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Weight Loss & Acid Reflux

We all know that eating certain foods can trigger an uncomfortable period of acid reflux however; experts have now found that excess weight, even if it’s a relatively small amount, can result in or worsen GERD symptoms. A 2006 study in the New England Journal of Medicine showed that even small changes in weight in a person with a normal BMI can elevate the severity of GERD or acid reflux.This study examined the correlation between BMI and the presence of symptoms of GERD. Participants of the study who had a BMI of 25 to 30 were classified as overweight and results showed that these people were twice as likely to experience acid reflux as a person with a normal BMI. Participants who were obese with a BMI of above 30, were thrice as likely of developing GERD symptoms such as chest pain, discomfort, heart burn and difficulty swallowing. However, even people with normal body weight or a BMI of 21 to 25 were susceptible to GERD due to small fluctuations in their weight.Abdominal fatApart from the aesthetics, one clear-cut benefit of losing belly fat is reducing your risk of GERD. Studies show that the excess weight in the midsection may be the cause of heartburn in most patients. This is because the excess fat in the abdominal region compresses the stomach and increases its internal pressure causing acid reflux. In addition, most people who are also overweight tend to have a high-fat diet which can worsen or trigger heartburn.How to manage acid refluxJust losing 10% of your body weight if you’re overweight can significantly improve GERD symptoms and your overall risk of many chronic illnesses. If you’re at your ideal weight, it is not advisable to lose weight to treat heartburn. In this case, seeking help from a doctor or changing your diet to make it more GERD-friendly by minimizing fat and oil and dairy may help. However, if you have a few extra pounds to lose, try losing them in a healthy and effective manner. Losing weight will not only treat your heartburn, it will also lower your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.Follow these weight loss tips to improve GERD symptoms:1. Lower your fat intakeEliminate fried food and other high-fat meals and see if this makes a difference. Reducing the fat in your diet will increase the pressure in your lower esophageal sphincter and help the stomach empty faster, thus reducing your chances of acid reflux.2. Have small frequent mealsHaving a large meal may put excess pressure in your stomach and cause acid reflux. Try having 4-6 small meals a day.3. Avoid heavy meals in the eveningHaving a heavy meal in the evening or night is not only linked to weight gain but will increase your risk of acid reflux too. Have your last meal 3 to 4 hours before bedtime to keep GERD symptoms at bay.

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