The most common way to treat acid reflux—and the only treatment used by doctors for acid reflux—is acid suppression drugs, which cause serious side effects that can even be deadly.
But a study that has just been presented at the American College of Gastroenterology 2021 Annual Meeting concludes that there is a more effective way to cure acid reflux.
This treatment is completely natural and causes no side effects.
Researchers from the Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York began with the recognition that at least 25% of Americans suffer from acid reflux, and that very many of them were on some form of acid suppression drug therapy.
They wanted to know whether dietary changes and weight loss through counselling at a multi-disciplinary weight management clinic could help treat this condition and free patients from having to use these drugs.
They recruited 66 participants from such a clinic during 2019 and 2020. All of them had a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 25 and they had all been diagnosed with acid reflux.
At the beginning of the study, the researchers collected data on BMI, percent body fat, and the use of acid suppression drugs.
They then provided them with an anti-reflux diet and weight loss counseling program led by a gastroenterologist and dietitian.
Before the program, 69.6% of participants used acid suppression drugs.
During 18 months of follow-up, the scientists discovered that the program was very effective.
- 1. 77.3% of the subjects lost weight.
2. 33% of them lost more than 5% of their total body weight.
3. 68.2% of them lost points on their BMI.
4. 73.3% of them decreased their percent body fat.
5. 45.6% of them reduced their consumption of acid suppression drugs.
6. 30.4% of them completely discontinued these drugs.
These are very encouraging results. The researchers noted that their statistical analyses showed that the positive results came mostly from counselling, not from weight loss.
In other words, while weight loss is usually seen as an important part of treating acid reflux, the dietary and lifestyle guidance proved to be more significant in producing the benefits found in this study.
So it’s not really about losing weight: change your diet and lifestyle to eliminate acid reflux.