Medically reviewed by Onikepe Adegbola, MD, PhD
When you want to indulge in desserts, sticking to a low-acid, stomach-friendly diet might be difficult. Determining which sweets and desserts will not aggravate your acid reflux symptoms might be difficult. While it is true that many desserts and sweets should be avoided on a diet for acid reflux, this is not the entire truth.
Certain sweets such as honey, dark chocolate, jams, jellies, non-fat or low-sugar yogurt, ice cream, sorbet, and low-fat cookies can satisfy your sweet cravings without aggravating acid reflux or GERD. But, these, too, should be consumed in moderation as sugar is harmful and super addictive.
However, check for trigger substances like cocoa beans, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, and a few others while selecting snacks and pastries if you have acid reflux.
Acid reflux and its causes
Acid reflux is a disorder in which stomach acid rises into the esophagus and causes discomfort. Heartburn, chest discomfort, and regurgitation are possible effects.
Acid reflux is known as a long-term problem triggered by several factors, including the following:
- An acidic diet that includes a lot of acidic foods
- Eating a lot of food while lying down or lying down after a heavy meal
- Consuming alcoholic or caffeinated beverages
- Cigarette smoking
- Antihistamines, calcium channel blockers, and nitrates medications
Acid reflux symptoms can differ from person to person. Some people may experience heartburn, while others get stomach acid in the back of their mouth. If your symptoms are disrupting your daily routine, consult your healthcare expert.
Acid reflux-friendly sweets
Yes. You read it right. You can devour some sweets while being on a GERD diet. Desserts that are safe on a low-acid diet have a moderate to low sugar content. They are low in fat. (High-fat foods can increase stomach acid production, causing acid reflux and GERD.)
We have compiled a list of alternatives to help you navigate the world of sweets.
- Chocolate (dark)
Those with acid reflux will benefit from dark chocolate. This is because dark chocolate has less fat than milk or white chocolate. Flavonoids, which have antioxidant effects, are also found in dark chocolate.
- Low-fat custard
You can enjoy pudding or custard made with low-fat milk as a sweet treat. A study titled “The impact of low fat and full-fat dairy foods on symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, an exploratory analysis based on a randomized controlled trial” was published in Springer Link 2022.
The research concluded that subjects having low-fat dairy foods of three servings per day did not show worsening acid reflux. However, the caution is not to overeat; limit yourself to a small portion because overeating can irritate your stomach.
- Honey with oatmeal
Another good alternative for those with acid reflux is oatmeal sweetened with honey. A study titled “Honey – A nutrient with medicinal property in reflux oesophagitis” was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research in 2013. The study showed beneficial traits of honey in reflux oesophagitis.
The soluble fiber in this whole-grain can help absorb stomach acid and alleviate discomfort. In addition, oatmeal is high in protein, which might help you feel full and avoid overeating.
- Frozen yogurt
A study titled “Gastroesophageal reflux disease and probiotics: A systematic review” was published in Nutrients Journal 2020. According to this study, the usage of probiotics can help with GERD symptoms like regurgitation and heartburn.
Yogurt, which includes probiotics, is an alternative for folks who suffer from acid reflux. These good bacteria can improve gut health and alleviate acid reflux symptoms. For a snack, you can have sweetened or flavored yogurt.
These foods are fat-free, and hence they won’t worsen your acid reflux symptoms. In addition, the low sugar content helps to reduce acid reflux and GERD symptoms. However, they are still desserts and sweets, so consider them once-in-a-while indulgences.
Healthy sweets that are acid reflux-friendly
Fruit can be a better alternative to store-bought, manufactured candies if you wish to eat a more natural, healthier diet. You will get all the essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins while enjoying a sugar rush.
Eat fresh fruit such as apples, bananas, and grapes if you have acid reflux issues. Fruits have a low acidic content and natural sweetness and are less likely to aggravate your symptoms.
Fruit is also a healthier option as it provides essential fiber that keeps you full while at the same time absorbing excess stomach acid.
The following are some healthy fruit options:
- Figs and dates
These fruits are low in sugar and high in fiber and vitamins that contribute to gut health. Thus, they help you satisfy your sweet tooth and keep you healthy.
Sweets that worsen your acid reflux
Avoid sweets with a lot of sugar and artificial flavoring on an anti-acid diet. These aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux and cause multiple health problems.
Here are some of the most common foods to avoid:
- Dishes and sweets with chocolate flavor
- High-fat pastries
- Chewing gum
Another reason these are not suitable for acid reflux is some of them contain artificial sweeteners and additives causing indigestion. As a result, they can irritate your esophagus and inflame your stomach lining, causing acid reflux.
On the other hand, some people who experience these symptoms may be able to tolerate a few of these treats now and then. It is always important to pay attention to how your body reacts to new foods.
Is cake good or bad for acid reflux?
A cake is traditionally made with high-fat ingredients and high in sugar, making it a poor choice for persons with acid reflux symptoms. Furthermore, artificially sweetened frosting, heavy cream, and chocolate sprinkles are found in pastries, which impact gut health and the digestive system.
If you have irresistible cake cravings, opt for a low-fat, low-sugar cake. You will be able to control how much fat and sugar you consume, preventing the buildup of gastric acid in your stomach. This won’t reflux up your esophagus and cause discomfort.
Furthermore, low-fat, low-sugar cake substitutes will not cause weight gain when consumed in moderation. Thus, they may be a better option for persons with gastrointestinal problems.
Also, you have the option of making a cake at home. You will be able to carefully control how much fat and sugar you consume and get a dessert that has no artificial additives. If you are allergic to gluten, baking a cake on your own allows you to use gluten-free flour, minimizing the risk of other gastrointestinal problems like indigestion or constipation.
What sweets you can eat if you have acid reflux is an essential topic because you must be careful with your diet while managing the acid reflux symptoms. You can eat the foods listed above without causing your symptoms to worsen. However, consult your doctor or a dietician to determine which sweets are best for you.
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