Acid reflux can be defeated naturally. This is much more than symptom management or navigating trigger foods. You can live your life free forever from heartburn, swollen sinuses, bloating, lump in the throat, allergies and other symptoms. Still believed to be chronic and incurable, conventional approaches do not fix the problems of acid reflux, and the drugs tend to add even more symptoms, not less.
If you have tried every medical treatment proposed by doctors, or have endured various diets and the endless list of trigger foods, you might be tempted to believe there is nothing left to do. If you have been forced to co-exist with acid reflux, then your chance for escape may lie within these pages.
If you have failed to find the answers at every turn, then this book is specifically for you.
As a sufferer of acid reflux for 15 years, Drew Niemeyer reveals the results of his own research into the topic. He indicates research articles that explicitly name the major causes of acid reflux disease and walks you through a series of logical steps that can help you to:
• cease PPI medications safely and painlessly
• remove the greatest causes of acid reflux disease
• optimize your body’s protective mechanisms against the disease
These pages can help you decipher your causes of reflux by providing the answers you need to know. You can find out why skinny people are just as likely to develop reflux disease as those who are obese, as well as some common anti-reflux advice that makes long-term reflux worse. Find out what the intimate connection is between acid reflux and modern chronic diseases, and why this connection is actually good news.
With this information on hand, your harmful ‘trigger foods’ could become something for you to harmlessly enjoy on occasion. This book, the first in a three-part series on overcoming acid reflux disease, lays the basic foundations that you cannot ignore if you are to regain your health.
Targeted Age Group:: 30-60
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I suffered from acid reflux for around 15 years. Acid Reflux is a painful experience that forces you to rearrange your life to minimize the painful burning sensation in the throat, sinuses and airways. There is nothing that doctors can do to fix the disease. They will simply try to manage the pain.
I noticed that the majority of people who live lifestyles that are at high risk of developing the disease, actually did not get the ailment at all. These were people who were obese and ate fatty foods and other unhealthy foods.
Instead, I was a very lean guy who ate healthily, and I was still suffering from a severe case of acid reflux. I began to ask a lot of questions about what the real causes of acid reflux are.
Eventually I uncovered a lot of research that showed the real causes of acid reflux disease – information that is never mentioned in forums and discussions groups. It showed the real state of my health, which I previously thought was very good, and explained why my 'healthy' lifestyle was actually killing me.
I was encouraged by others to add my voice to the literature, so that others can benefit from the discoveries I had made.
There are many books about reflux out there that fail to reach the true causes of reflux disease. You may have read several of them. Some focus on a single cause by implementing a FODMAP diet, or by eliminating a food sensitivity, and others focus on managing the symptoms through low-acid diets and other smaller measures.
This book is about the most significant discoveries I made over the last twenty years in my quest to overcome reflux disease. I have never been content to simply manage the disease. After all, a low acid diet is not a permanent fix. A low-acid diet is, without doubt, the best way to manage the symptoms, but the underlying disease is still there. My research, instead, is more focused on discovering the underlying causes of reflux disease and the ways to fix them.
Where is the cure?
All the information we need to overcome reflux disease is already available to the general public. You might be surprised to hear this, and you might have tried many different strategies to overcome the pain already, without success. One problem is that the answers are hidden amongst conflicting information. Another problem is that no one follows the correct sequence of steps to ensure that reflux disease is cured.
The sequence of steps is important. This book will walk you through the difficulties of reversing reflux disease. You cannot simply open a random chapter such as gut health and expect that you can focus on that one method. Every chapter of this book is dependent on the chapters that come before it. If you have not followed the sequence of steps correctly, you are more likely to fail in your attempts to fix the problem. This includes when and how to give up PPI medication, or when to start thinking about gut health.
This book is part 1 in a three-part series on the real causes of reflux disease. Although I would like to have contained everything in one single book, I felt that the volume of material would make some people give up before they ever started. Despite the length of the book(s), remember that this is just a ‘mud-map’ for your journey to health. It is a very brief explanation of all the points that you need to know and is not a comprehensive treatise on the subjects. Every chapter tackles a subject that could easily expand to become a book of its own.
For the sake of offering you a read that is short and manageable, I have tried to include only the most relevant information. The purpose is to provide a comprehensive overview of the topic that can provide some direction for your own research, and solid information for discussion with your doctor.
