Intermittent fasting remains a popular health trend, not just because of its success in weight loss but also due to the many health benefits it offers.
This dietary plan is, however, not without its side effects, like gastrointestinal problems, which can vary across different individuals.
So can intermittent fasting cause acid reflux?
The short answer is YES, it can, but NOT in all instances.
Studies have observed that intermittent fasting can trigger acid reflux in some cases, while there have also been reports of it reducing symptoms of acid reflux.
This concludes that this issue is very subjective to each individual and may depend on the individual’s health baseline.
If you’ve suffered from ACid Reflux previously, then take advice from a health professional before starting or continuing your fasting cycles.
For every individual, the physical response to intermittent fasting can be different.
You have to be clued into what your response is to make the necessary adjustments.
A study seeking to determine the effects of fasting on acid reflux symptoms determined that the severity of symptoms was reduced, while another similar study concluded that acid reflux was further triggered with intermittent fasting.
How Do I Stop Acid Reflux When Fasting?
A few lifestyle and nutritional changes that are simple and efficient can help stop acid reflux when fasting.
Some include ginger tea, having smaller meals, drinking more water, and reducing the consumption of acidic foods.
- Include plain ginger tea in your fluid intake- The antioxidants present in ginger tea have anti-inflammatory properties, which are beneficial in alleviating acid reflux symptoms.
- Have small meal quantities during your eating period- When breaking your fast, at the beginning of the eating cycle, it is better to start with very low-calorie foods in small quantities before graduating to more calorie-dense foods.
- Drink small quantities of plain warm water during your fasting period- Drinking plain warm water, especially during the fasting cycle, helps dilute some of the digestive juices that may be secreted in the stomach.
- Reduce your acidic food intake- Low-acidic foods can help maintain a normal balance of gastric acid levels. This can help reduce the occurrence of acid reflux.
Having determined that intermittent fasting can both trigger or reduce acid reflux symptoms, it is important to arm yourself with tips on stopping the reflux, just in case you are among those who experience worsened symptoms.
Understanding how to stop acid reflux when fasting can benefit your intermittent fasting journey.
It would help to improve your general physical comfort while also preventing further health complications.
All these things can in the long run, contribute to the adherence and commitment to your fasting journey for better results.
Does Fasting Affect Stomach Acid?
Stomach acid can be affected in both the immediate and short term, but it also can result in long-term effects.
In all these scenarios, however, it is clear that fasting does actually affect stomach acid .
In the short term, fasting could trigger acid reflux; in the long term, your body might produce less acid.
Stomach acid is usually released to act on food helping along in the digestive process.
This then means that the presence or absence of that expected food affects the production of the acid.
When fasting, your body is starved of food which means that the digestive acid has nothing to act on in the stomach.
With no food in the stomach, less digestive acid is produced.
When this happens over a long period, your body can familiarize itself with always producing less acid, then making adjustments for reduced acid production.
In the short term though, the situation can be a little different.
When fasting, especially in the early days, the feeling of hunger is usually more.
Your senses can get heightened, especially when you see or smell food.
These senses of smell and sight can then trigger the release of stomach acids with the expectation of food about to be digested.
This then means that there will be acid production on an empty stomach which can lead to acid reflux.
Why Do I Have Acid Reflux While Fasting?
The main idea of fasting is to refrain from food for a certain period.
This abstinence guarantees a situation where your stomach will be empty at some point.
Even with your stomach being empty, your body will produce stomach acids which can eventually flow upwards.
With the continued production of these digestive juices, your stomach acid levels can rise and eventually flow into your esophagus.
The esophagus is the tube within your digestive system that acts as a connection between your mouth and the stomach.
When this acid spills into your esophagus, it can irritate the inner lining because of its acidic nature.
This stomach acid overflow is what is usually referred to as acid reflux.
When this happens, you can experience symptoms such as a painful burning sensation with a sour taste at the back of your mouth, causing significant discomfort.
In simple terms, you can experience acid reflux while fasting because there is no food in the stomach for the digestive acids to act on, therefore causing an overflow with continued production.
Can You Get Acid Reflux From Not Eating Enough?
As a general rule, your body naturally regulates its processes to adjust to any situational changes.
This means it can adjust its stomach acid production depending on how much is needed.
When you eat a large amount of food, the stomach produces more acid to be able to digest all of it.
The opposite also applies when you consume just a small amount of food.
This means that it is less likely for acid reflux to occur from not eating enough since, in this situation, only a small amount of stomach acid will be produced as needed.
For some people, intermittent fasting can cause acid reflux, while it can help reduce its symptoms for others.
It is advisable to consult your doctor before starting your intermittent fasting journey and have continued follow-ups to track your progress and monitor any side effects.
After all, the intermittent fasting lifestyle is a marathon, not a sprint, and you want to do it right for the best results!
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.