A study in Saudi Arabia investigated the effects of a change in eating patterns on the symptoms of 20 patients with oesophageal reflux disease. For 2 weeks they would eat only 2 meals a day. In between meals, if they felt hungry, they were allowed to consume only liquids such as juices, tea, coffee, water etc. None of the participants took any reflux medication for the duration of the study.
After 2 weeks, patients were assessed for the amount of pain, reflux, heartburn and other symptoms they experienced during the study.75% of patients were free of any reflux symptoms, 10 % had a partial improvement and 15% experienced no change. The reasons for the improvement may relate to the fact that there is less acid created by having 2 meals with a large gap, than 3 meals with only a small gap in between. The fact that the stomach will be less distended by having fewer meals, may lead to the lower oesophageal sphincter being tighter, so reducing reflux. The longer period of fasting between meals may also change the stomach’s contraction pattern to one that reduces the symptoms of reflux.