Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and the complications associated with it are very common in the Western world. There has been speculation for many years that certain dietary and lifestyle factors may play a role in the pathogenesis or course of GERD. However, a wide-ranging review of the available data reveals conflicting findings regarding the impact of most of these factors. In addition, the majority of the studies concerned have been based on small numbers of patients, and in most cases these studies do not meet the criteria for evidence-based medicine. Consequently, any advice given on modifying diet and/or lifestyle in the management of GERD represents a form of empirical therapy. A general consensus on the control of GERD through alterations in diet and lifestyle factors could hardly be based on the results of clinical or outcome studies. In practice, however, the treatment of GERD is oriented toward the individual patient's symptoms, and includes offering reasonable advice on how to adapt to personal dietary intolerance and lifestyle factors.