The effect of the speed of eating on acid reflux and symptoms of patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease

Turk J Gastroenterol. 2013;24(5):379-81.


Background/aims: There is a general belief that gastroesophageal reflux attacks appear more frequently after quick meal, which is without powerful scientific basis, and the general advise to patients is to eat slowly. We aimed to determine whether the speed of eating has an impact on reflux attacks and symptoms in gastroesophageal reflux disease patients.

Materials and methods: 24-h intraesophageal pH monitoring was performed to 60 patients with frequent gastroesophageal reflux disease symptoms (39 women) in a tertiary referral center. One hour after placing the pH probe, the patients were asked to have the same meal (744 kcal: 37,6% of carbohydrate, 21,2% of protein, and 41,2% of fat) within 5 or 30 minutes in random order for two consecutive days without extubating. The number of reflux episodes, acid exposure time, and the symptoms of 3-h postprandial period were analyzed.

Results: Thirty-eight patients had normal and 22 patients had pathologic pH monitoring for a total of 28 hours of measurement period. The number of reflux episodes increased in the 2 nd hour. The fast eating group had less reflux attacks and lower total reflux time in the 1 st hour and an insignificant increase in the 2 nd and 3 rd hours. The number of symptoms was higher following slow eating (113 vs. 100) without reaching significance.

Conclusion: Speed of food intake has no significant impact on acidic reflux attacks in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease. The classical advice "eat slowly" may not have any scientific basis. However, a similar study on patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease should be performed by combined multichannel intraluminal impedance and pH to evaluate the place of nonacid or weak acid reflux.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / diagnosis*
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Symptom Assessment
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult