The #1 Worst Drink for Acid Reflux, Says Dietitian
Acid reflux is not a fun feeling. It occurs when your stomach acid frequently flows back into the tube connecting your mouth and stomach, also known as the esophagus. This backwash (or acid reflux) has the potential to irritate the lining of your esophagus.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic acid reflux is very common, as about 20% of the U.S. population has it. Anyone at any age can get it, but you're especially susceptible to it if you are overweight or obese, pregnant, smoking or are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, or are taking certain medications that may cause acid reflux.
Although common, if your acid reflux becomes more frequent, you may want to consider finding ways to prevent acid reflux from happening, such as changing what you eat and drink.
Sydney Greene MS, RDN, and a member of our medical expert board, says the worst drink for acid reflux is a can of seltzer.
"The research evidence is mixed, however, anecdotally, I find that carbonated beverages can contribute to acid reflux in my clients," says Greene. "If you're drinking more than one can of seltzer per day this can have a negative effect on reflux."
In order to prevent seltzers or other carbonated beverages from affecting your reflux, Greene suggests trying to swap out carbonated water for still water and sip it between meals.
The Cleveland Clinic also suggests that too much pressure on the abdomen can be a cause of acid reflux. Carbonated water contains Carbon Dioxide (CO2) bubbles, creating a reactor for pressure. Those bubbles enter the stomach and expand, potentially increasing the amount of pressure put on the lower esophageal sphincter, which connects your esophagus to your stomach. That additional pressure can force stomach acids to come back up into the esophagus, therefore possibly making your reflux symptoms worse.
Most of the time, acid reflux discomfort can be managed with solutions like changing your diet or taking over-the-counter medications. However, it can also become serious and lead to stronger medications or potential surgery. Acid reflux can also turn into Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is similar, but a more frequent occurrence.
If you're unsure if you have acid reflux or GERD, there are plenty of signs to look out for including heartburn, a chronic cough, difficulty swallowing, a change in your voice, chronic sinusitis and ear infections, increase in postnasal drip, and/or frequent pneumonia.
For more information on health, take a look at Surprising Side Effects of Eating Peanut Butter, According to Science.