Why I wrote this book
The pain of reflux disease is very difficult for others to understand. Not only is the pain severe, it is persistent, and no one wants to hear about our constant complaints. The pain from my own reflux was severe. Every night, throughout the entire night, I could feel it building up and by the time morning came, my throat and my sinuses, were red raw. It felt as though a severe cold had hit me during the night. My throat was swollen, my vocal chords were also swollen, and it was very difficult and painful to speak. My dentist warned me that my back teeth were also being eroded. This was my life every day.
And it is not just about the physical pain. Other people think less of you because you need to turn down invitations to celebrations, to food events and even to physical activities. For a few years I never had time for anything much other than managing my reflux symptoms. Life was exhausting. I would try to relieve the pain in the morning before work, and in the evenings, I spent the whole time preparing my special reflux-minimizing food for the next day, navigating the minefield of foods that might trigger more reflux episodes. And if I had to go out with others, I needed to prepare for that in addition to everything else that I was trying to do. That was just to manage the symptoms, and ensure the pain was minimized as much as possible.
In my desperation to escape the pain, I visited many types of doctors and experimented with many different types of foods and medicines. I tried plant-based, vegetarian, high-fibre, whole-grain, sprouted seeds and nuts, and all organic foods. I did loads of reading and tried out many different types of supplements including HCl, vitamins, minerals etc. Aside from the specialists, I saw nutritionists, naturopaths, allergists and I tried to pinpoint problems through elimination diets. I tried to improve my digestion with bitter herbs and tinctures or by using parasite cleanses.
I was someone that wanted to believe in our medicines, in natural medicines, organic and health foods, and I was let down.
But those were the worst failures of 10+ years ago. I have since found exactly the solution I was looking for and therefore I have written this book. I want to share my journey with you and help you to relieve your own pain, too.
I know how it feels. I often meet people who are convinced that no one could be experiencing pain worse than their own, but I am here to tell you that it can be overcome. You can conquer this pain, even if you think that you have tried ‘everything’.
Is this book for you?
While this book provides the knowledge to identify the causes of your reflux, you need to be aware that some people may not benefit from it as much as others do.
Firstly, this book has been formulated specially for those with LPR (Laryngopharyngeal Reflux, or silent reflux). This is the form of reflux that affected me, but if you have another form of reflux disease, I highly encourage you to read this book. The principles that I outline may still be of great value to you.
Secondly, there are sections of the community that will not benefit from everything that I have written here. This is especially the case for those who:
• have missing organs such as the LES (lower esophageal sphincter)
• have had surgery to remove organs (eg. Gallbladder)
• have had surgery on the intestines (re-section)
• have had a procedure on the stomach or LES to prevent reflux from occurring
This book may be of limited value for you if you fall into these categories. There is valuable information to be had, but you may need to follow additional guidelines that properly support your particular physical condition.
Thirdly, your particular values may not align with this book. For devoted vegans and vegetarians, this book may not be appropriate if you are determined to remain on plant-based diets. Although it may be possible to overcome reflux on a plant-based diet, I do not believe it is optimal.
Many people believe that animal products are holding back their health, and I believed the same for a long time. The results of my tests and elimination diets showed that animal products were causing many of my issues. Also, nutritional experts support plant-based diets, and plant-based diets are currently the strongest recommendations for managing reflux disease.
But I want to achieve more than merely managing the disease. Through a combination of chance and a little desperation, I found the results were better when there were less plants and more animal products. I am sure that it is possible to overcome reflux on a plant-based diet, but I believe this is the slow-lane on a very long and difficult road. Many people will never reach its destination. The chapters in this book are not written to disparage any path to healing. They simply outline the steps that worked best for me, why it worked for me, and why it also works for the majority of other people.
For anyone who is open to change, I hope that these pages will become an effective springboard from which you can launch your own research. Most people will find relief from acid reflux within the first major step in this book, but please keep reading the entire book: the goal is to keep acid reflux away for good.
In addition to this, I urge you to act quickly! The diseases that cause acid reflux tend to degrade the functionality of the body as time goes by. The information in this book becomes less effective the longer symptoms continue and damage to the body’s organs becomes increasingly permanent. The best solution is to overcome the causes of reflux as soon as possible, before the reflux-causing diseases have set in for good.
