lining.

See below for a list of more foods that can precipitate acid reflux.

Fruit to avoid

  • Citrus fruit and juices such as: oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, tomatoes, tomato juice, cranberry juice, lemon juice, satsumas, pineapple and nectarine.

Vegetables to avoid

  • Onions have been found to increase heartburn episodes.
  • Onions (raw), radishes, chips, crips, french fries, fried potatoes, green peppers,red peppers, yellow peppers chillis, beetroot, regular potato chips, spring onions, spanish onions and celery.

Meat and protein foods to avoid

  • Fried beef steak, fried meat, hamburgers, marbled sirloin, chuck ground beef, deep fried chicken nuggets, buffalo wings, deep fried fish, sausages and bacon.

Grains and pasta dishes to avoid

  • Spaghetti with rich sauce, spaghetti with tomato sauce, macaroni with rich sauce, macaroni with tomato sauce.

Dairy foods to avoid

  • Milkshake, ice cream, sour cream and regular cottage cheese

Drinks and beverages to avoid

  • Carbonated drinks have been found by medical researchers to worsen heartburn. Coffee and tea seem to worsen heartburn, but the medical evidence is conflicting. It is sensible to cut down on tea and coffee. Even decaffeinated coffee can cause problems in some patients with GERD. Hot drinks should be allowed to cool a while before consumption.
  • Coffee (caffeinated and decaffeinated), tea (caffeinated and decaffeinated), spirits such as: vodka, whiskey, brandy and rum.
  • Wine has been found to worsen gastroesophageal reflux, and research has shown that white resulted in more acid reflux than red wine.
  • Port
  • Beer has been shown in research studies to worsen heartburn, but it may be tolerated by some acid reflux sufferers.

Condiments, fats and oils to avoid.

  • Strong mustard, chilli sauces,black pepper, creamy salad dressing, salad dressing made of oil and vinegar

Deserts, puddings and sweets to avoid.

  • Chocolate has been found to lower the lower esophageal sphincter pressure and often seems to aggravate heartburn. Heartburn sufferers are usually advised to avoid mint and peppermint, because mint has been shon to lower the pressure of the lower esophageal sphincter. The medical research into mint and heartburn is very limited.
  • Brownies, chocolate, doughnuts, corn chips, high-fat butter cookie, peppermint and spearmint

Miscellaneous foods to avoid

  • Hot and spicy foods such as curries, chillis and Mexican dishes are often reported to worsen symptoms by heartburn sufferers. Also:
  • Vinegar, pickles, pastries, fry ups, curries, and corn chips.

Acid Reflux Diet – Foods to Eat with Care

No two individuals afflicted by heartburn are the same. There are foods that are notorious for leading to acid reflux, and foods that rarely seem to cause symptoms after they are eaten. In between are those foods whose effect seems to vary from person to person. This maybe because of individual idiosyncratic reactions or because of disease severity. It is likely that those with severe gastroesophageal reflux disease will be upset by a greater range of foods than those with mild GERD. What follows is a list of foods to eat with discretion.

Fruit

  • Low acid orange juice, apple cider, blueberries, black currants, cherries, coconut, kiwi fruit, rhubarb, grapes, rasberries, strawberries, peaches, cranberries (dried),

Vegetables

  • Onions (cooked), garlic, leeks, sauerkraut, scallions, avocado, okra.

Meat and protein foods

  • Chicken salad, lean ground beef, scrambled eggs, omelette, fried eggs, fried fish, tuna, tuna salad, beef or pork hot dog, ham, gammon,

Grains

  • Muffins, granola cereal, garlic bread,

Dairy

  • Semi skimmed milk, skimmed milk, yoghurt, frozen yoghurt, low fat cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, edam cheese,

Drinks

  • Non-alcoholic beer, non-alcoholic wine, root beer, semi-skimmed milk, skimmed milk, cola.

Fats and oils

  • Ketchup

Sweets and puddings

  • Low-fat cookie

GERD Diet - Safe Foods and Drinks

If you have heartburn, or have been diagnosed with gastro-oesophageal reflux disease, you are probably wondering what are the foods that you can eat safely.

You have probably already discovered some foods that make your heartburn worse. We are all different and some people with heartburn will be able to eat foods that other individuals with acid reflux struggle to manage. As mentioned in another article, it is sensible to keep a diary or if you have a good memory, just make a mental note of the foods that make your symptoms worse. Though requring discipline, keeping a written diary is preferable.

This article is therefore a general guide to foods which are normally safe for most heartburn sufferers.

