Fatty food is commonly considered to worsen gastroesophageal reflux (GER). However, it has recently been shown that changing the fat content of equicaloric meals has no effect on GER over a 3-hour postprandial period.
The Italian researchers aimed to verify this finding over a longer postprandial period. They also tested the hypothesis that increasing the caloric content of balanced meals increases GER.
Some 13 healthy subjects (6 men), aged 19-31 years, were enrolled in the study.
|Mean number of postprandial reflux episodes:|
Balanced 2.8 MJ meal: 11.5
High-fat 2.8 MJ: 9.3
Balanced 1.6 MJ: 7.2
| Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology |
Each underwent 6-hour esophageal pH monitoring after 3 solid/liquid meals of the same volume and osmolarity, eaten on separate days in a randomized order.
The 3 meals were high-fat (58% fat) 2.8 MJ; balanced (23% fat) 2.8 MJ; and balanced low-calorie (25% fat) 1.6 MJ.
The mean percentage of time at pH < 4 and the mean number of reflux episodes after the balanced 2.8 MJ meal were 3.0% and 11.5, respectively.
These were higher than after the balanced 1.6 MJ meal (1.6% and 7.2), and similar to those after the equicaloric high-fat meal (2.5% and 9.3).
Acid clearance time was found to be similar after all 3 meals.
Dr P. Colombo concluded on behalf of fellow authors, "Our data suggest that advice on dietary habits in patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease should be concentrated on decreasing the caloric load of meals rather than their fat content."