I thought I would repost this in it's own post since this is an important topic and I would like to stimulate some discussion about this topic.
Some thoughts on pop and GERD.
This text is mostly excerpted from my book:
A recent study presented at the Digestive Disease Week conference in New Orleans Louisiana in May 2004, found a strong correlation between the rise in per capita consumption of carbonated soft drinks in the past 20 years and the increasing rates of esophageal cancer in the United States. The study proposes that there is a biological basis to explain the increased duration of esophageal exposure to acid as the consumption of carbonated soft drinks increases. The rational proposed is that carbonated soft drinks are related to gastric distension, which can trigger reflux. They are saying that the carbonation in pop is causing reflux.
I accept their connection between pop and reflux but don’t believe they fully understood the basis for their conclusions. My theory clearly assigns microbially produced gas (not only the CO2 gas from carbonated beverages in the stomach) as the main cause of acid reflux. My own heartburn disappeared after I reduced my intake of carbohydrates, yet I continued consuming carbonated beverages at the same rate, both before and after reducing my carb intake. The only difference is that I always drank diet soda exclusively, both before and after starting low carb dieting. This suggests to me that the carbonation in soft drinks is not the cause of acid reflux. Currently, on my reduced carb diet, I still belch after a diet soda, but the heartburn is gone. Interestingly, most carbonated beverages are loaded with the worst form of carbohydrate, simple sugars. I believe it is the intestinal gas produced by microorganisms feeding on the sugar in most carbonated beverages that drives acid reflux by pushing duodenal contents and stomach contents past the lower esophageal sphincter into the esophagus. If the sugar in carbonated beverages is the culprit and responsible for the rise in esophageal cancer, then one would expect the same level of risk consuming any foods containing excess sugars. That means drinking milk (containing lactose) or fruit juice (containing fructose) could also put people at risk for esophageal cancer. According to my theory, there is a connection between acid reflux and consuming excess carbohydrates in general. If follows that reducing carbohydrates in general may help prevent esophageal cancer. I believe my book is the first to propose this connection. To me, this makes rational sense.
I would like to hear from others on this topic.