Can Acid Reflux Really be Cured?
There will always be instances where reflux cannot be cured, and instances when it can. The key to understanding reflux is this: Reflux is always caused by other diseases.
If you have spent time on forums and discussions, you may have discovered that everyone with reflux also has a list of other health complaints. Deciding on whether Acid Reflux can be cured depends on how you understand the disease.
This is the basic premise of this book.
Over the years, I have noticed that reflux is always accompanied by other diseases. Taking steps to identify these diseases and to fix them is key to overcoming reflux.
So, is acid reflux curable? This depends on what underlying disease is causing your reflux, and how permanently that disease has damaged your body. If the underlying disease is curable, then I believe you will cure your reflux. Thankfully, this is the case for most people.
If your body has been permanently damaged from a disease, and this disease continues to affect your health (this can happen from autoimmune disease or from organ damage from incorrect lifestyle choices), then you may be able to manage acid reflux by managing the underlying disease. Many people in this situation continue to improve slowly over time, but it is difficult to know how far that improvement will go.
How to Optimize Your Progress
The information contained in the coming chapters is no replacement for your relationship with a team of medical professionals.
This book is not about changing your allegiance, but more about dissemination of valuable material. Essentially, it is unfair to hold back on information when other people could be using it for their own benefit, no matter how anecdotal it may seem. Experience and research are important tools in the search for answers to our health concerns, and it is my own experiences and research that you will find written here.
Many people regard overcoming disease naturally as being hippie, trendy or radical. This is not my intention. The fact is that even conventional medicine has no drug that cures or manages reflux safely. The only option we have for curing reflux is via natural methods. And the guidance of a good doctor is absolutely necessary while you are travelling this path.
With this information in hand, you must find a doctor that can collaborate in your efforts to cure your reflux. This book does not offer any advice to your specific circumstances and I hope that the information in this book can be a valuable resource in this journey.
I often hear people tearing down the medical establishment because they feel that they have been ignored and left out to dry. It is difficult to confirm these types of claims, but most medical professionals really are there to provide the greatest help that they can. They are real people that feel a great sense of pride in obtaining positive outcomes. But they do have to work within a system.
The medical industry is not perfect. There are many barriers in the way for everyone. There are barriers holding doctors back from what they want to achieve and there are barriers in front of the patients that are looking for answers. Just knowing that there are barriers can help you to find your place within the system so that you can get the help that you need.
Firstly, information from new research takes almost 20 years to filter down to medical practice for the general public. This is a very long time that people are left without the answers that they are looking for. If you want to be up to date with the latest findings, then it is good to place yourself in the organizations that are likely to have access to this. These days, communication from researchers is excellent, and there are also many lay people that are committed to learning about new developments and broadcasting them to the world. Make sure you connect with those in the know and make yourself as informed as you can be. This will help you when discussing with doctors.
Secondly, specialists tend to limit their study to specific parts of the body, and they don’t cross the boundaries to other parts of the body. This is simply the way the system trains specialists and sets them up for medical practice. This can be a problem in identifying cause and effect in diseases that involve multiple systems in the body. There are many specialists that do not collaborate deeply with other specialists, so it may be up to you to bring any relevant information to the table. Most specialists like to feel that they are informed so it may be worth asking their opinion on any connections that you have discovered in your own research.
Thirdly, any doctor, in general, must abide by conventional guidelines, or risk having their medical licenses revoked. This protects people from quackery and dangerous advice, but it also makes many doctors afraid to mention information that could be the answer to your prayers. Within the last 10 years, many lawsuits have been filed against doctors that have given excellent advice, but it was advice that their peers did not agree with or thought was unconventional. Thankfully, each of the doctors won their cases because their advice was overwhelmingly supported by the medical literature. They kept their careers, probably owing to the skill of their lawyers. But this is the danger that any doctor faces. Keep this in mind when you speak with them. They must be vigilant about staying within the boundaries that medical authorities have set.
Fourthly, general practitioners are extremely busy people. They must deal with every disease in the book – not just yours. It is impossible for a single person to understand everything in detail and that is why we have specialists. They often rely on summaries of diseases and treatments from publications for their ongoing education, usually supplied by pharmaceutical companies. Being well informed about your own condition can also be a great source of education for a practitioner.
