Thursday, May 2, 2013

Does eating standing up give you indigestion?

Does eating standing up give you indigestion? 
There’s less and less time to grab a meal nowadays. But is food on the run bad for your digestion? To find out, enter the world of the competitive speed eaters. 
 
It seems there’s less and less time to enjoy lunch nowadays. There’s no such thing as the phrase “lunch hour”, even in France, where the traditional three-course meal is being replaced with sandwiches and fast food. If you are in a rush and you grab something quick, there’s a tendency to think that you must at least sit down to eat it, even if that means sitting on the bus while you go to your next appointment.  Otherwise surely you’ll get indigestion.

But is this true? When you look at the causes of indigestion or functional dyspepsia, as it’s called in the medical literature, eating standing up doesn’t feature on the list. When likely causes such as stomach ulcers and gastritis have been ruled out, the management of dyspepsia can include changes to lifestyle, but this means eating a healthy diet, giving up smoking and reducing alcohol and coffee consumption. It doesn’t mean sitting down when you eat.

In fact doctors even recommend the opposite, if the pain is caused by acid reflux, when acid from the stomach comes back up into the oesophagus. This is where gravity can help; remaining upright during and after eating can keep the acid down in the stomach where it belongs. For the same reason, patients with reflux are advised to tip the head of their bed up, so that they sleep on a slant.

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