Dr. Philip Sobash’s Expert Advice: Foods to Avoid If You Have GERD

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a common digestive disorder that affects a significant number of individuals worldwide. Characterized by symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, and vomiting, GERD can have a negative impact on one’s quality of life. While medications and lifestyle changes are commonly used to manage GERD, dietary modifications play a crucial role in reducing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. In this article, we will delve into the expert recommendations of Dr. Philip Sobash regarding foods that should be avoided by individuals with GERD.


Coffee, a popular beverage enjoyed by many, should be avoided by individuals with GERD. Its high acid content can contribute to heartburn and acid reflux in some people. Additionally, coffee consumption may exacerbate indigestion, especially when consumed alongside other GERD-aggravating foods such as dairy products. Moreover, coffee contains caffeine, which, when consumed excessively, can lead to constipation over time. To alleviate symptoms, individuals with GERD are advised to limit or avoid coffee intake altogether.

Alcoholic Drinks:

Alcoholic beverages are known to trigger heartburn and relax the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), the muscular valve that separates the stomach and esophagus. This relaxation can allow stomach acid to flow back up into the esophagus, causing acid reflux. Individuals with GERD should steer clear of alcoholic drinks, particularly when consuming meals that contain spicy or acidic ingredients such as tomatoes and oranges. Avoiding alcohol can help reduce the likelihood of experiencing chest pain and discomfort after meals.

Spicy Foods:

For individuals with GERD, spicy foods can exacerbate heartburn symptoms. Capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat in these dishes, irritates the stomach and relaxes the esophagus, leading to faster movement of food into the stomach. This increased speed can result in acid reflux or heartburn. Individuals with GERD are advised to minimize their consumption of spicy foods to effectively manage their symptoms.


As enjoyable as it may be, chocolate is considered a trigger food for GERD. It contains caffeine, which can stimulate the heart and cause constriction of blood vessels. This constriction impedes the proper movement of stomach acid back into the esophagus, leading to irritation and potential damage. Additionally, chocolate contains fat, which slows down digestion and increases the time food remains in the stomach. When combined with excess stomach acid, these factors can intensify GERD symptoms. Therefore, individuals with GERD should limit their chocolate consumption to prevent discomfort and acid reflux.

Coffee and Tea:

Similar to coffee, tea is also an acidic beverage that can contribute to heartburn and esophageal irritation. Caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea should be avoided by individuals with GERD due to their potential to aggravate symptoms. Opting for decaffeinated versions of these beverages can be a suitable alternative for those who enjoy the taste and ritual of a morning cup.

In conclusion, adhering to a suitable diet is crucial for managing GERD symptoms effectively. By avoiding trigger foods such as coffee, alcoholic drinks, spicy foods, chocolate, and acidic beverages like tea and coffee, individuals with GERD can alleviate discomfort and minimize the occurrence of heartburn and acid reflux. Dr. Philip Sobash‘s expert recommendations provide valuable insights into dietary modifications that can help improve the quality of life for those living with GERD. Remember, it is always beneficial to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance regarding dietary changes and the management of GERD.