How to Stop GERD: Avoid Diet Soda?

I love diet soda. Love it! At one time, I was drinking up to eight a day. I also have gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD) or acid reflux. I've had the upper gastrointestinal tests. I gagged down that barium so the doctor could see that there is a physical abnormality at the top of my stomach. However, the doctor feels that it is not quite significant enough to require surgery. I learned to live with GERD... kinda.

Over-the-counter heartburn and stomach acid remedies became my new candy. I was taking Prilosec twice a day as prescribed by my physician. To anyone who owns stock in the company that manufactures TUMS: you're welcome. TUMS were used to treat the frequent heartburn. When it would get really bad, I'd complete a round of Prevacid, then go back to taking Prilosec twice daily. I'd still have days fraught with stomach pain, heart burn, and even vomiting at times.

Oh, diet soda, I love you! BUT, my youngest son kept hounding me about how bad it is for you. It's pretty bad when your 14-year-old son is posting anti-diet soda propaganda on your Facebook page. Apparently, artificial sweeteners are evil. Who knew? So, I reduced my diet soda intake to one a day but not every day. I still drank some soda but not diet soda. I drank more water, iced tea, coffee, and hot tea instead of diet soda. I still had lots of heartburn and stomach pain. To make matters worse, I ran out of Prilosec and was relying only on TUMS.

Best Beverages for GERD:

  • Water
  • Herbal Tea
  • Non-citrus Juices

Due to my son's concern over the artificial sweeteners, I stopped drinking diet soda altogether. I try to drink one or two mugs of hot tea a day since I know it's healthier than regular soda. I like my hot tea plain, with no sugar or anything added to it. About two weeks later, I went to lunch with my parents and sons. I had a diet soda with my lunch. Later that day, I had heartburn and had to take some TUMS. It was then that I realized that was the first I had needed any TUMS since I stopped drinking diet soda. That was a month ago. There was only one other day during that month that I had to take TUMS for heartburn.

I'm not sure why the removal of diet soda from my diet has relieved me of the GERD. I still drink regular soda. I have a glass of it almost every day. I still drink coffee and tea. So, it's not like I'm avoiding caffeine.

I suffered from GERD for years. If I remember correctly, I was diagnosed with GERD about six years ago. I've been a heavy diet soda drinker ever since I was a teenager (much longer than six years ago). So, it's not like I starting drinking diet soda and developed GERD shortly after. I'm not a doctor. I'm not a chemist or biologist or scientist of any kind. I can't say for sure that the removal of diet soda from my diet cured my stomach issues. I don't know. However, that's the only change in my diet at this time.

So, I'm passing this little bit of personal experience on to you. If someone had told me that I would be free from GERD symptoms if I stopped drinking diet soda, I would have stopped years ago.

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Comments 3 comments

lambservant profile image

lambservant 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Great Hub. I suffer from GERD and have Barretts esophagus, a precancerous condition. I had to give up diet soda as it was tearing up my stomach something fierce. I still drink coffee though and it doesn't bother me in moderation.

Sheila Wilson profile image

Sheila Wilson 2 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thank you for sharing. Isn't that interesting? All the diet information for GERD that I've heard is to avoid caffeine. But I don't find the caffeine itself to be a problem.

Jeannie Randall profile image

Jeannie Randall 2 years ago from South Dakota

Sheila, there is a lot of research indicating that carbonated beverages do exacerbate symptoms of GERD. Carbonated beverages reduce the strength of the lower esophageal sphincter which leads to worsening symptoms of GERD. I am finishing an article on GERD and tips on reducing symptoms. I am glad you have been able to cut the diet sodas out of your day!

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