The Best Diet for Acid Reflux


Download The Food Is Medicine Guide

Here is the guide that is referenced in the episode:

If you are new to this site, you should first read my How I Cured My Silent Reflux article as it explains the underlying root causes of acid reflux, its corresponding treatments, and provides the necessary context to follow some of the concepts in this podcast. Note that the concepts in the article apply to acid reflux, GERD, and Silent Reflux. After reading that article, if you would like to learn more you might consider my book:

For a comprehensive / easy to follow plan, additional rationale, and the steps I took to resolve my reflux, get my #1 best-selling book 'How I Cured My Silent Reflux | The Counterintuitive Path to Healing Acid Reflux, GERD, and Silent Reflux (LPR).' Also available in audiobook!

 

Podcast Transcript

(Note this is not a word-for-word transcription - it's loosely paraphrased. Alternatively, feel free to watch on youtube or listen on your favorite podcast app here).

 

(note this is not a word for word transcription, but loosely and somewhat hastily paraphrased – takes a lot of work to put all this together and I’m a one man show! Alternatively, feel free to watch on youtube or listen on your favorite podcast app here).

Welcome to episode #3 of The Reflux Cycle show. My name is Don, aka The Acid Reflux Guy. The focus of this episode is diet. But, we’re going to cut through all the speculation on diets and look at the results of several global studies that compared and empirically measured the effect of diets on the balance of bacteria in your gut which we know is the leading indicator of gut health and acid reflux.

You’ll want to listen to the end, in addition to answering a few listener questions, I will share study results that reveal the best diet for acid reflux.

Before we dive in, I do need to remind you that the information included in this show is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, listeners should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for their situation.

Everything I share in this episode is based on a meta-study published on the US National Library of Medicine, linked in show notes. The article is called “Influence of diet on the gut microbiome and implications for human health.”

What I like about this article is it’s a meta-study. Meta studies can help you with the contradictions you sometimes find two studies with opposing results based on biases or errors in measurement. When you bring multiple studies together you are able to clearly identify trends.

This particular review brought together 188 studies ranging from 1970 to 2015. The studies use human subjects to measure the impact of various foods, diets, and probiotic supplements to your digestive health.

Now, if you are new to my content, you may find that you are unable to follow some of the concepts. If that’s the case, I’d recommend going back to episode 001 or 002 where I talk about subjects such as the microbiome in a little bit more detail and then you can come back to this episode and follow along.

Microbiome sciences recognize that balance of gut bacteria play a key role in diseases such IBS/IBD, acid reflux, obesity, type 2 diabetes, skin diseases, arthritis, cancer, etc. In addition, your microbiome is essential for synthesis of vitamins, immune function, digestive function, managing inflammation, and more.

With that background, let’s take a look at some of the takeaways from this meta-study that I have summarized in the guide. I’ve broken this up into sections: 1 protein & fat, 2 carbohydrates & sugar, 3 probiotic supplements, and 4 diet.

Protein & Fat

For the best digestive balance, aim for meals that include moderate quantities of fish and poultry or low red meat and plenty of vegetables. Why is that? Lower fat reduces inflammation, triggers reflux, and leaky gut where food and pathogens enter the bloodstream and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. These are some of the leading causes of autoimmune disorders and allergies. 

Also, lower quantities of fat can reduce elevation of Bacteroides and Clostridium (c-diff) bacteria. Also, chicken & turkey highest tryptophan, improves sleep, reduces anxiety and stress.

I also want to talk about the reduction of certain oils, such as those that we typically use in the western diet. Replace vegetable oils with non-toxic alternatives, olive and coconut oils

I’m referring to vegetable oils such as canola, soybean, corn oil, margarine, and safflower oil. These oils are often purified, refined, and sometimes contain chemical solvents and microbiome altering additives 

In addition to the many chemicals additives, Polyunsaturated fats from soybean, canola, and other seed oils are unstable, inflammatory and can damage to microbiome

There’s a lot more we could talk about. Perhaps a full episode on vegetable oils in the future. It’s actually quite fascinating (and disgusting) if you consider things like the refining process for extracting the oil which produces smells so rancid, bleach to deodorize it before it finds its way into the grocery store and to your shelves.

Needless to say, I prefer oils that are made by crushing or pressing vs produced / refined using chemicals.

Disclosure: This is a free website so I do advertise to cover the costs of website hosting and other services. If you find the information on this site useful, please consider making a purchase using the following links as I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Carbohydrates & Sugar

There are two categories of carbs, 1 digestible and 2 non-digestible, and then we’ll wrap up with a few comments on polyphenols. Digestible carbs including starches and sugars (glucose, fructose, sucrose).

Now, one of the things we want to minimize if not completely eliminate while we are working to heal acid reflux is sugar, because they promote the growth of pathogenic bacteria. You’ll want to minimize the amount of digestible carbs that include starches and sugars. 

Now, many people immediately think that avoiding sugar means to go over or sugar substitutes (saccharin, sucralose, and aspartame). However, I’m here to tell you that in addition to promoting pathogenic bacteria as naturally refined sugar does, it is found to promote glucose intolerance, a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 

This is a real shame because they are promoted to be healthy and combat obesity / diabetes. Turns out they may be directly causing the thing they purport to avoid.

In contrast to digestible carbs which are starches and sugars which are broken down in the small intestine, non digestible carbs or more specifically non digestible fibers are broken down in the large intestine / colon. Here I’m talking about vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds that are low glycemic so less sugar. 