As a doctor, I am a fan of healthy diets. Therefore, I will commence with a general statement about healthy eating and nutrition. We should all be eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables in our diet. It is important to eat a varied and balanced diet. Doctors, nutritionists, departments of health, and health advisers around the world are advising us to eat at least five portions a day of fruits and vegetables to maintain good health and avoid disease. I will therefore start by listing fruits and vegetables which are usually safe to eat in a GERD diet, and then move on to other groups of food such as grains, carbohydrates, protein containing foods, dairy products, fats and oils, deserts and puddings, and drinks.

Fruit which has little risk of leading to heartburn includes:

  • Apples (fresh apple, dried apple and juice), banana, melon, apricots, stewed apples, raisins, plums, dates, figs, mango, papaya, passionfruit, pear, prunes and sultanas,

Vegetables which have little risk of causing heartburn include:

  • Artichoke, asparagus, aubergine, bamboo shoots, baked potato, boiled potatoes, butternut squash, French beans, beans sprouts, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, Chinese leaves, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, mashed potato, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans, peas, kale, lettuce, mange-tout peas, mushrooms, parsnips, pumpkin, rocket, salad leaves, spinach, spring greens, sweetcorn, sweet potato, turnips, watercress. Various beans and peas such as: broad beans, butter beans, chickpeas, haricot beans, lentils, red kidney beans, soya beans, quorn chunks and tofu.

Protein foods and meat

  • Lean meat, fish and poultry, chicken breast without the skin, turkey breast without the skin, extra lean ground beef, egg whites, egg substitute, boiled fish, grilled fish, fish with no added fat, London broil steak. Fish of all types are generally safe if you have heartburn. For example brill, coley, cod, plaice, haddock, Alaskan pollock and trout. Fish which is high in omega three fatty acids is extremely healthy and excellent at reducing inflammation in the body. Examples of this type of fish include: herring, kipper, mackerel, salmon, sardines and tuna are usually okay for heartburn sufferers, but because they are all quite oily, should be eaten in moderation with care.

When cooking meat poultry and fish it should be done using a low fat method, if you are suffering from GERD. Therefore it is preferable to cook by steaming, broiling, baking, grilling and with care, in moderation, stir frying.

It is interesting that high protein meals have been shown to increase the lower esophageal sphincter pressure, so it is theoretically possible that eating low fat, high protein meals may actually lessen heartburn episodes.

Grains

  • Brown bread, banana bread, corn bread, multigrain bread, white bread, oatmeal cereal, bran cereal, brown rice, white rice, jasmine rice, Graham crackers, pretzels, rice cakes, millet, quinoa, amaranth-alkaline.

Dairy

  • Fat free cream cheese, feta cheese, goats cheese, fat free sour cream, skimmed milk, low-fat soya cheese.

Drinks

  • Mineral water, tap water, herbal tea, ribena, and non-citrus fruit drinks.

Deserts, sweets and puddings

  • Fat free cookie, crème brûlee, cheesecake, creme caramel, red licorice, jellybeans and non-mint gum.

Condiments fats and oils

  • Low fat salad dressing, mild mustard, herbs such as: basil, marjoram, parsley, oregano, thyme and sage.

Miscellaneous

  • Vegetable soup, hummus, soups without GERD triggers (such as tomato), muffins, pancakes, banana smoothie and strawberry smoothie.

GERD diet - foods to soothe heartburn

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a great healthy cholesterol lowering acid reflux easing food. It is one of the the best breakfast and any-time-of-day snack. It is recommended by Jamie Koufman, M.D., Jordan Stern, M.D. and French master chef Marc Bauer, authors of "Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure."
 
It is satisfying and relieve reflux. Even instant oatmeal with raisins is ok- the oatmeal absorbs the acid of the raisins.
 
acid reflux diet - picture of oatmeal

Ginger

Used in moderation, ginger can be and excellent food for acid reflux.It has been used throughout history as an anti-inflammatory and as a treatment for gastrointestinal conditions, including nausea in pregnancy. Ginger root is simple to peel and thencan be sliced, diced or shaved using a grater. You can use it while cooking or add it to smoothies.
 
picture of ginger - good for heartburn and nausea

Aloe vera

Aloe vera is famous as a natural healing agent and has also been found to treat GERD. It is available as a living plant, but the leaves or liquid form are sometimes sold separately in groceries and health food stores. Aloe vera can be used in recipes as a thickener and for congealing liquids.
 
