My belly puzzles me.
December 15, 2006 2:46 PM   Subscribe

How come I get acid reflux from fatty foods, but not from dairy-based high-fat foods like ice cream and cheese and not from foods cooked in olive oil? What is my stomach doing differently?
posted by joannemerriam to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Ah, i got an answer for this one--I'm a first year med student; actually studying acid/base chem right now--and my prof gave out a chart the other day: foods having a neutral or nearly neutral effect include butter, corn oil, olive oil, milk, ice cream, honey, onions, sugar, syrups; foods with acidic effect--bacon, beef, bread, chicken, corn, crab, crackers, cranberries, eggs, fish, ham, lamb, liver, sausage (and in case you want to know: basic foods--apples and most other fruits, walnuts, broccoli and other vegetables).

Basically, milk is a lot of sugar and has proteins in them. Your greasy foods give you the fat But it all really depends on you--how you body works, etc.

All in all, there's multiple causes, and it just depends on how your body reacts, plus if you have any type of gastric hernia could cause overall reflux. .. .. .
posted by uncballzer at 4:31 PM on December 15, 2006 [1 favorite]

One potential cause is gallstones. I have a mild case and was getting really terrible acid reflux for awhile. Took Prilosec for a couple months and the problem went away, even though I haven't had the gall bladder removed. Strange stuff.
posted by Malor at 5:23 PM on December 15, 2006

Oops, I forgot to say.... it may be related to how much fat you take in, or how dense it is, or perhaps how much bile is required to digest a particular fat. Dairy fats may be easier than other kinds.
posted by Malor at 5:25 PM on December 15, 2006

uncballzer - Would it be possible to get a more detailed explanation of what you describe? I'm probably not alone in wanting to really understand all this better. "neutral or nearly neutral" with respect to acid in a chemical reaction, with respect to acid reflux (and if so, for what kinds of people), or what? I've not seen this kind of biochemistry detail anywhere, and even a lengthy involved explanation would be quite interesting.
posted by amtho at 7:10 PM on December 15, 2006

Response by poster: Malor, I got tested for gallstones a couple of years ago and that isn't it for me, though you're right that it matches my symptoms. I have a gastric disorder of some type; they told me but I can't remember the name. It's one of those, "we could operate but it probably wouldn't accomplish anything" things. They told me to avoid fatty foods.

uncbalizer, any chance of you scanning that list and posting it? That sounds like incredibly helpful info!! The list you gave will be great - I am printing it out.
posted by joannemerriam at 8:59 AM on December 16, 2006

Best answer: As I was looking back over the list, I was wrong--these foods change the pH after absorbtion, causing their effects on the blood plasma, so it should have no effect in particular within the stomach. Likely, it's the fats consummed in the diet--oil fats are not full saturated (liquid at room temperature) and are easier to break down; whereas fatty foods (esp. things like mcdonald's or solid things like that--french fries!) have saturated fats (full of hydrogens on the carbon atoms that make up the fat itself) which are harder to break down--it's the saturated fats also that lead to higher levels of fat in the arteries, etc.

I'm not able to scan this chart (copyright stuff--professor's handout, etc) but I googled and found one here.

Sorry i can't be of anymore help.
posted by uncballzer at 3:29 PM on December 16, 2006

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