Fiber is actually not digestible by humans. The reason fiber offers so many health benefits is that it’s actually digested by your microbiome that helps to promote healthy bacteria in your gut, reduce inflammation, repair gut lining, regulate nutrient absorption / hormone production, and improve digestive function. As I was working to heal my reflux, one of the things I worked on was ensuring I got 35-50 g of fiber daily from these sources.

Last thing I want to talk about is Polyphenols are sources of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, immune promoting and they’re often found in the rich and colorful vegetables / fruits (reds, yellows, oranges, berries, etc.). Looking for these rich colors can bring these antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents into your diet.

Probiotic Supplements

Daily probiotics have been shown to help restore healthy gut balance. Two sources of probiotics include fermented foods and supplements.

Fermented foods help improve the bacteria balance in your stomach. One of my favorites is no-sugar added / low fat yogurt. It’s something that I consumed on a daily basis as I was working on my healing. Also there are naturally fermented pickles, kimchi, and sauerkraut. They are great additions to your daily diet. For a large list of alternatives, you can go to  https://theacidrefluxguy.com/fermented

One of the benefits you’re looking for with probiotic supplements is that you have a healthy bacterial balance in your large intestine where these fibers can be fermented and produce metabolites and other byproducts that regulate immune function, digestive function, produce hormones, etc..

The way you do that is to introduce probiotics that are enteric coated. This will allow you to introduce active cultures that are able to bypass the acidity of your stomach and make it into the large intestines where they can bring some of these benefits.

There are other considerations such as the number of colony forming units. If you need help with choosing a good probiotic, you can go to https://theacidrefluxguy.com/probiotic where I put together a helpful guide for choosing. 

Diets

Dietary changes are a double edged sword, this study has shown the body can respond with shifts to the microbiome in 24 hours, and that any gains can be lost inside of 48 hours. This is a reminder that we can’t be sporadic, that we need consistent action, resilience to develop a healthy balance for the long term.

This study compared diets gluten free, omnivore, vegetarian, vegan and more. No surprise, western diet is the worst, as it actively promotes inflammatory conditions, autoimmune diseases, harmful bacterial imbalances because of all the things we have discussed not going. The best diet for gut health is the Mediterranean diet.

I’ll probably do a full episode on the Mediterranean diet if you’re interested, let me know in the comments if you are. Now let me read to you this section of the study which summarizes all the benefits of the Mediterranean diet and if you reflect on the things we’ve discussed, you’ll see why:

“The Mediterranean diet is distinguished by a beneficial fatty acid profile that is rich in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, high levels of polyphenols and other antioxidants, high intake of fiber and other low glycemic carbohydrates, and relatively greater vegetable than animal protein intake. Specifically, olive oil, assorted fruits, vegetables, cereals, legumes, and nuts; moderate consumption of fish, poultry, and red wine; and a lower intake of dairy products, red meat, processed meat and sweets

I hope you found this summary helpful and actionable

Q&A

I used your approach and have been healed of reflux now for 3 months, can you tell me why after working out for the first time in months the lump in my throat and pain have returned?

It’s possible additional healing to be done, as bacterial composition affects the enteric nervous system which governs gastrointestinal function including the opening and closing of valves like the lower esophageal sphincter.

That said, it’s more likely that things like hanging upside down, incline, horizontal combined with physical exertion, and certain exercises put pressure on the diaphragm. This allows expression of stomach contents into the throat. Presence of acids in the soft tissues of the throat can lead to inflammation and the globus sensation (feeling of something in your throat).This may mean that you may not be able to do certain exercises, possibly due to a hiatal hernia. That said, it’s most likely the pain and reflux is short lived and you will return back to normal soon.

If my stomach acid is actually low can you explain why dexilant (ppi) has mostly mitigated my symptoms? That is a quandary for me

The primary irritant is errant acidity in your ear, nose, and throat. The way these medications work is by neutralizing and reducing acids which reduces the quantity and potency of acid that can escape. That said, you have to know what this tradeoff entails. These medications lead to significant long term side effects such as those we’ve talked about in the prior episodes.

Disclosure: This is a free website so I do advertise to cover the costs of website hosting and other services. If you find the information on this site useful, please consider making a purchase using the following links as I will earn a small commission at no cost to you.

Wrap-Up

Much of what I covered was based on the aforementioned study and is summarized in my food is medicine guide. I will continue to update this guide as I run across relevant research so if you are downloading this months after the release you may find that more has been added.

To get it, go to theacidrefluxguy.com/003 or follow the link in the show notes. For daily tips on acid reflux, gerd and silent reflux, follow me on instagram @theacidrefluxguy.

This show is available in video format on youtube.com/theacidrefluxguy or you can find it on your favorite podcast app by searching The Reflux Cycle or by going to podcast.theacidrefluxguy.com.

Remember, before you try another reflux remedy, be sure that you can explain how it helps to get you off of the reflux cycle, by addressing the underlying causes of reflux

If you want to know more about ways that I addressed my reflux then you can go to  theacidrefluxguy.com/getstarted or check out my book, ‘How I Cured My Silent Reflux

My name is Don Daniels aka The Acid Reflux Guy and this was another episode of The Reflux Cycle show. Signing off.

Connect With Me

Follow me on Instagram for daily tips and subscribe to The Reflux Cycle podcast on YouTube or your favorite podcasting app

 

 

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Don was an acid reflux sufferer for more than 15 years. With several family members with the disease, and a medically diagnosed Hiatal Hernia he resigned to the fact that he would take acid blockers for the rest of his life. Dissatisfied with medical advice, he researched the root causes of acid reflux and by solving them was able to eliminate his acid reflux for good!

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