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January 10, 2011 @ 1:28 am

Best ways to outsmart reflux

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One of the world’s leading authorities on reflux,  Dr. Jamie Koufman joined the show. Her new book Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure identifies the symptoms, the causes and the cure for the most misunderstood health crisis in decades.


Note: Refer to audio player below to listen to this episode.


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Dr. Jamie Koufman is the world’s leading authorities on reflux having lectured widely on the subject both nationally and internationally. Her new book  Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure identifies the symptoms, the causes and the cure for the most misunderstood health crisis in decades. Over the last three decades, she has pioneered some of the most revolutionary and groundbreaking research on the topic. She is the founder and director of the Voice Institute of New York, one of the premier comprehensive voice and reflux treatment centers in the United States, and Professor of Clinical Otolaryngology at New York Medical College. Dr. Koufman has been listed in Top Doctors in America every year since 1994.

Dr. Koufman has pioneered laryngeal framework surgery in the United States and was a founding member of the International Association of Phonosurgery. She has received the Honor Award and the Distinguished Service Awards of the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, as well as the Casselberry Award and a Presidential Citation from the American Laryngological Association.


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Edited Transcript of Interview with Dr. Jamie Koufman


Eric Michaels: Why did you write Dropping Acid: The Reflux Diet Cookbook & Cure?


Dr. Koufman: It was written for my patients and was realized because of a combination of friendship and common purpose.  I joined forces with Dr. Jordan Stern, founder and director of Blue Sleep, a comprehensive sleep apnea and snoring center, because we were being urged to write this book by our reflux and sleep apnea patients. French Master Chef Marc Bauer was interested in making his delicious cuisine assessable to those with reflux. With the book we knew we could reach and help the millions of people with reflux, many who are unaware they even have it...


Eric Michaels: What was the most surprising revelation for you in your researching the acid levels of the recipes for the book?
Dr. Koufman: Title 21, a law passed in the 70s that mandated that the Food and Drug Administration regulate food manufacturing to prevent bacterial growth in packaged food...


Eric Michaels: What is Title 21?
Dr. Koufman: While reflux may be related to obesity, an unhealthy diet, or genetics, the dramatically increased prevalence of reflux, particularly among the young, is due to too much acid in the American diet. Acidification (adding acid) has long been used as a means to preserve food, but it wasn’t until the 1970s, when Congress passed Title 21, that almost overnight, nearly everyone in America was eating a highly acidified diet.  Now, three decades later, we are beginning to see the public health consequences of this highly acidified diet: more than 100 million Americans, including young Americans, have acid reflux.


Eric Michaels: What are the best ways to outsmart reflux?
Dr. Koufman: Here are five ways to outsmart acid reflux:

  • Get Tested!: Incredibly, over 100 million Americans have acid reflux but even more surprisingly, nearly half of them don’t even know it.  The first thing to know is whether or not you’re affected.
  • Know the Difference Between LPR and GERD:  Everyone is familiar with the commonly known GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) that is associated with heartburn and indigestion, especially after eating greasy foods; but hardly anyone is aware of laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR). Also known as “silent reflux,” LPR counts hoarseness, chronic cough, choking episodes, trouble swallowing, lump in the throat, and post-nasal drip as its most common symptoms. LPR can occur during the day or night, and people with LPR do not usually have heartburn.
  • Know the Good Foods: Whole-grain bread, ginger, aloe vera, oatmeal, salad, bananas, melons, chicken, fish, turkey, fennel, celery, parsley, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, green beans, couscous and brown rice are all examples of great foods for people with GERD or LPR.
  • Know the Bad Foods: Chocolate, soda, alcohol, fatty meats, fried foods, high-fat dairy products, caffeine, hot sauce/hot peppers, citrus fruits and juices are among the most problematic. Alcohol, chocolate and carbonated beverages can be especially hazardous, because they are consumed so regularly, and by so many.
  • Timing is Everything – When you eat can be just as important as what you eat.  People with reflux should have a general rule of thumb: anytime after 8pm the kitchen is closed!  No meals, no snacks, no beverages. For the refluxer, late night eating should be avoided!


Eric Michaels: What should you do if you suspect you have acid reflux?
Dr. Koufman: Tell your doctor what your symptoms are and if you suspect that you have “silent” (LPR) reflux, you may want to consult an ear, nose, and throat doctor as they are more familiar with the problems of voice and swallowing than any other specialty. If you have had any reflux symptoms for more than a few years, you should have an examination of your throat and esophagus (an awake endoscopy or transnasal esophagoscopy) to rule out cancer or precancer.


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