Binge Eating and Mindless Snacks Munching Gives Acid Reflux by Dr Ruchit Patel, Consultant Gastroenterologist, Wockhardt Hospital, SoBo

Dr. Ruchit
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Do you tend to binge eat or keep munching on your favourite snack, mindlessly? Then, you are doing it all wrong as it can take a toll on your health and invite acidity. Yes, you have heard it right. Adopt lifestyle changes such as healthy eating, exercising regularly, and avoid eat acidic, sugar, processed, oil, and spicy foods.

Binge eating is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame or guilt afterwards. It means a lack of control over eating during the episode (e.g., a feeling that one cannot stop eating or control what or how much one is eating). Eating much more rapidly than normal. Eating until feeling uncomfortably full or one may also eat large amounts of food when not feeling physically hungry. Likewise, munching on your favourite snack mindlessly is a strict no as it can lead to acid reflux.

Acid reflux occurs when one’s lower oesophagal sphincter (LES) doesn’t work correctly. The LES can be described as a ring of muscles between one’s stomach and the oesophagus. During the normal digestion process, it tends to open up to let food pass into the stomach, and closes to keep stomach acid out of the oesophagus. Thus, if the LES is weak or relaxes then acid can flow back into the oesophagus causing irritation, whereas, heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux. When acid makes its way into one’s oesophagus, the cell lining becomes irritated and pains. The symptoms of acid reflux are heartburn abdominal pain, sore throat, bloating, upset stomach, nausea, difficulty in swallowing, and an acidic taste in the back of the throat. Thus, one will have to practice mindful eating.

This is how you can stop binging and mindless eating and get rid of acidity

• Eat only to satisfy our hunger and not our greed. Incorporate fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains on your plate. Drink plenty of water to beat your cravings. Eat fibre-rich foods such as beans, pulses, and nuts that can help you curb your appetite.
• Avoid eating out of boredom or loneliness. Write down about the foods you eat, how you feel? And what are your emotional mood triggers? Do not buy or store junk food, especially right now when we are home, its best to have no access to unhealthy food.
• Sleeping and waking up on a regular time helps to build a better control over your emotions and thus helps to control your urges to eat. Moreover, sleep tends to impact hunger levels and appetite. Thus, insufficient sleep can be tied to binge eating. So, if you find it difficult to get into the slumberland then you must stay away from things that steal your sleep (like watching TV before sleeping, using electronic gadgets or drinking caffeinated beverages).
• Stay physically active and exercise on the daily basis. opt for swimming, dancing, yoga, running, aerobics or jogging or any other activity that you like.
• Plan your meals and make sure you incorporate healthy ingredients. Pay attention to your portion size, and avoid going overboard. Try to stick to a healthy meal pattern. This will enhance your eating habits and diet.
• Avoid laying down soon after eating, not to eat before hitting the sack, do not overeat, avoid mint, do not opt for large meals instead, eat smaller ones and frequently.
• Bid adieu to spicy, acidic and citrus foods that aggravate acidity.
• Say no to alcohol and smoking, and maintain a good posture and weight.
• Do not drink onion juice or tomato juice or even eat raw onion.
• Do not eat acidic foods, sugar, processed, oil and spicy foods. Avoid eating late at night, limit your alcohol consumption and cut down on smoking.