Despite all these limitations, many doctors have found ways to help their patients without upsetting their peers. It is important to find a doctor that is open-minded and can respect your desire to research your own topic and approach them for their professional opinions on those research items. I have been lucky to find a doctor that is willing to listen to my thoughts, reasonings and to work with me in the way that I feel comfortable, and I know that you can find a doctor like this, too.
And the fifth barrier to your health, sadly, is often the pharmaceutical companies. They are in the businesses of providing products that can improve health, or fight disease and save lives where no other options exist, but they are not a charity. If there is no money involved, then the business will fold, so just like any business. They conduct themselves like businesses, they employ strategies to market their products and to make more sales, whether you need the products or not. They do play a vital role in medicine but taking pharmaceutical products unnecessarily may be making you sicker, as we will see in the following pages. There is no pharmaceutical drug that cures acid reflux because acid reflux can be cured naturally. And because of the nature of acid reflux, we are unlikely to see a cure for this disease for a very long time, if ever at all.
In the end, it is up to you to be informed, and to bring your information to doctors that are open-minded to work with you through this.
I hope that the ideas in this book can help you overcome all these barriers. The information is new, it is based on research, it has worked for other people and it is something that you can take to your doctor for discussion. The information in this book provides solutions that will cost you extraordinarily little, because acid reflux can be overcome naturally.
And just one more thing…
Before you continue to chapter one, I want to leave you with something to do. I want you to succeed in your efforts to overcome this disease. If you want to make the most of this book, and the suggestions that are included throughout the chapters, you would do well to include two lifestyle changes, if you are not doing them already.
One change is exercise. I know that the ‘talk’ about exercise can be like switching on the broken record. I totally get it. But think about doing something simple and easy. Just go walking. Put aside some time daily. Even twice daily if it’s easy exercise. This is not about weight loss, but a lot of the benefits of exercise are implied throughout the pages of this book.
And the other change is to relax. And this includes getting proper sleep. Make sure you are not living in a stressful and toxic environment, and that you are as relaxed as you can be for most of your day. The fact is that stress may be causing your reflux, and if this is the case, the only solution is to remove the cause. However, if you find it difficult to relax and you want some tools that can increase your ability to relax, then the answers are in the book you are holding!
I’m not going elaborate on exercise and relaxation here because they will be big topics in book three. However, I mention them here because you can take care of these changes straight away, they can make an enormous impact to your progress, and why wait until book three to start on something that you can do right now?
Founder of Acid Reflux Formula
Chapter 1 – Is Weight Loss Really the Answer?
Doctors have little to offer patients when it comes to reflux disease. This is not to disparage them in any way. It is just that they know that there is no cure for reflux disease. The best they can do is to offer some lifestyle advice, perhaps some dietary advice, and prescribe some medications that can ease the pain.
Some of the doctors’ visits I have heard about are very funny, especially the stories from skinny people. A new patient with a BMI of 21 (very thin) can visit a doctor with a complaint about reflux and be met with the words “You need to lose weight”. It is as if the doctor has not even looked at the patient sitting in the room.
Although these types of situations seem incredulous, there is more truth to it than you might think. Take it from me, a tall skinny guy that has never wavered from a weight of 72kg. I knew that there was fat, and not weight, that was contributing to my reflux. Are you confused yet? Let’s take a look at how this works.
How much does your weight contribute to reflux?
The reason that fat contributes to reflux disease, they say, is that excess fat puts pressure on your internal organs, including your stomach, and pushes the stomach contents upward into your esophagus.
Personally, I would take this reasoning with a grain of salt. I am sure that there is truth behind putting pressure on your organs, but I believe it is a small detail in the larger scheme of things. In my opinion, there is much more to the story. Excess weight is a visible sign of some other, much more serious, cause of reflux disease.
Almost every person diagnosed with acid reflux has heard these words “You have to lose weight”.
Whether you are skinny or plus sized, as strange as it may sound, weight loss is something that you need to think about. This is because everybody has a particular fat capacity. Once you go over this capacity, then that is when things start to go wrong.
Some plus sized people can remain very big, and be absolutely fine because they have not yet reached their capacity. And skinny people can put on just a tiny amount of weight and already be over capacity.
