If you’re a chronic acid reflux sufferer, you may be familiar with the concept of “trigger foods,” or certain items that seem to consistently aggravate your symptoms. According to Frank W. Jackson, M.D., on the Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology clinic's website, common triggers include whole milk and other fatty foods. Since soymilk tends to contain less fat than dairy milk, it may provide some reflux relief.
Fatty foods tend to bring on or worsen acid reflux because they have the potential to relax the lower esophageal sphincter in people who are prone to reflux and heartburn. When the LES muscle relaxes, it provides an opening for stomach contents to flow back into the esophagus. Certain foods can affect the way your sphincters -- the muscles that block movement of stomach acid back into your esophagus -- function, causing them to relax.
Soymilk and Reflux
Because conventional soymilk contains just half the fat of whole milk, it may be less likely to instigate reflux. According to the USDA, 1 cup of original or vanilla soymilk has about 130 calories and 4.25 g fat. Unsweetened soymilk is an even lighter choice at 80 calories and 3.9 g fat per cup. In contrast, 1 cup of whole dairy milk has 150 calories and 8 g fat. As a potential treatment method for chronic reflux, MedHelp.org recommends substituting non-dairy products such as soymilk for typical dairy choices. Dr. Jackson notes that skim and 1 percent milk are also viable options, although the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center advises against 2 percent milk due to its higher fat content.
If you regularly suffer from acid reflux and are looking for potential relief, you can evaluate how you react to soymilk by keeping a detailed food journal. For one week, try substituting all dairy milk you drink or use in cooking with regular or unsweetened soymilk. Record how much milk you have each day and how you feel after each meal and snack, and write down when you have bouts of reflux.
You can get tailored medical advice related to your condition by sharing your food journal with your doctor and discussing your concerns. If you have severe reflux or gastroesophageal reflux disease, also known as GERD, your doctor might recommend that you drink or eat only fat-free products and avoid soymilk. However, trigger foods and relief methods vary among individuals, so it is worthwhile to investigate potential dietary substitutes that may help you and your doctor treat your condition.