Background/aims: The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of heartburn produced by beverages available in Korea and to clarify the mechanism causing heartburn.
Methods: We measured pH, titratable acidity, and osmolality of 35 beverages in vitro and correlated them with the severity of heartburn reported by questionnaire in 382 patients from November 2004 to June 2005.
Results: Coffee (1.15) and soju (1.12) showed the highest heartburn score, while oolong tea (0.17) and carrot juice (0.18) showed the lowest heartburn score among all beverages. Titratable acidity of citrus juices correlated with heartburn (r=0.78; p=0.023). Soft drinks had the lowest pH, which was unrelated with heartburn scores (r=-0.54; p=0.460). Increasing pH among alcoholic beverages was correlated with heartburn scores (r=0.84; p=0.037), and osmolality was inversely associated with heartburn scores (r=-0.86; p=0.028). The heartburn score of decaffeinated coffee was significantly lower than that of regular coffee (p<0.001). Regular milk caused more heartburn than low-fat milk (p=0.008).
Conclusions: Our findings provide dietary information that helps to select appropriate beverages to the patients with heartburn.