It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to [email protected] and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

Please note that the Ask Dr. Gourmet feature is restricted to questions regarding food and nutrition. Due to the many questions we receive, not all questions may be answered. For more specific questions about your individual health, please contact your doctor. About Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy


Ask Dr. Gourmet

I have GERD - what can I eat that won't cause flare-ups?

Two similar questions:

Could you please list the 12 best foods for me eat to prevent my GERD flare ups? It is hit and miss. I am a big protein eater but it may be that this has been a part of the problem. Strangely enough it seems that peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cause a problem?

I have been diagnosed with GERD/Acid Reflux. I have the oddest reaction to bagels, even though I can eat other spicy or sweet foods. What is in bagels that I find so problematic?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread, sliced in half

I get a lot of questions from folks about different foods that might trigger a GERD / acid reflux flare. The research on this is challenging, because while there have been reports of typical triggers, there is no definitive list.


Some folks might have issues with bagels, and others with peanut butter. Here's a list of the most commonly reported foods:

Whole milk products
Acidic fruits and juices (orange, grapefruit, pineapple and lemon)
Tomatoes and tomato products
Vinegars or foods cured in vinegar (pickles, relish)
Foods very high in sugar
Fatty meats
Fried foods
Recipes that are very high in fat
Carbonated drinks
Spicy foods

You can find more information in our GERD section and we mark each of our recipes as to whether they might be "GERD friendly" based on these common triggers.

One of the best ways to control your GERD is to keep a food diary for a while to identify your triggers. It's not often that I hear of bagels (it might be the fat you put on the bagel) or peanut butter (again, this could be the high fat).

Thanks for writing,

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP, CCMS
Dr. Gourmet