CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) is becoming increasingly prevalent in North America and Europe. There is substantial evidence that GERD symptoms increase after meals, particularly after fatty meals. There is also evidence that candy, chocolate, carbonated beverages, and citrus juices can aggravate symptoms. Now researchers at the University of South Carolina report that the speed with which a meal is consumed may also affect the degree of reflux experienced. Their study involved 20 healthy volunteers who consumed a standard meal (chicken burger with french fries) within a 5- minute or a 30-minute period. The researchers found that the study participants who consumed the meal quickly had 40% more reflux episodes (14 versus 10 over a 2-hour period) than did participants who took their time to eat. They also noted that 45% of the reflux episodes were non-acid during the first hour after the meal, while only 22% were non-acid during the second hour. They suggest that their experiment be repeated with GERD patients to see if slow eating can be added to the list of modifiable lifestyle factors that will reduce GERD symptoms.
Wildi, SM, et al. The influence of rapid food intake on postprandial reflux. American Journal of Gastroenterology, Vol. 99, September 2004, pp. 1645-51