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Rethinking Reflux

Eliminating Reflux, One Belly at a Time

Welcome to Rethinking Reflux. My goal is to provide a new way to control reflux and Gerd, with a sustainable diet and no medication. This diet is not your typical low acid, low fat, no caffeine diet. This simple approach has cured my reflux of 20 years! Please browse the site to discover if this will work for you.

Membeli Makanan
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My Story

I suffered with Gerd for 20+ years. My doctors ordered procedures and tests; all were inconclusive. I stuck to a typical reflux friendly diet. I eliminated acidic foods, fatty foods, caffeine and alcohol. I took acid reducers and PPIs everyday. I didn't eat before bed. I slept on 2 pillows. This helped a bit, but I consistently had flare ups. Sometimes I didn't feel well, other times I cancelled plans to stay home and once I ended up in the ER.

After 20 years I was tired of hearing the same advice that didn't work. I decided to try something new. My new diet was considered healthy and safe by my dietician and doctors, but no one thought it would help reflux. They were so wrong. My reflux disappeared. Since October 2022 I'm off all reflux medications and have no reflux symptoms. 

My diet consists of eating any types of food I want, as long as there are no food additives with inorganic phosphates. Inorganic phosphates are used widely in the US in processed foods and baked goods. They are used both as a preservative and a rising agent, like baking powder. As long I stay away from inorganic phosphates, I have no reflux symptoms. I can eat tomato sauce and drink orange juice again.

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Rethinking Reflux Diet

This diet requires giving up certain food additives that cause reflux.
If you stop eating these additives, your reflux will disappear within one week.

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Rethinking Reflux Diet tl;dr

The rules of the diet are simple. Avoid eating all added phosphates. Read ingredients labels and ensure the foods you're eating don't contain the word "phosphate" or "phosphoric". Examples include:

  • sodium phosphate

  • monocalcium phosphate

  • tripotassium phosphate

  • dimagnesium phosphate

  • calcium phosphate

  • phosphoric acid

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What types of food contain these additives?

​Inorganic phosphates are added to foods for two purposes: preservatives and rising agents.

Preservatives are used to keep food fresh longer. Foods that contain preservatives include fast food, some sliced breads, and most processed foods found in the middle aisles of the grocery store.

Rising agents act by adding gas into the mixture to give cakes and bread lightness. All store bought baking powder contains inorganic phosphates. Baking powder is used in cakes, cupcakes, pancakes and waffles. It's sometimes used in cookies, brownies and sliced bread.​

Check the following foods for "phosphate" ingredients before eating:

  • Processed foods, cereals and bars found in center aisles of a grocery store

  • Sliced bread

  • Deli meat

  • Frozen and fresh breakfast foods like pancakes, waffles and breakfast sandwiches

  • Premade frozen foods and french fries

  • Donuts. Donuts contain yeast, but usually have other rising agents as well.

  • Fast food

  • Soft serve ice cream

  • Sugary sodas

  • Cakes, cupcakes and cookies

Not all of these foods will contain phosphates! Sometimes one brand will be OK and another will contain phosphates. There is almost always another brand or a substitute that will be on the diet.

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I don't want to give up cake!

You don't have to! While stores and bakeries usually use a rising agent with phosphates, you can bake the cake at home and use an alternative rising agent! It's the same for pancakes and waffles. There are many substitutes for baking powder. The simplest is a mix of baking soda and cream of tartar. Cream of tartar can be found in the spice aisle and is naturally non-dairy. For pancakes you can use buttermilk as a rising agent. And who doesn't love buttermilk pancakes. Contact me for recipes and tips!

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Everything you want to know, and more.

Will this work for me?

Do you have reflux flare ups that seem unrelated to your diet? Do acid blockers and PPIs work sometimes, but not all the time? Have you been told by your doctors to limit acidic foods, fatty foods, alcohol and caffeine, but it only works sometimes? If so, the Rethinking Reflux diet is for you.

What is the Rethinking Reflux diet?

Removing certain food additives found in processed foods and baked goods will make your reflux symptoms disappear. After you get your reflux under control, slowly reintroduce your favorite acidic foods, and enjoy the feeling of not having heartburn.

How did you figure this out?

After suffering with reflux for 20 years, I decided to try something new. I gave up all processed foods and all other GRAS (generally recognized as safe) food additives. In 5 days my reflux disappeared. I added the additives back in my diet one at a time until I figured out the root cause. Check my blog post for the whole story!

Will I lose weight on this diet?

Maybe. But this is not a weight loss diet. With Rethinking Reflux you can eat 3 meals of veggies or 3 meals of cookies and ice cream. The only restriction is to ensure the ingredients of each food are on the diet. I actually gained 5lbs on this diet, but for me that was a good thing. I was always too skinny when my reflux acted up.

Aren't phosphates good for you?

Phosphorus is part of our bones, teeth, DNA and RNA. Many foods naturally contain phosphorus including dairy and meat. This diet eliminates added inorganic phosphates, which are used in food as preservatives and rising agents.

What are the downsides?

It's a bit of upfront work to read food labels to ensure the foods you're eating are on the diet. But once you get used to it, it's simple. And any dietician will tell you eliminating processed foods is always considered healthier.

Do I need take to medications?

Once you get your reflux under control with this diet work with your doctor to wean off your acid blockers and PPIs. When you stick to the diet you shouldn't need any reflux medications.

Can I eat gluten on this diet?

If you're not allergic, yes! Do check the food label to ensure that the product doesn't contain added phosphates. Some sliced bread contains monocalcium phosphate either as preservatives or rising agents. And most store bought baked goods contains added phosphates as well.

Do I have to check labels if I shop at Whole Foods?

Yes, you need to check labels. The USDA labels some inorganic compounds, like monocalcium phosphate, as organic. Whole Foods is stricter and doesn't allow added phosphates when used as preservatives. But Whole Foods does allow added phosphates as rising agents. For example Whole Foods branded baking powder contains monocalcium phosphate.

Will added phosphates always be listed on the ingredient labels?

Unfortunately, no, not in the US. Raw chicken can be injected with salts, sometimes containing inorganic phosphates. This is done to retain moisture and flavor. Since there's no requirement to list this information on the package, I look for raw chicken packages that say "no added salts". Dairy products can also contain added phosphates not listed on package. See my blog post for more info.

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Tell me your story!

Want to try the diet but not sure where to start?
Have a question not answered here?
Did you try the diet and want to tell me about it?
Contact me! I can talk about reflux and phosphates all day. All my friends and family will concur :)

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