Foods to Avoid with GERD

Foods to Avoid GERD

Gastro esophageal Reflux Disease is a digestive disorder. It affects the lower sphincter of the esophageal (LES), the muscle ring between the esophagus and the stomach. In some extreme cases, the person suffering from GERD will require surgery to relieve it, but extensive studies have shown that there are foods to avoid with Gerd as part of your lifestyle changes to reduce GERD. The most common effect of GERD will include heartburn and indigestion. [3]

Gastro esophageal Reflux

Just to be clear, gastro esophageal is a term combination referring to the stomach and the esophagus. Hence, gastro esophageal reflux is simply the return of contents of the stomach up into the esophagus.

Food passes from the esophagus into the stomach, when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) opens up – This is the conventional digestion process. The LES then closes to deter acidic gastro juices and food from flowing back into the esophagus. When the LES either relaxes inappropriately or becomes weak, allowing the contents of the stomach to flow up the esophagus, it causes Gastro esophageal reflux.

GERD Severity

The extent of how severe your GERD mainly depends on the degree of LES dysfunction, the amount of fluid the reflux brings up from the stomach and a person’s neutralizing effect.

Factors Contributing to GERD

  • Hiatal Hernia – When the upper part of the stomach moves up the chest through an opening in the diaphragm, it allows contents of the stomach easily reflux into the esophagus. Excessive coughing, vomiting, straining or a sudden body exertion, results in internal pressure in the abdomen. It can result in a hiatal hernia.
  • Lifestyle and dietary choices – Consuming certain beverages and foods – chocolate, fatty or fried foods, peppermint or alcoholic drinks can act as a trigger to severe heartburn and reflux. Cigarette smoking is a lifestyle choice, but it relaxes the LES.

Signs that you have GERD

  • Sore throat
  • Dry cough
  • Bloating
  • Swallowing Difficulties
  • A visible of a lump in the throat
  • Frequent hiccups and burping

Certain foods trigger GERD symptoms among people frequently infected with the disease. No proven single diet prevents all GERD symptoms. The only way to identify individual food triggers is to strictly track your diet. Track the following, for at least a week:

  • What food you consume
  • What time of the day you consumed the food
  • And the symptoms you experience

Foods to Avoid with GERD

The following are the common foods to avoid with Gerd for people with reflux, and should be avoided by any symptomatic person.

High-fat foods

Fatty foods and fried foods cause the LES to have a relaxing effect, thus, allowing more gastric fluids and its contents to flow back into the esophagus. Studies have proven that high-fat foods will put you at a higher reflux symptoms risk. Doctors urge you to reduce your daily fat consumption.

Foods that contain high fat content and should be avoided or consumed sparingly include:

  • Cream sauces, dressing containing creamy salad dressings and gravies
  • Onion rings and French fries
  • Dairy products containing full fat, for example, butter, cheese, butter and sour cream
  • Fatty pork, lamb or fried lumps of beef
  • Ham fat, bacon fat and land
  • Deserts or snacks that have high fat, for example, potato chips and ice cream [2]

Fatty foods are among the leading foods to avoid with Gerd as they may cause you to retain fat you don’t need in your body which will in turn cause you to gain weight rapidly. Research has shown that obesity greatly increases acid reflex. Make sure to avoid fatty foods when experiencing GERD symptoms. Curbing the consumption of fatty foods is a problem of its own, as in every major city in the world, each street has a fast food joint.

Citrus fruits and Tomatoes

Although vegetables and fruits are a significant health boost, some of them are on the list of foods to avoid with GERD. Certain fruits have been discovered to worsen and on the ultimate cause GERD. Highly acidic fruits are on top of that list, which include:

  • Lemons
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Pineapple
  • Limes
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato paste or sauce
  • Salsa


The methyl xanthine contained in chocolates has been shown in studies to cause a relation effect to the smooth muscle in the LES and thus cause an increase in reflux; hence, it’s one of the foods to avoid with GERD.

Onions, Garlic, and Spicy foods

These kinds of foods are under the tangy and spicy foods. If you consume a large quantity of these foods, it will cause symptoms associated with heartburn.

When consumed, these foods will not cause reflux in everyone. Daily tracking of the meals that contain quantities of these elements is the only way to stop any large consumption. Some spicy foods may bother others more than they bother you – Each human body has a different tolerance.

The following foods cause irritation to an inflamed lower esophagus. Limit their consumption or if extreme, avoid them.

  • Regular or decaffeinated coffee
  • Caffeinated soft drinks, for example, soda
  • Tea
  • Other caffeinated beverages

What you should eat

For Simplified GERD diet Recommendations [1] consider eating the following foods:

Milk or dairy products

It is recommended to have skim, not more than 2% low-fat milk, fand at-free yogurt. Avoid whole milk and chocolate milk. You can also have skim, not more than 2% low-fat, or fat-free yogurt.

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits like apples, melons, peaches, bananas, pears, and berries are the best that you can have. Avoid Grapefruit, pineapples, oranges, and citrus. When it comes to vegetables, you can have all other vegetables. Do away with the creamy or fried style vegetable and tomatoes.

Meat and its substitutes

The best choice you can opt for is chicken, fish, turkey as well as low-fat meat. Avoid chicken fats/skin, cold cuts, sausage, bacon and fatty meat.

Grains and bread

All bread made low fat is the best option. You should avoid any bread prepared using high fat or whole milk.

Sweets and associated deserts

Any sweet dessert made using fat not exceeding 3 grams is good for you. Avoid made with high-fat content and chocolate should be avoided.

Fats and oils

If possible, use none, or small quantities of fats and oils. Most importantly stay away from vegetable oils, or all animal fats.

The food that you decide to put in your mouth is what you are. GERD eradication requires a strict diet and following through with it. Deviation from the recommended diet causes a relapse.









Anthony Alayon

Anthony Alayon is a Certified Personal Trainer & Certified Sports Nutritionist with the ISSA. He’s written for Natural Muscle Magazine, Bliss Magazine,, (A New York Times Company),, and several other popular fitness websites. He’s taught thousands how to eat better, and build the physique they could only dream of (including numerous pro athletes). Today, he’s here to share his knowledge and experience with you!