How Do You Know What Diet to Follow When You Have Acid Reflux Disease?

For sufferers of acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflex disease, the recommended diet minimizes highly acidic or heartburn-triggering foods, reduces portion sizes, and limits meals to specific periods of time, according to WebMD. Though doctors generally prescribe such a diet for sufferers of GERD, the International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders also recommends that sufferers consult physicians for personalized advice, especially as certain medications or conditions may exacerbate acid reflux symptoms.

Though GERD is not directly caused by diet, certain foods contribute to reflux symptoms in the majority of patients. Common heartburn-triggering foods include overly fatty or spicy foods, citrus fruits, tomato-based products, and chocolate. Caffeinated, alcoholic and carbonated beverages may also contribute to reflux, as reported by WebMD. Reflux triggers vary between people, though, so the IFFGD encourages patients to reduce or avoid any noted triggers that may not appear on the standard list.

Patients should also alter how and when they eat, according to the IFFGD. Because gravity plays a role in reflux, doctors recommend eating a small meal early in the evening and allowing enough time for the food to be fully digested before laying down. Patients can treat occasional reflux symptoms with over-the-counter medication, but they should consider seeking medical assistance if recommended dietary changes produce no significant improvement.