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Acid Reflux & Semaglutide

One of the more common reactions we are starting to see with Semaglutide (Ozempic & Rybelsus) is stomach reactions such as the lovely sulphur burps or acid reflux. This has been put down to the initial slow-down of your gastric system when you're first using semaglutide.


Acid reflux occurs when there is acid backflow from the stomach into the oesophagus, due to the lower oesophageal sphincter relaxing and allowing acid to travel back up your oesophagus.



The foods you eat can affect the amount of acid your stomach produces. Eating the right kinds of food is key to helping reduce or even controlling acid reflux. But what are the right foods?


Foods to help reduce acid reflux

Vegetables

Vegetables are naturally low in fat and sugar, and they help reduce stomach acid. Good options include green beans, broccoli, asparagus, cauliflower, leafy greens, potatoes, and cucumbers. Try to incorporate at least 2 portions of vegetables (or fruit, see below first though!) to your lunches and dinners.


Ginger

Ginger has natural anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s a natural treatment for heartburn and other gastrointestinal issues. You can add grated or sliced ginger root to recipes or smoothies or drink ginger tea to ease symptoms. It's also great for another common side effect of taking semaglutide - nausea!


Oats

Oats have seen a sudden boom in popularity recently (thanks to fancy looking overnight oats) but it has been a breakfast favourite for decades (well hello, porridge). As a whole grain and an excellent source of fibre, it can help lower the risk of acid reflux. If oats aren't quite your thing, other fibre options include whole-grain breads and whole-grain rice - all of which can help with acid reflux.


Non-citrus fruits

Non-citrus fruits, including melons, bananas, apples, and pears, are less likely to trigger reflux symptoms than acidic fruits. Try to avoid oranges, grapefruits, lemons and limes, along with juices made from those fruits, which are high in acidity.


Lean meats and seafood

Lean meats, such as chicken, turkey, fish, and seafood, are low-fat and reduce symptoms of acid reflux (win-win!). Try them grilled, broiled, baked, or poached for lunch and/or dinner to help aid your weight loss and reduce the risk of reflux.


Egg whites

Egg whites are a good option. We're not talking Rocky-style downing of 5 raw egg whites in the morning though! Try to reduce your consumption of egg yolks, which are high in fat and may trigger reflux symptoms.


Healthy fats

"Eat fats? But I'm dieting!?" We never want you to cut out whole food groups, including fats. It's just about reducing the bad fats, and we always advise to eat healthy sources of fats. You can find healthy fats in avocados, walnuts, flaxseed, olive oil, sesame oil, and sunflower oil. Reduce your intake of saturated fats and trans fats and replace them with these healthier unsaturated fats.


What triggers reflux when I'm using semaglutide?

Although doctors debate which foods actually cause reflux symptoms, certain foods have been shown to cause problems for many people. To control your symptoms, you could start by eliminating the following foods from your diet.


High-fat foods

As briefly mentioned above, fatty foods can more stomach acid to back up into the oesophagus - this is because it helps your lower oesophageal sphincter relax and allows acid to come back up. These foods also delay stomach emptying. Eating high-fat foods puts you at greater risk for reflux symptoms, so reducing your total daily fat intake can help.


The following foods have a high-fat content and you should reduce these where possible, especially when trying to lose weight:

  • french fries and onion rings

  • full-fat dairy products, such as butter, whole milk, regular cheese, and sour cream

  • fatty or fried cuts of beef, pork, or lamb

  • bacon fat, ham fat, and lard

  • desserts or snacks, such as ice cream and potato chips

  • cream sauces, gravies, and creamy salad dressings

  • oily and greasy foods

Tomatoes and citrus fruit

Fruits and vegetables are important in a healthy diet. But certain fruits can cause or worsen reflux, especially highly acidic fruits. If you have frequent acid reflux, you should reduce or eliminate your intake of the following foods:

  • oranges

  • grapefruit

  • lemons

  • limes

  • pineapple

  • tomatoes

  • tomato sauce or foods that use it, such as pizza and chili

  • salsa

Chocolate

Chocolate contains an ingredient called methylxanthine. It has been shown to relax the smooth muscle in the lower oesophageal sphincter and increase reflux.


Garlic, onions, and spicy foods

Spicy and tangy foods, such as onions and garlic, trigger heartburn symptoms in many people. These foods won’t trigger reflux in everyone but you may be more susceptible thanks to the semaglutide slowing down your gastric emptying. But if you eat a lot of onions or garlic, make sure to track your meals carefully in your diary. Some of these foods, along with spicy foods, may bother you more than other foods do.


Mint

Mint and products with mint flavouring, like chewing gum and breath mints, can also trigger acid reflux symptoms.


Other options

While the lists above include common triggers, you may have unique intolerances to other foods. You might consider eliminating the following foods for three to four weeks to see if symptoms improve: dairy, flour-based products like bread and crackers, and whey protein.


Making some quick & easy lifestyle changes

In addition to controlling reflux symptoms with diet and nutrition, you can manage symptoms with lifestyle changes.


Try these tips:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.

  • Chew gum that isn’t peppermint or spearmint flavoured.

  • Avoid alcohol.

  • Avoid smoking.

  • Don’t overeat, and eat slowly.

  • Remain upright for at least two hours after eating.

  • Avoid tight clothing.

  • Don’t eat for three to four hours before going to bed.

  • Raise the head of your bed four to six inches to reduce reflux symptoms while sleeping.


If you have any questions or concerns about acid reflux, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Thanks for reading,

The Slim Transformation Team

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