Rx Nutrition Resource Center
Rx Nutrition Resource Center
December 04, 2019
2 min read
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Drinking water instead of coffee, tea, soda may reduce reflux

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Replacing a few servings per day of either coffee, tea or soda with water may reduce risk for symptoms of GERD, according to study results.

Andrew T. Chan, MD, MPH, of the clinical and translational epidemiology unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, and colleagues wrote that it is unclear what role drinks have on gastroesophageal reflux, but it is a common topic among physicians and their patients.

“Prior studies examining the association between intakes of caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda and risk for gastroesophageal reflux symptoms and reflux disease have found conflicting results and have notable methodological weaknesses,” they wrote in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. “Accordingly, major United States gastroenterology society guidelines do not routinely recommend reduction or elimination of specific foods or beverages for prevention or reduction of gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.”

Researchers analyzed data from the prospective Nurses’ Health Study II comprising 48,309 women aged between 42 and 62 years. They included individuals without regular reflux symptoms, without cancer and who were not taking proton pump inhibitors or H2 receptor agonists.

Infographic showing the benefits of drinking more water to reduce reflux.
Replacing a few servings per day of either coffee, tea or soda with water may reduce risk for symptoms of GERD, according to study results.

During more than 262,000 person-years of follow up, 7,961 women reported symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux once or more per week. Compared with women with the lowest intake (no servings per day), individuals with the highest intake (more than 6 servings per day) of coffee (HR = 1.34; 95% CI, 1.13–1.59), tea (HR = 1.26; 95% CI, 1.03–1.55) and soda (HR = 1.29; 95% CI, 1.05–1.58) were more likely to experience symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux. Researchers found no link between milk, water or juice intake and gastroesophageal reflux symptoms.

Chan and colleagues found that drinking water twice a day instead of two servings of coffee (HR = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92–1), tea (HR = 0.96; 95% CI, 0.92–1) or soda (HR = 0.92; 95% CI, 0.89–0.96) was associated with reduced risk for GERD symptoms.

“Clinicians should consider advising patients with heartburn symptoms to try drinking more water in place of coffee, tea, and soda, especially when consuming four or more servings of these beverages per day,” Chan and colleagues wrote. “Although these dietary modifications alone may not be sufficient to prevent gastroesophageal reflux symptoms, they may be especially effective when combined with other important lifestyle interventions, such as maintaining a healthy weight and not smoking.” – by Alex Young

Disclosures: Chan reports serving as a consultant for Bayer, Janssen and Pfizer. Please see the full study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.