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Does Eating Too Fast Cause Heartburn? (Unpopular Opinion)

We all know the old saying that eating too fast is bad for you. Our parents always told us to slow down and chew our food properly to prevent indigestion. 

We’ve heard that so much that it became a universal truth for most of us.

Good eating habits are very important for those of us with acid reflux and GERD. If you tend to experience heartburn-like symptoms, eating slower seems like a logical thing to do. 

But does it actually help? Does eating too fast cause heartburn, or is it an old myth?

Does eating too fast cause heartburn?

Eating too fast is a common cause of heartburn in a lot of people, especially those with acid reflux and GERD. There are many reasons why it happens, so try eating your meals slowly.

It’s also worth noting that people who aren’t diagnosed with acid reflux or GERD don’t seem to suffer from heartburn more after eating too fast. Because of that, research is mixed on whether the old belief that eating slowly is the best for you is true.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Why can eating too fast trigger heartburn?

Does eating too fast cause heartburn?
Does eating too fast cause heartburn?

When you eat too fast, your stomach has more food to digest at once. This means that it’s forced to produce more gastric acid than it normally would have. 

This acid can then rise up your esophagus and cause heartburn, especially if you’re sensitive to acidic foods and prone to heartburn.

Eating too fast often causes stomach discomfort and indigestion. This can force your stomach to work much harder and release more gastric acid. As you can imagine, this acid can then cause heartburn as well. 

So, while indigestion isn’t closely linked with GERD and acid reflux, it can lead to these issues in the long run.

In some studies, eating too fast didn’t make a difference in the frequency and severity of heartburn. But it’s important to note that these individuals were healthy. 

So, if you have acid reflux or GERD, your digestive system might react differently to you eating too fast and too much at once.

But even if eating too fast doesn’t trigger heartburn for you, it might still lead to indigestion. In addition, chronic indigestion caused by speed eating can give you acid reflux in the long run. So, keep that in mind when you want to devour a single meal in seconds.

When eating too fast leads to heartburn, it can also cause more severe problems down the line. 

For example, when gastric acid refluxes up your esophagus, it causes damage that has been linked with stomach ulcers, chronic inflammation, and even cancer. 

So, focusing on your meal and eating slower might help with more than just heartburn.

What are some benefits to eating slower?

Eating slowly can not only help reduce heartburn episodes but might also help with weight management

Eating slowly can not only help reduce heartburn episodes but might also help with weight management. It takes a while for your stomach to send a signal to your brain when you’re full. 

So, if you eat slower, you’re more likely to consume fewer calories than you would have if you were speed eating.

What’s more, eating slower can prevent indigestion, as your stomach has more time to digest the food before you add to it. 

This can also make your stomach acids much more effective at digesting and absorbing the food you eat.

Sometimes after eating too fast, you can get nauseous since your stomach didn’t have the chance of properly digesting the food you ate. So, yet another benefit to eating slower is preventing that. 

Nausea isn’t pleasant and can make you feel uncomfortable for hours when it’s caused by speed eating. So, try to avoid doing that.

Other research states that eating slower can help you practice mindful eating. It’s an approach to eating that prioritizes sensual awareness of the food you’re eating. 

Generally, it’s not aimed at weight loss and cutting down on carbs, but it’s supposed to slow you down and help you enjoy the food you eat.

Mindful eating can help you reduce the frequency of heartburn, as it forces you to eat much slower and pay attention to the kind of foods you’re eating.

How to avoid eating too fast?

How to avoid eating too fast?
How to avoid eating too fast?

People often eat too fast when they’re extremely hungry. Then, you want to consume as much food at once as possible. 

To avoid that, make sure to spread your meals and snacks evenly throughout the day so that you don’t end up starving right before your next meal. 

That way, you’ll be more likely to eat slowly and carefully, potentially avoiding heartburn and other issues.

Another way you can avoid eating too fast is to never eat in front of screens. If you consume your meals in front of a computer, TV, or phone, you’re more likely not to pay attention to whether you’re full or not. 

So, try sitting alone or with friends and loved ones instead to be aware of how fast and how much food you’re actually consuming.

Also, make sure to have some water with your meals as it will help with digestion and portion control. 

We’ve all experienced that moment when we get too much food at once, and we’re nearly choking. So, having a glass of water at hand can help with that.

It’s also incredibly important to chew your food properly. This will prevent not only heartburn but also indigestion and overall discomfort after eating. 

It’s also incredibly important to chew your food properly

In addition, actively choosing to chew your food more increases satisfaction after eating and makes it easier for your stomach to digest it.

This will also allow you to take small pauses between bites, giving your digestive system time to start working. 

Conclusion

There’s mixed research on whether eating too fast causes heartburn. Some people believe that it does, while others say it doesn’t make a difference for them. 

So, at the end of the day, listen to your body. If you notice that speed eating gives you heartburn or indigestion, make a conscious effort to slow down next time and see if you’re feeling better.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Sources: National Library of Medicine and PMC