You can’t walk through a store right now without bumping into rows of chocolate bunnies and peanut butter cups wrapped in pastel paper. It’s hard to resist them! But for many people with GERD, chocolate can trigger a painful attack of heartburn. For almost everyone, it is not on a recommended GERD diet menu. But keep reading for ways to satisfy that sweet tooth without paying for it later.
When it comes to avoiding foods that trigger GERD, chocolate is high up on the no-no list. But how can something that tastes to so delicious wreak such havoc on your GERD symptoms?
Does chocolate really trigger GERD?
Well, as with many of the dietary recommendations for people with GERD, there isn’t any conclusive evidence one way or the other about the effect of eating chocolate on heartburn symptoms. Some believe that chocolate is one of the foods that trigger GERD because the caffeine and cocoa (a main ingredient in chocolate) somehow make the LES less effective. Others point to the high fat content as the problem. As people living with GERD know all too well, fatty foods are not part of a diet for acid reflux because they take longer to digest and increase the likelihood of an episode of reflux.
The reality is that we just don’t know what the connection is – or even if there is one at all! But if you notice that chocolate brings on the heartburn, then your best bet is to avoid it.
Satisfying your sweet tooth – sweets on a GERD diet menu
Always a healthy choice, fresh fruit can fill you up and curb your sweet tooth. Reach for an apple and you just might find you don’t want that candy bar after all.
Angel food cake
Looking for a sweet that won’t give you acid reflux? Try a slice of angel food cake. It’s lower in fat than many other desserts, which makes it easier on the stomach.
Low fat candies like gummy bears, red licorice, and jellybeans
All of these options are low in fat, which makes them easier on the digestive system. They also are really chewy, which can keep you from eating too much too fast. Keep in mind, though, that they are loaded with sugar and that’s not so good for your waistline.
Opt For Dark or White Chocolate
If you can’t stand to give up chocolate completely, try dark or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in fat than milk chocolate, so it might not upset your GERD symptoms as much as milk chocolate can. White chocolate is an even better bet because it doesn’t contain cocoa.
The bottom line
The bottom line is this: If chocolate makes your symptoms worse, avoid it. If you keep track of things to eat and not to eat, then take it off your GERD diet menu and forget about it. Also remember that controlling your weight is one of the best things you can do for your GERD symptoms, so sweets like chocolate and other candy should only be an occasional treat.