picture of aloe vera - good when on GERD diet

Salad

Salad is a great healthy food for heartburn sufferers. You could do worse than to eat a salad every day. It can be a primary meal for acid refluxers. Please avoid tomatoes and onions , as well as cheese and high-fat dressings. Dressings that have some acid or fat can be added, but only one tablespoon (or less) -- as measured, not guesstimated!
 
picture of salad - safe if you have GERD

Banana

Bananas make a great healthy, satisfying snack, and with a pH of 5.6, they’re usually great for people with acid reflux. But, a tiny 1 percent of people with heartburn find that their symptoms can worsen after eating bananas. So bear that in mind, as what what works for most people may not work for you.
 
acid reflux reliever - picture of a banana

Melon

Melon which has a pH of 6.1 is great for those with heartburn. Remember though, as with bananas, a small percentage (1-2 percent) of those with acid reflux need to avoid melon. Also included as foods which are soothing for those with heartburn on a GERD diet are are honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon. 
 
picture of melon - good for heartburn
 

Fennel

Fennel (pH 6.9) is a great food for heartburn and actually seems to improve stomach function. This crunchy vegetable has a unique taste -- a mild licorice flavor. Sliced thin (the white bottom part), it makes a healthy salad with arugula and baby spinach. It’s also great in chicken dishes, and makes a fine snack if you like the taste.

picture of fennel - good if on a GERD diet

Chicken and turkey

Poultry is a staple of a GERD diet. It can be boiled, baked, grilled, or sautéed (but not fried!), and it is important to remove the skin, which is high in fat.

picture of chicken - safe when on a GERD diet

Fish and seafood

Seafood is another staple of an acid reflux diet. Seafood should be baked, grilled or sautéed, never fried. Shrimp, lobster and other shellfish are also fine on this diet. Wild fish, not the farm-raised variety, is recommended.

acid reflux diet helper food - picture of fish

Roots and greens

Cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans and other greens are all great foods for the GERD sufferer. Pretty much all of the green and the root vegetables are recommended for people following this type of diet.

picture of roots and greens - good when on a diet for heartburn

Celery

Celery has almost no calories because of its high water content, and is a good choice if you have acid reflux and are on a weight loss or reflux diet. It is also an appetite suppressant and excellent source of fibre.

acid reflux diet food picture - image of celery

Parsley

For thousands of years, the herb parsley has been used as a medicinal herb to settle the stomach and aid digestion. Flat-leaf and curly parsley are widely available, and they make a great seasoning and garnish. 

picture of parsley - great for indigestion

Couscous and rice

Couscous (semolina wheat), bulgur wheat and rice (especially brown rice) are all excellent foods if you have acid reflux. A complex carbohydrate is a good carbohydrate with  a low glycaemic index (low GI food) and great if you suffer from recurrent heartburn. 

picture of couscous and rice - good for acid reflux disease

View data about GERD diet in easy to view table form click below:

A bit more about GERD and diet

Esophageal reflux is the regurgitation of the acidic fluid from the stomach into the esophagus (the gullet or tube that connects the throat to the stomach). This acid reflux occurs because of inefficiency of the muscular valve at the lower end of the oesophagus. This acid reflux may irritate the esophagus, resulting in heartburn (a burning pain in the chest). Repeated reflux of acid can lead to esophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus).
 
Mild acid reflux is common but is not serious. It may occur during pregnancy and often affects overweight people. Repeated episodes of discomfort may indicate a hiatus hernia (in which part of the stomach protrudes into the chest). 

Heartburn and acid reflux 

Heartburn is a burning pain felt in the lower or central chest predominantly. The pain may travel from the tip of the breastbone to the throat. Heartburn is often brought on by lying down or bending forwards. It may be caused by eating rich or spicy food, or by drinking alcohol. Recurrent heartburn is a symptom of esophagitis (inflammation of the oesophagus), which is usually caused by acid reflux.
 
A well designed and carefully followed diet can cure heartburn. 

Basic Heartburn Tips and Solutions 

Whatever is the cause of your heartburn a few simple guidelines in a gerd diet can help to reduce the frequency of acid reflux symptoms. Some foods are more likely to bring on heartburn. Acidic foods like pickles, vinegars and sauces and fatty foods such as fry ups and pastries are the most common causes. These foods increase the amount of stomach acid and are slow to digest by the stomach. It is also best to avoid raw vegetables like radishes, onions, and peppers.
 
Other types of food to avoid are curries, chillies and unripe fruit. Drinks that may worsen or cause heartburn include alcohol, coffee, tea, and fizzy drinks.
 
How you eat is also important. It is preferable to have several small meals rather than one or two large ones; your stomach and digestive system will find this easier to cope with.
 
