Low carb can cure reflux disease

Heartburn – caused by reflux disease – is super common, millions of people suffer from it. Many people take medication for it every single day to reduce the symptoms. What if many of these people could cure the disease with a dietary change?

An earlier small study tested a LCHF diet on a few people with this problem, and they got significantly better. Even the pH in their esophagus improved, so it was not just placebo.

Now another, slightly larger, study has tested this idea again. Not only does it find that carbohydrates, sugar and the glycemic load of the diet was associated with reflux disease. They also test what happens when the participants go on a lower carb diet. The result?

chartBig improvements

Incredibly enough, it seems like all the women in the study were able to get off their reflux (GERD) medications… See the chart to the right.

Has a low-carb diet improved your reflux symptoms? Please let me know in the comments below.

More

A low-carb diet for beginners

The study

AP&T: Dietary carbohydrate intake, insulin resistance and gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a pilot study in European- and African-American obese women

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167 comments

  1. Gentiann
    Years ago, I noticed that tomato sauce with corn syrup would give me acid reflux but the tomato sauce without corn syrup was fine. So, I concluded that the problem was not the tomato.
    After I started avoiding everything with corn syrup, I stopped having acid reflux.
    Coffee with heavy cream is fine but creamer in coffee gives me acid reflux: it's not the coffee, it's the creamer.
    I never had acid reflux with spicy food or dark chocolate. I now believe that additives in processed food are the main problem.
  2. Carole
    Keto is high fat and they say thats bad. How do u deal with eating high fat foods using more oils butter etc. does it bother your reflux. I have lost wt on keto and dont want to stop but dont know what to do with the high fat
  3. Filipe
    Honestly I do agree with you , fat is a trigger to Acid Reflux so I don’t understand how some people get better, any way my Acid Reflux only it’s noticed when I run , because breathing becomes hard due to the effort and the reflux causes bronchial spams that leads me to lack of air. Acid reflux it’s caused because stomach is run in a low acid, so let me suggest you to drink Apple cider vinagre with water twice a day, this will increase the stomach acid and you get better.
  4. Karen
    I've had acid reflux for 10 years after a baby & putting on weight. After experimenting, most carbs rice, pasta, & bread give me reflux. But after a dayofjust meat & veg ...no reflux! I can mix meat & fruit in the same meal...no reflux! But then add the carbs..bang! Reflux! I've had the h. bacteria test and it was negative. & I dont have a problem with fat. On a side note, I've stopped dairy & eggs & my hay fever is basically gone! Basic caveman food for me! Meat, veg & fruit. & I still drink wine, white & red. & seasonal asthma is also basically gone on what I call my caveman diet..can't be a coincidence!
  5. Ann Palmer
    I only seem to get heartburn when I do periods of intermittent fasting. Can Diet Doctor advise if there are any over the counter heartburn medications I can try that won't affect my fasting benefits?
  6. Kristie Sullivan, PhD Team Diet Doctor
    Please use our meal plans to help you! You might also enjoy the free two-week challenge.
    Reply: #165
  7. Rebekah
    I have had GERD for almost 14 years. When first diagnosed was put on all kinds of acid suppressing drugs, none of which worked for me. Luckily I stopped taking them years ago as they never worked. I have silent reflux which is much less researched and understood. I bought an online book that mentioned that candida is the reason people have acid reflux. It recommended a low carb diet. I started a candida cleanse diet, low carb, high fat, no sugar, and within days could tell a change. Pretty upset that I have spent thousands of dollars to find the problem but so glad I stopped taking the drugs years ago. Hope this post helps others understand the true problem. Candidiasis is the root and medical research needs to be looking into that.
  8. B
    Hi Sherry,
    Congratulations on your healthy improvements!! Can you please tell me what changes you made?

    Thank you !
    B.

  9. Shannon
    Been on keto over a week now, haven’t had heartburn once. I used to get it daily and took Zantac 150 mg. Haven’t needed to!!
  10. Tracy Murphy
    Me too. have not needed Nexium since I started low carbohydrate diet.
  11. Heather
    I am new to Keto, 3 weeks now....and one of the first things I have noticed is heartburn. I have not had an issue with such high frequency as I do now. Suggestions?
    Reply: #162
  12. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    I am new to Keto, 3 weeks now....and one of the first things I have noticed is heartburn. I have not had an issue with such high frequency as I do now. Suggestions?

    You may want to keep a food/symptoms log to see if there are specific foods triggering the heartburn. Common culprits are tomatoes, coffee and alcohol. If it doesn't alleviate soon, you may wish to check in with your doctor.

  13. Rebecca Hamilton
    10 days of keto. Averaging about 10 to 16 grams of carbs per day and having a little difficulty making myself eat enough fat to get into high ketosis state, but keto strips show moderate to large state (4 to 8). Stopped acid reflux medication 5 days ago. Such a relief. Not hungry, either.
  14. Helen
    Hi Kristin I’m the same .. 11 days in and in a lot of pain. I don’t have tomatoes, coffee or alcohol .. so wondering if it’s cheese ?
    Reply: #167
  15. Christie
    Hi Kristie! Which meal plan would be best for GERD? Or if it's a basic plan, which foods should be switched out?
    Reply: #166
  16. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Hi Kristie! Which meal plan would be best for GERD? Or if it's a basic plan, which foods should be switched out?

    Different people may have different triggers. It can be helpful to keep a food/symptoms log. Common culprits are tomatoes, alcohol and coffee.

  17. Kristin Parker Team Diet Doctor

    Hi Kristin I’m the same .. 11 days in and in a lot of pain. I don’t have tomatoes, coffee or alcohol .. so wondering if it’s cheese ?

    The best way to test would be to eliminate dairy for 3-4 weeks and see how you feel. You can try reintroducing dairy/cheese then if you feel comfortable with it. We have several dairy free meals and meal plans!

  18. Venencia
    Hi, I been doing something like LCHF and intermittent fasting for at least 16 hours a day. Sometimes i have pain on the right shoulder that feels like acid reflux. If i eat something like a small greek salad the pain or acid reflux disappears. It seems its important to listen to your body during the fasting. It seems to me eating when hungry and not super hungry is important strategy, pushing it too much on fasting seems to trigger possibly acid reflux /cortisol hormone but am not in medical field nor have not tested anything.
  19. gill
    I started LCHF two years ago when diagnosed as pre diabetic. I am now 74..
    I had been taking antacids for many years on a daily basis, sometimes trying to get off them but always giving up after a few days. After two weeks on low carb I realised that the reflux and gastric pain had reduced. In fact, I haven't taken an antacid since. So happy. This is what keeps me on the diet nearly more than the lowered HbA1C.
    Thanks , gill
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