Ask Dr. Etingin: Lipozene Facts; Resolving GERD Naturally

Q: Is Lipozene a fad or does it really help with weight loss?

A: Any weight loss aid that says it works without dietary changes or exercise should be suspect. Lipozene’s main ingredient is glucomannan, a water-soluble fiber. This means it absorbs water in your system. Foods that contain soluble fiber expand in your stomach and keep you satiated longer. They also aid in digestion and waste removal. Healthy foods that contain soluble fiber include oatmeal, fruits, and legumes.

However, too much soluble fiber may remove more than it should and can leave you dehydrated. If you’re adding water-soluble supplements such as Lipozene to your diet, this could be a problem, and you may have to drink more than your daily allowance of eight to 10 8-ounce glasses of water. A lack of hydration also can cause constipation. And in some people, glucomannan has been known to present other digestive symptoms, such as gas, abdominal pain, and diarrhea.

The best way to lose weight is to eliminate salt, sugar, and starchy foods from your diet. Stick to a diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, low-fat dairy, and adequate hydration. Then add to that some moderate exercise of 30 minutes a day five days a week (150 minutes total) and you should lose weight gradually (1 to 2 pounds a week). Note that achieving a healthy weight is a long-term plan, not a short-term strategy, so any healthy changes you make should be integrated into your permanent dietary plan.

Q: Are there any foods that can help relieve heartburn or GERD naturally?

A: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is caused by a problem with the lower esophageal sphincter, resulting in the backwashing of stomach acid into the esophagus. The opposite of acid is “alkaline,” so high-alkaline foods can help absorb and balance the acid in your stomach. High-alkaline foods include bananas, melons, oatmeal, yogurt, fermented foods, and green vegetables. Bananas and apples also contain a natural antacid.

A soothing tea such as ginger or chamomile, aloe juice, or a pinch of baking soda added to your water also can help adjust the pH balance between acidity and alkaline. Even plain water helps dilute the acid in your stomach and flush it from your esophagus. Drinking hot water seems to work for some people as well.

Other methods that may help reduce symptoms are sleeping on a slight incline with your head elevated about eight inches, and wearing loose-fitting clothes. Losing weight also is key, as acid reflux can worsen with obesity.

To reduce or eliminate GERD symptoms, don’t smoke, drink, overeat, or eat after 7 p.m., and don’t lie down for at least an hour after a meal. Also, stay away from spicy foods, soda, caffeine, and chocolate. These can make it worse.

GERD triggers are not the same for everyone, so if something bothers you that is not on this list, try removing it from your diet and then evaluating how you feel.

—Editor-in-Chief Orli R. Etingin, MD

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