For Acid Reflux, Put the Soda Down
Soda is hands-down one of the most popular drinks in the United States. This can be proven on the number of sales alone. Based on national sale data, there is enough soda sold annually for every adult to drink a full 45 gallons of soda per year. There are aquariums sold that are smaller than that! But when you stop and think about it, there is really no wonder as to why soda is such a major drink in our diets. The beverage is filled with sugar, and most of our favorite sodas pack enough caffeine to help us power through a busy afternoon at work.
Soda is also incredibly cheap, which leads a lot of people to opt for it—sometimes even over bottled water, which sells on average for a few cents more per container than a can of soda. And when you head out to eat, the refills of soda are pretty much endless.
All of this makes soda taste good and affordable, but that is pretty much where the benefits of drinking soda stop. In addition to packing a significant amount of sugar in each serving, soda is also filled with a variety of unhealthy chemicals and additives that don’t do any good for the body. Increased consumption of soda is associated with the rising rate of obesity in the US, and because of how inexpensive and convenient soda is, breaking the habit is a lot easier said than done.
Soda and Acid Reflux Disease
If you are experiencing regular heartburn or acid reflux, then drinking soda is an especially bad idea. This is because soda will actually exacerbate the symptoms of acid reflux and heartburn, making the pain more severe and the symptoms more frequent.
There are a few primary reasons as to why soda is bad for GERD:
- Soda has a high level of acidity, which increases stomach acids
- The carbonation or bubbles in soda puts stress on the lower esophageal sphincter, thereby increasing the risk for acid to reflux into the esophagus
- Drinking soda, especially quickly, often causes burping, which releases stomach acid into the esophagus by opening the lower esophageal sphincter
If you are going to drink soda and heartburn is a concern that you have, experts suggest that you at least opt for a caffeine-free variety. Caffeine is known to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, which can further increase the likelihood of experiencing reflux. Try to opt for a low-calorie, low-sugar beverage as often as possible, like unsweetened tea, or even better, water.
While drinking soda is not likely to cause you to develop GERD, it is likely to make the problem worse if it is already something that you are coping with.