Researchers believe you are more likely to suffer from heartburn if you carry excess weight, even if you’re the thinnest person you know.
New research shows that gaining a few pounds can increase your risk of heartburn, even if you have a healthy BMI (body mass index).
A recent study offers somewhat reassuring news: If you lose excess weight, you may only need to change a few habits to relieve heartburn.
You might be able to keep topping your pizza with those hot pepper flakes!
What is Heartburn?
Heartburn, a burning, painful sensation around the middle of the chest, affects roughly 60% of the population at some point each year.
The backward flow of acid-filled stomach juices causes discomfort. The lower esophageal sphincter is to blame for the problem.
A relaxed muscular ring can’t keep stomach acid in its place when it isn’t working correctly.
Heartburn is more than just discomfort. If severe or persistent, the condition can progress to more serious conditions such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
It increases your chances of getting esophageal cancer or ulcers.
Risk of heartburn with overweight
Despite the availability of medications to treat heartburn, lifestyle changes are likely to be recommended first. It is where weight plays a role.
If you have extra body fat, you are more likely to suffer from heartburn.
A theory says that excess fat around your belly causes increased pressure against your stomach, causing fluid to rise.
According to experts, women and men with obesity have a higher risk of heartburn than those with normal weights.
Even if your BMI remains within the normal range, gaining a small amount of weight can increase your heartburn risk.
Weight loss, heartburn relief
According to a study, elevating the head of the bed and shedding weight are the most effective lifestyle interventions for treating heartburn.
Stanford University School of Medicine’s Lauren Gerson, MD, MSc, and her colleagues analyzed 16 clinical trials that examined the impact of lifestyle changes on heartburn, including:
- Weight loss.
- Heartburn-causing foods and drinks should be avoided.
- Sleeping in a different position.
- Avoid eating late at night.
- Avoid smoking.
It’s all about losing weight and elevating your head off the bed. It was unclear whether changing the other habits improved heartburn and acid levels in the esophagus.
The study was prompted by patients referring to Gerson who complained that their heartburn symptoms didn’t improve despite eating bland foods.
Diets were very limited, and heartburn did not improve because people were upset.
The doctor advises patients to avoid spicy foods and certain beverages to trigger heartburn. If bland diets don’t help those with heartburn, she offers a simple two-step solution:
- Lose weight.
- Elevate the bedhead.
As Gerson says, “Obesity is one of the main risk factors for heartburn.”. You may want to start exercising and losing weight if your heartburn doesn’t improve despite lifestyle changes.
Heartburn and Weight Loss Plans
It would be best to choose a heart-healthy diet that is low in calories and easy to follow. Heartburn can be treated with a heart-healthy diet.
According to a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, it doesn’t matter whether the diet is high in fat, carbohydrates, or low in protein.
When Frank Sacks, MD, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health, compared four different diets varied in nutrient composition, he found no difference in weight loss.
Setting daily calorie consumption based on your age, activity level, gender, and weight loss goals is crucial.
The achievement should be no lower than 1,200 calories, and more than 2,400 calories for 1-2 pounds of weight shed each week.
Don’t forget that physical activity can decrease your stress levels and help you lose weight, so try to exercise for half an hour daily. Activities like gardening and house cleaning count as exercise.
Tips for reducing heartburn
Regardless of which diet plan you choose, these tips can help you ease heartburn while losing weight.
- It would help if you avoided a few drinks and foods that trigger your heartburn when losing weight, such as coffee, tomatoes, and spicy foods. It may be possible to eat some of those foods after you’ve lost weight, but you should avoid them at first. When you’ve reached your weight goal, gradually reintroduce them to your diet one at a time.
- Don’t consume fried foods, alcohol, or chocolate. All of these can cause heartburn. You can lower your calorie intake without compromising your nutrition if you avoid these foods.
- Spread out your calories over several small meals during the day. It will help you avoid overeating and minimize abdominal pressure. Maintain small portions and avoid overfilling your stomach if you prefer three square meals per day.
- Don’t eat late at night. Have your last meal several hours before you go to bed. Take your last meal at a leisurely pace.
1. Does being overweight contribute to acid reflux?
GERD is most commonly caused by being overweight. Fat people are three times more likely to develop acid reflux than normal-weight people. Your weight increases abdominal pressure.
When excess fat is around your belly, the stomach is squeezed, and more fluid travels upward into your esophagus. If you are suffering from this condition, you may experience acid reflux.
Furthermore, the increased pressure also causes the sphincter separating the stomach from the esophagus to relax, enabling stomach acid to enter.
You will also have a more difficult time emptying your stomach contents if you are overweight.
2. Can losing weight cure GERD?
Weight loss and relief from heartburn are benefits of a heart-healthy diet. Calorie density and portion sizes should be considered.
Don’t overeat, but don’t feel stuffed either. So long as you experience heartburn symptoms, follow smart habits to keep symptoms at bay.
Avoid heartburn-triggering foods, such as tomatoes, coffee, and spicy or fried foods.
3. Is heartburn a side effect of weight gain?
Yes, being overweight can lead to several health problems such as heart disease, depression, fatigue, and chronic diseases. Heartburn is another result of excess weight.
You can maintain a healthy weight by understanding the connection between excess pounds and acid reflux. Your heartburn will be relieved.