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Why Does Fried Food Cause Heartburn?

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Many of us have experienced heartburn after a night of eating unhealthy foods. While some people may think they’ve identified which foods are their main heartburn triggers and others still think that there’s no pattern with their heartburn, the fact is that fried food is one of the most common catalysts for heartburn for millions worldwide.

Why does fried food spark heartburn in so many? We asked Ellen Stein, MD, associate professor of Medicine and clinical director of Johns Hopkins Bayview Gastroenterology and Hepatology, to give us the hard truth.

Fried Food and Heartburn

According to Stein: “The oils used to fry foods have extra fat content, which slows the emptying of the stomach, and this leaves the stomach fuller for longer.”

Why does a fuller stomach (caused by fried foods) result in heartburn? Because a fuller stomach is a big reservoir of food and acid, and that acid can spill into the esophagus for minutes to hours after a meal, Stein says. This contributes to acid exposure time in the esophagus, and “the more time, the more damage and irritation can be done,” says Stein.

How to Reduce Heartburn

What can a person do to avoid heartburn beyond avoiding fried foods and other trigger foods completely? Stein listed the following measures that could help: avoid eating late at night; avoid eating just before lying down; maintain a healthy weight.

If heartburn is a recurring problem, it’s wise to seek additional help. “For occasional symptoms, TUMS is OK,” Stein says, but cautions that “if symptoms go beyond a few weeks you should check with a physician.” Your doctor may prescribe other medications, and some patients may need to undergo an endoscopy to look at the stomach and esophagus and make sure everything is as it should be.

However, if you just deal with occasional heartburn, TUMS Chewy Bites (or any of the offerings from TUMS) can provide fast relief for your toughest heartburn. According to Stein, products like TUMS “soothe the stomach and esophagus, which helps to calm symptoms of heartburn. TUMS helps to neutralize acid in the stomach.”

Yes, avoiding all fried, fatty food is one great way to sidestep heartburn, but indulging in the occasional basket of wings while watching football, or enjoying a great burger with friends, are some of life’s most enjoyable moments! For those times when you want to indulge just a little, keep TUMS, America’s #1 antacid and #1 recommended brand for heartburn, close by.

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