Chew food very thoroughly, eat slowly and try to relax while eating. After meals an infusion of fennel, dill or apple mint leaves will help to stop heartburn. One strategy that works for some sufferers is to avoid mixing carbohydrates and protein at the same meal. This is a version of the Hay diet.
 
Lose weight if needed, and see your doctor for a medical check-up, to ensure there is no underlying health problem that needs attention or investigation.

GERD diet and weight loss

Why is there more than one article about losing weight on a website about acid reflux disease diets? I agree, you can be extremely skinny and still have acid reflux disease. However, the majority of people who suffer from acid reflux disease are overweight. This is because the excess fat, especially when it's around the abdomen, can have a major affect in exacerbating the acid reflux and heartburn.

If you think about it, those 10 to 20 extra pounds which you are carrying around your abdomen physically adding increased pressure to the stomach. This increased pressure then tends to push up the acidic stomach contents towards the top of the stomach and into the esophagus. This is not a good idea if you have acid reflux disease.

As mentioned in another article on weight loss, I and most dieticians and nutritionists do not believe in fad dieting. Dieticians think that it's simply one of the worst things that you can do. This is because the weight loss never lasts. Studies have shown that when you look at the maintained weight loss over a five-year period with fad diets there is generally only about 5% success rate. Frequent dieting also has the effect that when a you embark on a quick weight loss scheme in the future, you are making it increasingly difficult for your body to shed pounds again. Every time you lose weight quickly, your body becomes better and better at gaining and holding on to the extra weight the next time around. One reason for this is, because when you lose weight quickly, you tend to lose muscle and protein mass. However when the pounds comeback on, they tend to come back as body fat. This loss in muscle decreases the amount of calories you burn just maintaining your basic body functions. This means that the less calories you burn just maintaining your body function, the more likely you are to have extra calories taken in, which leads to extra body weight.

It is important to say no to quick weight loss dieting and dieting products. Staying away from dieting is an uphill battle in the United States and western world. Literally every day we are bombarded by messages from celebrities who tell us how they stay thin, and articles in magazines and new books each telling us how to lose weight fast.

What is the accepted definition of being overweight?

There is a fairly broad band of acceptable wait for your height. If you fall below this band then you are clinically underweight, and if you fall above the band you are clinically overweight. The scale that is used by most medical professionals and dieticians to determine acceptable weight is the body mass index (BMI). It is easy to work out your BMI with the following formula: BMI equals weight in kilograms divided by height in metres squared. BMI = kg/m squared The results are then interpreted as follows:

  • Below 18.5 equals underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9 equals acceptable weight range
  • 25 to 30 equals clinically overweight
  • 30 to 40 equals clinically obese
  • over 40 equals morbidly obese

To give an example, the acceptable range of 20 to 25 allows a woman of 1.65 m (5'6") to weigh anything from 54.5 kg (8 stone 10 pounds) to 68 kg (10 stone 10 pounds). This means that an acceptable maximum weight of health, is higher than many people realise and means that many people who think or feel that they are overweight aren't really. This means that a lot of people who are trying to diet may be having difficulty losing weight because they're aiming too low.

Another good indicator of whether you are genuinely overweight is the waist circumference test. This is because surplus weight around the waist (central fat distribution) is more likely to be linked with health problems especially ischaemic heart disease and non-insulin-dependent diabetes, than surplus weight around the hips bottom and thighs.

Waist measurement of less than 94 cm (30 7/2 inches) for men and 80 cm (32 inch) for women is all right.

How can I be overweight when I don't eat?

There is this general idea that overweight people are greedy, but in most cases this is far from the truth. Most people lead fairly sedentary lifestyles and their calorie needs may not be that great. Eating just a small amount more than you need every day, will result in a slow but steady weight increase.

For example, the Department of Health in the United Kingdom says that an average woman needs 1940 calories a day to maintain a reasonable weight. Therefore, eating just 100 calories a day more than she needs will result in an annual weight gain of 4.7 kg (10 pounds). This means that by eating simply a banana or one large chocolate biscuit a day will result in this weight gain.

As we get older, metabolic rate also slows down a little, very gradually. Also as we age we tend to lose muscle mass, unless we have a physically demanding job or work out in the gym, and gradually as we lose muscle mass the amount of energy burned by during the day just maintaining our basic body functions decreases as we get older.

So what is the best diet to follow in order to lose weight?

