Can a Ketogenic Diet Help People with Acid Reflux?

If television commercials for prescription and over-the-counter antacids are any indication, acid reflux has reached epidemic proportions. Stomach acid has launched an all-out attack on people’s digestion and quality of life, inching its way up into the esophagus and causing the pain and irritation commonly referred to as “heartburn.” But stomach acid is a natural, normal, essential thing. Why does it cause so much trouble for so many people?

For the people who suffer from acid reflux, finding a natural remedy would be most welcome, because reflux can make eating—one of life’s simple pleasures and joys—into a painful experience people dread. With this in mind, might there be a role for a ketogenic diet in addressing reflux?

Stomach Acid 101

Owing to the high incidence of acid reflux and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), stomach acid has gotten a bad reputation. It’s been portrayed as something to reduce as much as possible, or, better yet, completely neutralize. If only we could eliminate stomach acid altogether, we would have a permanent cure for reflux and indigestion, right?

Wrong.

Your stomach is supposed to be acidic. Very acidic. Between meals, an “empty” stomach has a pH of about 1-3, usually around 2. During a meal, when food is in the stomach, the pH rises to 4-5.

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