Heartburn on Keto can be a real drag – always being a bit nervous about what you are going to eat and how it will affect your digestion.
I used to get heartburn regularly before keto, and I could never quite put my finger on one thing that caused it (other than pre-mixed alcohol, which was always a guarantee).
Getting heartburn on Keto can be frustrating as you are eating better than before, but still suffering the same old digestion issues.
My mum has recently started eating a keto diet and has been desperately trying to find a way to ease the heart burn she has been experiencing for the first week, so this post is dedicated to her!
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn is very common and simply put, is where stomach acids are forced back up into the oesophagus and creates a burning pain in the lower chest.
It can be very painful and uncomfortable, especially at night when you are trying to sleep.
When you first start on keto, your body has a healing process to go through and this can be challenging at times.
For a lot of people though, their heartburn worsens for the first few weeks of Keto before slowly petering out.
Plenty of people realise one day they have not been affected by heartburn on Keto for weeks and thank their lucky stars!
What are common causes of Heartburn on Keto?
Heartburn can be caused by many things and a change to your diet, like going onto keto, can exacerbate it. Your digestive system gets used to how you eat over time, and so making a sudden change can have some initial downsides.
Some of the common foods that have been linked to heart burn are;
- Aspirin and ibuprofen
- Carbonated beverages, especially sugary ones
- Acidic foods and juices such as tomatoes, oranges, pineapple
- Chocolate 🙁
- Grain based food
Some other reasons that can cause heartburn are;
- Bacterial overgrowth in the gut
- Iron deficiency
- Obesity, as it may cause increased pressure in the abdomen
- Underlying issues such as stomach ulcers, hernias and diseases of the oesophagus
What are ways to manage Heartburn on Keto while your body adjusts?
There are a few ways that you can try to alleviate heartburn, and the success will depend on the cause to begin with.
Some ways that have helped people suffering from heartburn on keto include;
- Avoiding acidic foods like tomatoes
- Probiotics – these are very useful to balance out bacterial issues in the gut
- Over the counter antacids like Tums or Mylanta (check the carbs, but if it’s only a few carbs and means you can keep on keto, then go for it)
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fermented foods like kombucha, kefir, sauerkraut
- Magnesium and zinc supplements
- Dairy may be a culprit – try a few days without dairy
- Chia seed puddings, especially using coconut milk
- Adding more salt to your diet
- A teaspoon of bicarb soda with a small bit of water, drunk quickly
Most people find that if they have been long term heart burn sufferers, it becomes worse in the first week or two and then tends to settle down and completely disappear.
Try keeping a food log in My Fitness Pal and making note on which days you experience heart burn.
This will help you with matching up what foods may have caused your heartburn on keto.
Start with a very basic diet and introduce new foods slowly to see how your body reacts.
Hippocrates (460-370 BC) said that “all diseases begin in the gut,” and heartburn on Keto is no different. Your body is healing, so it will take some time!