GERD Diet Demystified: For all of the coffee drinkers out there

If you love coffee, you have come to the right place...

First of all, I need you all to know that I am passionate about my morning cup of coffee. And, if you are new to Foodguides and a reader living with GERD who has heard “I can’t drink coffee with GERD”, hopefully after today, I can provide some clarity as to why you have heard this and why you may be able to give coffee another shot.

The original reasons for limiting coffee consumption

There is one major component of your traditional, regular coffee that is a potential trigger for GERD: caffeine.  Caffeine has been found to weaken the lower esophageal sphincter pressure (LES). The LES is what keeps stomach acid from rising back up into your esophagus and when it becomes weakened, the result is acid reflux. While living with GERD, it is important to control any triggers that may weaken the LES pressure. 

For years, research has shown great benefits to coffee consumption. Right now, there are limitations to studies demonstrating that removing coffee improves the symptoms of GERD. One study and another meta-analysis found that coffee has no significant association in the risk of GERD. 

This doesn’t quite mean it might not be a trigger for GERD. What this means is that every person is going to respond differently to the foods that trigger symptoms. That is why the American College of Gastroenterology have currently eliminated the routine elimination of dietary foods that can trigger GERD in their current recommendations (which we will follow as they are reevaluated). What is a trigger for you, may not be a trigger for someone else.

New solutions to finding out if coffee will fit your lifestyle

One solution is to limit caffeine intake and to make a compromise by adding in a decaffeinated coffee. A regular 8 oz. cup of black coffee contains around 95 mg of caffeine per serving, compared to an 8 oz. cup of decaf black coffee at 2-4 mg of caffeine per serving. Remember, 8 oz. is about the size of your fist when it comes to serving sizes.

Keep your total daily caffeine intake to under 400 mg per day, unless otherwise directed by your medical provider. If coffee isn’t your only beverage of choice, check your other beverages for their caffeine content. 

Have you ever heard of Low-Acid Coffee? There are many people with GERD who have said that switching to low-acid coffee has helped them to alleviate the heartburn they used to feel when drinking coffee. The pH in low-acid coffee is slightly higher (making it less acidic) than regular coffee, which could be attributed to these testimonies. Additional ways companies reduce acid content in coffee include roasting methods and choosing darker vs. lighter roasts. 

Here are some low-acid coffee brands to check out:

Lucy Jo's Coffee, Organic Decaf Mellow Belly Low Acid Blend, 10.5 oz (Ground)

HealthWise Flavored Low Acid Decaf Coffee K-Cup Pods

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