According to Lauren Gerson, a practicing gastroenterologist for seven years and director of Stanford’s Esophageal and Small Bowel Disorder Center, there is currently no evidence to show that any of the dietary restrictions usually recommended make a difference when it comes to easing heartburn symptoms.
They found only two lifestyle changes for which there was evidence of a clear benefit from making a change.
- First, if you’re overweight, then losing some pounds will reduce or even eliminate the amount of heartburn you suffer.
- Second, raising the head of your bed will cut down on the amount of stomach acid that can enter your esophagus while you sleep.
In the May 8 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, Gerson and two other physicians at the School of MedicineÃ¢â‚¬â€Tonya Kaltenbach, MD, and Seth Crockett, MDÃ¢â‚¬â€published the results of a systematic survey they conducted of more than 2,000 studies published worldwide on heartburn, also known as acid reflux or GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), between 1975 and 2004.
They found 100 studies looking at lifestyle factors thought to be associated with heartburn. Only 16 of those studies examined how implementing lifestyle changes affect heartburn symptoms, and these studies were the focus of their article.
The research reveals that people with heartburn can safely eat spicy foods. The review shows that limiting intake of chocolate, caffeine, spicy foods, and citrus fruits doesn’t eliminate heartburn symptoms or lower esophageal pH.
Bottom line, the study found that the best strategy was to eat less food, period.