Dr. Philip Sobash’s Expert Advice: Foods to Avoid If You Have GERD

3 minutes, 10 seconds Read

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a prevalent digestive disorder that affects millions of individuals worldwide. It is characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, regurgitation, and discomfort in the chest and throat. GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), a muscular valve that separates the esophagus from the stomach, weakens or relaxes inappropriately, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. While medications and lifestyle changes are commonly used to manage GERD, dietary modifications play a crucial role in reducing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. In this article, we will delve into the expert recommendations of Dr. Philip Sobash regarding foods that should be avoided by individuals with GERD.

Coffee and Tea:

For coffee and tea enthusiasts, it may be disheartening to learn that these popular beverages can exacerbate GERD symptoms. Both coffee and tea are acidic and contain caffeine, which can relax the LES, allowing stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus. The combination of acidity and caffeine can lead to heartburn and discomfort. Individuals with GERD are advised to limit or avoid coffee and tea consumption to alleviate symptoms and reduce acid reflux.

Citrus Fruits and Juices:

Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and their juices, are highly acidic and can trigger heartburn and irritation in the esophagus. The high acid content in these fruits can worsen GERD symptoms and cause discomfort. Individuals with GERD should be cautious when consuming citrus fruits and consider opting for low-acid alternatives like apples, bananas, and pears.

Tomatoes and Tomato-Based Products:

Tomatoes are another acidic food that can exacerbate GERD symptoms. Tomato-based products like tomato sauce, ketchup, and salsa should also be avoided, as they are highly acidic and can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. For individuals with GERD, it is best to opt for non-tomato-based sauces and condiments to minimize discomfort.

Spicy Foods:

Spicy foods can be delicious but can also be problematic for individuals with GERD. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in spicy foods, can irritate the stomach and esophagus, leading to heartburn and acid reflux. For those with GERD, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of spicy dishes to manage symptoms effectively.

Fatty and Fried Foods:

Fatty and fried foods can slow down digestion and relax the LES, allowing stomach acid to flow back into the esophagus. These foods can exacerbate GERD symptoms and contribute to discomfort. To alleviate symptoms, individuals with GERD should opt for lean protein sources, such as poultry and fish, and choose cooking methods that involve less oil and fat.


As enjoyable as it may be, chocolate is considered a trigger food for GERD. It contains caffeine, which can stimulate the heart and cause constriction of blood vessels. This constriction impedes the proper movement of stomach acid back into the esophagus, leading to irritation and potential damage. Additionally, chocolate contains fat, which slows down digestion and increases the time food remains in the stomach. When combined with excess stomach acid, these factors can intensify GERD symptoms. Therefore, individuals with GERD should limit their chocolate consumption to prevent discomfort and acid reflux.

In conclusion, adhering to a suitable diet is crucial for managing GERD symptoms effectively. By avoiding trigger foods such as coffee, tea, citrus fruits and juices, tomatoes and tomato-based products, spicy foods, fatty and fried foods, and chocolate, individuals with GERD can alleviate discomfort and minimize the occurrence of heartburn and acid reflux. Dr. Philip Sobash‘s expert recommendations provide valuable insights into dietary modifications that can help improve the quality of life for those living with GERD. Remember, it is always beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance regarding dietary changes and the management of GERD. With the right dietary choices and lifestyle adjustments, individuals with GERD can experience relief and maintain better digestive health.


David Cohen

Rachel Cohen: Rachel is a sustainability consultant who blogs about corporate social responsibility and sustainable business practices.

Similar Posts