Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), is a common digestive disorder affecting millions of people worldwide. Characterised by a burning sensation in the chest, regurgitation of food, and sometimes difficulty swallowing, acid reflux can severely hamper one’s quality of life. Whilst medication and surgery are commonly required for severe cases, dietary changes are frequently recommended as a first line of treatment. This article aims to explore the extent to which dietary modifications can alleviate symptoms and manage acid reflux effectively.

The Science Behind Acid Reflux

To understand how dietary changes can help, one must first comprehend what triggers acid reflux. The condition occurs when stomach acid flows back into the oesophagus, due to the weakening or inappropriate relaxation of the lower oesophageal sphincter (LES). The LES serves as a one-way valve, allowing food into the stomach while preventing the reflux of acidic stomach contents back in the other (wrong) direction.

Role of Diet in Acid Reflux

Trigger Foods
Certain foods have been identified as triggers for acid reflux. These typically include:

  • Spicy foods
  • Fatty foods
  • Chocolate
  • Citrus fruits
  • Alcohol
  • Carbonated drinks

Avoiding or limiting consumption of these foods can potentially reduce the frequency and severity of acid reflux episodes.

Meal Size and Timing

Large meals and lying down shortly after eating can exacerbate acid reflux symptoms. Therefore, consuming smaller meals and allowing at least 2-3 hours before reclining can be beneficial. This is particularly important in the evening, to the extent that it is worth considering either eating a smaller evening meal, or eating earlier, or both.

Balanced Diet

A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains can improve digestive health and potentially reduce symptoms.

Dietary Modifications: What Works?

  • Reducing Fatty Foods: Limiting high-fat foods can contribute to weight loss, reducing pressure on the LES.
  • Increasing Fibre: Soluble fibre can absorb excess stomach acid, thus providing relief.
  • Hydration: Drinking sufficient water dilutes stomach acids, making them less potent.
  • Alkaline Foods: Foods such as bananas and leafy greens can help neutralise stomach acid.


Can dietary modifications alone cure acid reflux?
Dietary modifications can often help manage symptoms but are usually most effective when combined with medication and lifestyle changes.

Is it necessary to completely eliminate trigger foods?
Moderation is key. Limiting intake rather than complete elimination is often sufficient for symptom relief.

What is the role of weight loss in acid reflux?
Excess body weight can put additional pressure on the LES, making it easier for stomach acid to flow back into the oesophagus.

Should I consult a healthcare professional for a personalised diet plan?
Depending on your symptoms, you might need to consult with a dietitian or gastroenterologist for a thorough evaluation and personalised treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Often symptoms do overlap and it is quite common to get upper chest and throat-related symptoms such as discomfort and burning related to acid reflux. It can be difficult to tell what is causing these symptoms and frequently patients also need to be assessed by an ENT specialist, such as at London ENT, for advice.


While medication and surgical options exist for treating acid reflux, dietary modifications are a non-invasive, cost-effective approach to symptom management. By avoiding trigger foods, consuming smaller meals, and focusing on a balanced diet, one can indeed ameliorate the condition to a significant extent.

For more information please contact London ENT on 0203 865 7225.