Soda is often on the "do not drink" list for treating gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD. When you combine the high acid content of soda with the carbonation or bubbles in the soda, it is likely there will be backwashing, burping or belching. You may also feel the acid burning in your throat and chest or experience bloating and fullness. I know many children with reflux cannot tolerate soda or drinks with carbonation. My two refluxers avoid soda in favor or water or other non carbonated beverages. Once in a while, they will have a few sips of soda. Usually they regret it later when they start feeling bloated and have uncomfortable, acidic burps and belches. But what if soda is your comfort drink and you just have to have a soda or two to get through the day? Can you still have a soda if you have gastroesophageal reflux disease?
A researcher in Arizona compared several studies looking at the effect of soda drinking on reflux and published the results in a medical journal click here. Soda did temporarily lower the pH or acidity of the esophagus and allowed the lower esophageal sphincter pressure to decrease. However, this was a short term side effect of drinking the soda. There was no evidence that drinking soda caused erosion to the esophagus or esophageal cancer. While the results of this study are reassuring, you do need to listen to your gut and use common sense. If you have irritation to your esophagus (also called erosions) or ulcers, the high acid content of soda may cause you pain and discomfort. Rather than endure pain or take extra medication, it is probably best to avoid soda altogether. If you have a soda on occasion and you don't get a pain message from your stomach, it is probably fine to drink soda. Those who take a case of soda to work each week or get the super sized big drink from the local take-out place may need to downsize a bit. See if you can alternate soda with a bottle of water for a healthy alternative. In addition to reducing the acidity in your diet, you may reduce your intake of sugar and other unhealthy ingredients.
I want to know your thoughts on this topic. I know the dedicated soda drinking may come after me and tell me to leave them alone. Our comfort foods and drinks are diverse and personal-they help us get through the day. Can you drink soda despite having GERD? Do you experience pain or discomfort, burping or belching from drinking soda? Did you have to stop drinking soda because of your reflux? Were you able to find other drinks that replaced soda?