How does this work? I found the whole story to be incredibly intriguing.
The Reflux/Body-fat connection
The link between acid reflux disease and body-fat was a mystery to me until I read some research that connected BMI with acid reflux.
The researchers were baffled by this very same question. Why do some very overweight people never develop disease, while other much thinner people are hit by the disease severely? Is body-weight not a real factor?
The data in the research was confusing. It did not matter if people had a BMI of 24 or 29 or 36. There seemed to be no pattern to the numbers.
But soon, researchers noticed something odd. The researchers could observe participants over a long period of time, so it gave them the opportunity to see the participants gain and lose weight as time passed. They watched disease develop and then disappear.
And then an idea struck. Instead of looking at all the people as one big average number, they began to study what happened to individuals as they constantly changed weight.
It became clear that a single person would develop disease after crossing above a particular weight threshold. And that same person would overcome the disease by losing those extra kilos, to bring their weight back underneath that threshold.
So, one person with a BMI of 20 would develop symptoms once their weight reached a BMI of 24. And once they took off those extra kilos they had gained, the symptoms disappeared also. Another person who already had a BMI of 32 was perfectly fine until their weight climbed to a BMI of 36. At this point they became sick. After bringing their weight back to a BMI of 34, everything went back to normal.
It was clear from his research that he could not just pick one number that would apply to everyone. At a BMI of 30, some people would develop disease and other people would not.
But what he did find, is that everyone has their own personal threshold – their ability to store fat in safe places. That is, to store fat under the skin. After this subcutaneous (skin) storage is filled, then other places need to be found where fat can be stored.
It is a little bit like people who own, and hoard, too many possessions. They need to have places inside their houses that allow them to store their things neatly and safely, without getting in the way of day-to-day activities. As belongings accumulate, the cupboard space in the house will normally get filled up first, and then any extra storage spaces. That is where the usual storage space is.
How much storage space is there in a house? That depends on the house. Some houses have a lot of storage space and others have very little. Most apartments have even less space available for storage than houses on a block of land.
Whatever the storage space capacity is, it gets filled up, and any further items need to be put in places that are not made for storage – skillfully placed or stacked on table edges or they begin taking up space in a spare room. As more and more items accumulate, it takes up more and more of the living space in the house until there are only little paths left to navigate from room to room.
The same concept happens in your body. Fat storage happens under the skin. How much can you store under the skin? That depends on you. Some people like me cannot store much under the skin, but other people can store a lot.
After this space is filled, other places need to be found. Fat will be supplied to all tissues of the body, expanding the belly, being deposited around the organs, and inside the organs. It even makes its way around and inside the cells of the organs.
Having so much fat in the wrong places makes it difficult for the body’s organs to work properly. The liver gets blocked up. It stops producing particles that it needs to produce. The pancreas stops producing insulin. In general, excess fat impedes organ function. With everything blocked up, they cannot function anymore, and they begin to also develop inflammation.
Think about fatty liver disease – you have probably heard of this – where fat is piling up inside the liver, blocking up the ducts, and preventing it from functioning properly. And visceral fat accumulating in and around the pancreas. It tends to block up the cells that create the hormones we need.
That is why we hear news of scientists that discover a 3-day fast adds functionality to the pancreas. Great news for diabetics, but the reason for the sudden “restarting” of the pancreas is that the hormone-producing cells have been uncovered and are beginning to function properly once again.
The only course of action is to treat your body as your temple. Clean out the house! Clear the clutter and regain your health.
There is much more to the story of fat than simply blocking up the organs. By now you might realize that some people can safely and happily store more fat than other people. But once that limit is reached, then that person is beginning a state of inflammation.
How Excess fat causes disease
Obesity is often referred to as a chronic state of inflammation. This means that if you are over your personal fat threshold, then your body begins to send out distress signals that start the process of inflammation.
Fat cells under the skin are made for storing fat. They just keep taking in fat until they reach their limit. After that, they deal with the situation in one of 2 ways. They can either just stop taking in more fat, or they can split to form new fat cells so that the process of fat storage can continue.
Which type of cells do you have? The fat from the cells that keep dividing is quite wobbly. Many people don’t like the appearance of this type of fat because all the body parts tend to wobble around. But this is the safest kind of fat.
These types of fat cells do not get stressed and overfilled, and they help to make your personal fat capacity increase. This is what helps to keep all sorts of weight-related diseases away.
On the other hand, fat that appears quite solid may be a sign of over-full fat cells. If the fat on your body is like this, then your personal fat threshold is likely reached. Your fat cells have grown too large, and they have become tight. You are now probably depositing fat into all the wrong places.
In addition to this, fat cells that are over-full start sending out stress signals that start a cascade of inflammatory responses by the body.
When fat cells grow too big, inflammatory proteins called cytokines flow out of the fat cells. This action switches on inflammatory processes throughout the whole body, especially the liver and the muscles. And it doesn’t stop here. Those cytokines cause many other reactions to take place, and they all have the effect of accelerating the process: more fat storage, more inflammation and more sickness.
Complications of Inflammation
When inflammation is causing a continuous spiral into sickness, this condition is known as chronic inflammation.
Chronic inflammation is the cause of many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. It can affect the kidneys, the bones, and is connected to autoimmune disorders and even brain diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
As the inflammatory processes continue, they can create a broad spectrum of diseases. See if you recognize a few of these common ones:
• Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis and other auto-inflammatory diseases
• Dermatitis, Eczema
• Interstitial Cystitis
• Joint Pain
• Multiple Sclerosis
Inflammation is serious and it is currently a very popular topic within the medical community. Inflammation causes insulin resistance, which leads to acid reflux. You should always be vigilant about trying to reduce inflammation as much as possible.
And the first step in that path for most people is about losing weight.
Why Do We Gain Weight?
When it comes to our food, our bodies will do one of two things. It will use it, or it will store it. It never carries out the two processes at the same time. Just one or the other.
Think of pendulum of a clock. It swings back and forth, from one extreme to the other. In the same way, our bodies need to have the time when we are burning fat, and time when we are storing fat.
The biggest cause of fat storage in our bodies (but not the only one) is a hormone called insulin. It is produced by the pancreas and is released any time that we eat food.
Insulin is a fat-storage hormone, so it is impossible for the body to burn fat while it is around. Insulin is released when blood glucose (sugar) levels are too high. While it is present, all the body’s processes are geared toward storing fat, and to storing glucose, fatty acids and amino acids (amino acids are parts of proteins). Insulin is all about stocking up on what we need.
Insulin signals for the liver to build glycogen from glucose, fats (triglycerides) from glycerol and fatty acids, and proteins from amino acids. This is all for the sake of storage and growth!
When a meal is finished and has taken two or three hours to digest, the environment starts to calm down. Then the pendulum is now swinging the other way. We are moving out of fat storage mode and into fat burning mode.
Glucagon is the opposite of insulin. It is also released from the pancreas, but this happens when blood glucose levels become too low. It signals for the liver to release some glucose into the bloodstream. When there is no insulin, some other organs begin releasing hormones that start the process of using internal stores of energy. This is not essential to our discussion, but for the sake of interest, here are the main ones:
• pancreas – glucagon
• pituitary gland – growth hormone
• pituitary gland – ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone)
• adrenal gland – epinephrine (adrenaline)
• thyroid gland – thyroid hormone
These hormones act on the cells of the liver, the muscles and fat tissues. And if we continue to avoid food, our fat-burning state continues. This stage of the cycle is important, not only because it is about fat burning, but because it is a time when the body takes steps to repair itself.
These two states work well because insulin is all about storage and growth, and the other hormones are about fat-burning and repair. Two different states that do two important tasks.
Now that you know that insulin is released at mealtimes, what do you think would occur if we did not stop eating, or had our meals too close together? What do you think happens when we break up our 3 largest meals of the day, and instead have 6 small meals in a day?
Frequent Small Meals
Eating frequent small meals is the advice given to many patients of reflux disease, but it leads to the condition of reflux disease becoming much worse over time.
Here is what happens. You wake up and have breakfast, at perhaps 8am. From this point, you need to eat every 2 or 2.5 hours, to be able to fit in 6 meals for the day.
After each meal, blood glucose rises, insulin is released, and the body’s cells take in the glucose they need. All the extra glucose that is left is stored as fat. This whole process takes a couple of hours before it is winding up and preparing to switch over to fat-burning mode. But it is too late because it is now time for the next meal.