The best diet is one that hardly seems like a diet at all. This is a diet where you have a varied selection of healthy nutritious foods, and at least three meals a day, plus snacks. The diet needs to be healthy, containing all the major nutrients, minerals, fibre etc. As a rough guide, for losing weight, men should be eating 1500 to 1750 cal a day. Women, to lose weight, should be eating about 1250 to 1500 cal a day. Those who are very overweight or very active, will be able to eat more than these amounts and still lose weight, especially if their activity levels are increased.

How do I lose weight quickly?

Unfortunately, all recent research about diets is come to the same conclusion: there is no fast track way to permanent weight loss. There are thought to be three main reasons that this.

Firstly, in order to stick with the diet, it needs to contain enough calories to ensure that you don't feel hungry, over- restricted, or bored in what you eat. On these calorie levels, you can't lose weight quickly, but it has been shown those who allow themselves more generous amount of calories do better at losing weight over the long term.

Secondly, in order to take in all the nutrients that your body requires whilst losing weight, you need to consume a reasonable amount of food. This means that it is not possible to lose weight quickly.

Thirdly, there is considerable research to show that those individuals who lose weight quickly are much more likely to put on the weight again, or become serial yo-yo dieters, than those who lose weight slowly. There is also some medical research which has shown that those people who crash-diet are more prone to have poorer mental function and depression.

Should I count calories or just cut fat?

In effect, the two come to the same thing. In order to lose weight, you have to create a calorie deficit, by burning up more energy (calories) then you take in as food. On a good calorie counting diet you will cut down on the high calorie foods such as cakes, pastries, deserts, fatty meats, mayonnaise, sugar, alcohol etc. 

There is no point in cutting down on low-calorie foodssuch as fruit and vegetables, because these are healthy foods that your body requires. Neither is there any point cutting out the starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, potatoes and rice, because these are also healthy foods, although if you are counting calories you may cut down on portion-size a little.

On a good fat-cutting diet you will reduce calorie intake by simply avoiding the foods that you know to be high in fat such as: fatty meat, cream cheese, pastries, chips, cakes, milk chocolate and biscuits. 

Medical management of Acid Reflux Disease in brief

Lifestyle changes are important

These include an acid reflux diet, weight loss, small regular meals and increased exercise to aid weight loss. 

Medications 

Antacids are the first line of treatment particularly for immediate relief of heartburn. There are many antacids and remedies for acid reflux. They include: magnesium trisilicate mixture, aluminium hydroxide, and gaviscon. Proton pump inhihibitors (PPI’s) are the most effective drugs for gerd. They include: omeprazole (Prilosec, Zegerid, Losec), lansoprazole (Prevacid, Zoton), rabeprazole (Aciphex, Pariet), pantoprazole (Somac, Pantoloc, Protium, Pantecta, Protonix, and Pantoheal), esomeprazole (Nexium). Older medications that help are: cimetidine (Tagamet) and ranitidine (Zantac). Prokinetic drugs are sometimes used in addition to PPI’s. They work by helping gastric emptying. They include: metoclopramide (Reglan) and domperidone (Motilium). 

Surgery is only necessary for very severe gerd not controlled with medication. Before surgery is considered it is important to confirm severe reflux with investigations such as pH monitoring or radiological studies. Also it is important to try an effective gerd diet and dietary regime. This may make surgery unnecessary. 

In the United States, good open reduction antireflux surgery becomes cost effective when compared with medical therapy after about ten years. But this does not take account of the mortality risk. The breakeven point is shorter with laparoscopic surgery and in those countries where surgical treatment is cheaper than the United States. Economic assessments also need to take into account the decreasing price of acid suppressing medication.

Heartburn remedies that help also include these antacids: Maalox, Mylanta, Rolaids, Tums, Milk of Magnesia, Equate, Hydrotalcite, Asilone. These help to relieve symptoms of heartburn in reflux disease. A particularly good dyspepsia remedy is Gaviscon because it contains alginate which increases the viscosity of the stomach contents. Alginates can form a raft on top of the stomach acid juices and reduce reflux. Alginates also protect the esophageal mucosa from acid reflux. Other acid reflux remedies with alginate include: Peptac, Gaviscon Advance, Rennie Duo and Topal. It is still important to continue with a careful diet as this will reduce the need for rapid relief remedies. 

A good way to get rapid heartburn relief is drinking plain water. Antacids are not always readily available. Another reflux remedy is cabbage juice. The amino acid glutamine in cabbage juice is very gentle and helps to clean the digestive system. It has been shown to help heal stomach ulcers. The juice can be taken in small amounts of about 100 ml, three times a day on an empty stomach.

View data about GERD diet in easy to view table form click below: