Last Updated on October 30, 2023
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Even though the health benefits of intermittent fasting are countless from weight loss to better digestion, some people may experience temporary side effects like heartburn during the fasting hours, which is caused by acid reflux also known as gastroesophageal reflux (GER).
Acid reflux is caused by excessive acidity and creates significant discomfort in the upper abdomen area. When acid reflux (GER) happens over and over, it can cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
- 1 Can fasting cause acid reflux (GER)?
- 2 Can intermittent fasting cause GERD?
- 3 How to avoid acid reflux during intermittent fasting
- 4 To sum up
- 5 Lose weight with fasting
Can fasting cause acid reflux (GER)?
During your fasting hours, your stomach still produces stomach acid. Because your stomach is partially or completely empty during fasting, the acid builds up in your stomach, and if this continues, the acidic fluid travels up into your throat and causes chest and throat pain.
This side effect of fasting usually only happens during the first few weeks of switching to the intermittent fasting diet and will fade away over time, particularly if you make some adjustments to your nutrition.
In addition, as your body adapts to intermittent fasting, it may reduce the symptoms of acid reflux as intermittent fasting is a great way of improving your digestive health by giving your digestive organs some time to rest. While they’re doing this, your body takes care of cleaning out any toxic substances.
For a healthier fasting experience, Fasting Kompanion gives helpful information and tips on nutrition and tracks your intermittent fasting progress.
Can intermittent fasting cause GERD?
Intermittent fasting, which involves cycling between periods of fasting and eating, is not typically known to cause gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) directly. In fact, some individuals find that intermittent fasting can actually help alleviate GERD symptoms. However, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.
How to avoid acid reflux during intermittent fasting
If you’re experiencing the symptoms of acid reflux while fasting, try these tips:
1) Avoid triggering foods
Citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, tangerines, and grapefruit are very acidic. Eating many of these during your eating window may cause you to experience acid reflux when fasting. Besides acidic fruits, spicy and fatty foods can also worsen your acid reflux symptoms. Minimize your portions or simply avoid them for a few days to give your body a break.
2) Eat more low-acid foods
During your eating window, add more low-acid foods to your diet, such as melon, bananas, oatmeal, rice, green vegetables, fish, or poultry, as these won’t aggravate acid reflux and heartburn.
3) Don’t drink coffee on an empty stomach
Coffee is one of the few drinks that you can consume during your fasting period. But if you’re experiencing acid reflux symptoms like heartburn, it’s better that you limit your daily coffee intake to one cup. If your symptoms don’t disappear, cut it out completely for a while.
4) Don’t eat late in the evening
One potential concern is the timing of meals during the eating windows. Some people with GERD and GER (acid reflux) find that consuming large meals or eating too close to bedtime can trigger symptoms. Lying down with a full stomach worsens acid reflux and the feeling of heartburn. It’s important to plan your eating window in a way that allows enough time for digestion before lying down.
5) Don’t overindulge yourself when breaking a fast
You may feel very hungry at the end of your fasting period but try not to overindulge yourself with heavy, greasy, or sugary foods when breaking your fast. Instead, be gentle with your stomach, by breaking your fast with soup or a salad. Then have your proteins and finish your meal with the carbs.
6) Give probiotics a try
Probiotics, the good bacteria that are known to boost gut health when consumed in the right doses are also being discussed for their benefits on the symptoms of acid reflux. But the recently famous probiotic source, kombucha may not be suitable for you. If you’re asking “Is kombucha good for acid reflux?”, the answer will be, no! Although kombucha is known to be a good source of probiotics, it is also an acidic beverage that contains caffeine, so it probably will trigger acid reflux symptoms.
To sum up
Following the above tips will likely reduce your acid reflux symptoms and heartburn, but bear in mind that these recommendations may not be suitable for patients with serious acid reflux problems. It’s important to note that everyone’s body responds differently. While intermittent fasting may be well-tolerated by many individuals with GERD, some people may experience an increase in symptoms due to factors specific to their condition or personal sensitivities.
If you have concerns about GERD or GER (acid reflux) or how intermittent fasting may impact your symptoms, it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation. They can evaluate your medical history, and symptoms, and provide guidance on managing it while incorporating intermittent fasting into your routine.