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What kinds of food should he avoided in trying to control the symptoms of GERD?
A common question from our patients is whether acidic foods aggravate GERD. There are no studies showing that acidic foods are harmful in GERD. Nevertheless it makes sense to cut out acid beverages if they cause symptoms.
Some foods lower the pressure in the muscle of the lower end of the esophagus that prevents acid from regurgitating from the stomach and into the esophagus and thereby worsen the regurgitation of acid. These foods include those containing a lot of fat, peppermint and chocolate.
Some foods slow the emptying of the stomach so that there is more acid remaining in the stomach to regurgitate. These foods are primarily foods that contain much fat, for example, fried foods.
Some foods stimulate acid secretion by the stomach so that there is more acid to regurgitate. These foods include caffeine and alcoholic beverages.
Despite the possible detrimental effects of foods on regurgitation, it is not clear how effective dietary changes are in treating symptoms of GERD. Many doctors recommend only that patients stay away from foods that aggravate their symptoms.
Quick GuideDigestive Disorders: Common Misconceptions
Medically reviewed by Robert Bargar, MD; Board Certification in Public Health & General Preventive Medicine
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Last Editorial Review: 7/13/2017