The next meal is eaten. Glucose enters the body again in another wave, forcing the release of more insulin. The cells of your body probably don’t need any more energy right now, so most of the glucose from that meal will probably get turned into fat. Some fat cells may take in some glucose to turn it into fat, but the liver will convert most of it. And then the fat gets stored. Once again, the whole process lasts for a couple of hours, and is winding up just in time for the next meal.
The lack of time in between meals keeps both the glucose and the insulin high. This means that the body has no time to use up the energy that it has already stored in the liver or the fat tissue. Instead, the constant presence of insulin forces the cells of the body to keep storing more, and more, and more.
This is the point that health problems really start to take hold. Becoming obese is one thing. The extra weight may or may not affect you, but there comes a point when having extra fat starts the process of sickness.
We all know it. ‘Fat’ and ‘sick’ always seem to go together. It is such a common connection that we always assume it to be true.
Gaining weight, however, is just the start of the troubles. It is a sign of something else going on behind the scenes. You may not have been eating the ‘6-meals-a-day’ routine, but you could be having multiple snacks, or just a general overconsumption of carbohydrate-filled foods. All these things keep insulin high.
When your body never gets to have that insulin down-time that it needs, the cells of your body begin to react differently – they start losing sensitivity to it. They start to ignore the presence of insulin, and one-by-one, the different types of cells become indifferent to its presence.
This has two devastating effects. One is that the cells begin to starve. Without insulin, there is no way for energy and nutrients to enter the cells. The second effect happens because the cells are not accepting food. As a result, the sugars and other particles continue to circulate with nowhere to go. This also means that there are a lot more particles to turn into fat. So, the liver turns it into fat, and the fat goes into storage somewhere.
This leads to a cascade of even more serious problems as we will see in a moment.
Excess Fat in Skinny People
Skinny people need to be just as mindful of their health, even if they find it impossible to add weight. Believe it or not, many thin people are so self-conscious of their ‘skinny-ness’ that they try all sorts of ways to add more weight on.
This is often a big mistake.
As a skinny guy, I also tried to add a few kilos of lean muscle mass by going to the gym. In fact, while I was at the gym, my weight didn’t change at all for a long time, because there was extra fat sitting inside of me that slowly disappeared while my muscle mass increased.
Have you ever heard of TOFI? It stands for Thin on the Outside, Fat on the Inside. Many skinny people are actually fat on the inside, but just don’t show it because fat does not build up anywhere else.
Inside-fat, also known as visceral fat, is the most dangerous type of fat. It is the type of fat that causes sickness, which means that skinny people are just as likely to develop acid reflux as those who are obese.
Many skinny people think that advice about weight does not apply to them. I am here to tell you differently. The health and weight information applies to you just as much as it applies to anyone with a weight that is greater than yours.
In fact, it may be more applicable. If you are skinny and you have already reached your fat capacity, then you need to take steps to deal with the problem. All the information that I am including about “obesity” applies just as much to you as anyone else!
The Answer to Obesity
You may be incredibly surprised to learn that the information I learned about fat and reflux came from a book about diabetes.
“Diabetes?” I hear you say. What about acid reflux? Why would someone like me be looking for information about acid reflux in a book about diabetes?
This is where things get interesting, because I first made the connection between diabetes and reflux through my own little discovery a few years earlier.
Most people are confused about the body. Why does the muscle at the top of the stomach (LES) become weak? Why does the stomach or the intestines slow down and not process food so quickly?
When people are looking for the greatest causes of reflux, they are normally looking at food ‘triggers’ and body weight, and nothing else about the disease makes any sense at all.
There is one enormous factor that nobody is taking about, and I think it is the single greatest cause of reflux disease on the planet. It causes most of the diseases that precede acid reflux, the diseases that accompany acid reflux disease, and it causes many of the complications that arise after reflux disease has taken hold.
It also contributes to weight gain. It is a beast that can keep a tight grip on your health and is involved with most of our modern diseases. If you can tame it, you can lower your inflammation and bring your weight back to its ideal level.
Let us look at what is probably the most important chapter in this book.
Testing for Inflammation
• See Appendix to chapter one for a list of possible tests
• Life Without Diabetes by Rod Taylor
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