To Your Good Health
Acidity of what person eats has little effect on ulcers
Dr. Keith Roach
Q #1: I have recurring stomach ulcers, so I have been researching acid-alkaline diets to resolve the problem. I am frustrated, as some research indicates that a given food is acidic while another source indicates that it is alkaline. How do I know which is correct?
A: Almost all ulcers are either caused by an infection with the bacteria Helicobacter pylori or considered a side effect of a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. The acidity or alkalinity of the food you eat has little, if any, effect on developing stomach ulcers.
The reason you see confusion about whether foods are alkaline or acidic has to do with what is being measured. Lemons, for example, are highly acidic; however, if you burn them, their ash residue is alkaline. Though interesting, this has no net effect on body pH — which is tightly regulated by multiple systems.
Q#1: This Querant asks how to tell the acid/base content of a given food when the experts seem to disagree. The answer doesn’t seem to remove the confusion, in my opinion. But this balance within the body has much to do with digestion and metabolism which has great deal to do with health. A problem lies in the differences between acid food and acid-forming foods. Acidic foods usually taste acidic (sour or tart) whereas acid-forming foods do not necessarily. An example could be meat and fish which are acid-forming foods. Milk is an alkalizing food, but milk products such as hard cheeses and cottage cheese are acid-forming.
Its true that our body has different mechanisms to maintain its pH balance to a level which allows our blood to remain between 7.3 and 7.5 which is slightly alkaline, normally. We have developed away from the eating habits of our distant ancestors who quite generally grazed and nibbled throughout the day (having little time to sit down to a meal) and what was available was berries, some plants and tiny insects and worms and the occasional small animal. And as it happens, that frequent ingestion of small amounts of food was healthful, satisfying and sustaining. Stuff changes. Come forward a few thousands of years and we now indulge huge (non-compatible) mixtures of foods that stuff us, but seldom nourish us properly. Our ancestors didn’t have our digestion problems as most do nowadays.
I have discussed “food-combining” and its extreme importance frequently. You see, foods which can’t DIGEST TOGETHER in the stomach go undigested to the intestinal track where it further putrefies, creating gases which we then ‘pass’ (‘farts’). They say everyone does it — not true, only those who don’t understand food-combining and what the body needs to work right. The ideal diet is around 80 to 90% base (alkalizing) and only about 10 to 20% acid-forming foods. Too much acid-forming foods makes digestion problematical — even if the foods ARE combined well. Furthermore, acidity sets the stage for almost ALL the quaint-sounding diseases which befall us.
What are these acid-forming foods? Often have a high calorie value; they are meat, fish, cheese, bread, cereals, nuts, leguminous vegetables, and fruit seeds and stones (pits).
Alkalizing foods include fruits, berries, non-leguminous vegetables (including gourds) potatoes and other root vegetables, milk and milk products like skimmed milk, yogurt and buttermilk.
Don’t combine protein with starches; vegetables go with anything; try to eat your fruits separately from every thing else, mixed up as in fruit salad, or by itself as a snack. Proteins combine well w/other proteins and fats which also includes avocado which is a primary ‘fat’ classification. (Beans and grains are or can be problematical).
If one learns some of these combinations and rules, many of ones digestive problems (even very serious ones) will go away. Drs Hay and Shelton back at the beginning of last century researched this subject and came up with food combining. It was never accepted nor understood by the larger medical community (so what else is new?) Many are showing intereest as science has delved deeper. I have an old Dr Wm. H Hay book, and a fantastic 2002 book called the Food Combining Bible by JAN DRIES and INGA DRIES which I had to refer to in response to this question. Highly recommend it. Check it out at the library.
Lastly, Dr Roach speaks of the querant’s ulcers and refers to Helicobacter Pylori as the possible cause. In the event that this intelligent way of eating doesn’t appeal to you. . .wanted to remind any who may want to know that Dr Hulda Clark’s book — the Cure For All Disease, has near the rear of the book all these many, many pages of so-called frequencies for almost any imaginable disease you can think of. These are to be used in conjunction with her vari-zapper and possibly other of her machines or equipment she designed. I have her Zapper which I love and have used for nearly 20 years, but it isn’t programmable to focus on a single disease, like Helicobacter pylori. Jan
Q #2: I was recently seen by a family practitioner after not having seen a doctor, except through urgent care, in 15 years. I have Type 2 diabetes, and my recent A1c reading was 7.2. My cholesterol readings, both good and bad, were average.
The doctor mentioned that as soon as I go on Medicare, in 60 days, she wants me to begin taking a statin drug. She indicates that this is “protocol” for diabetes (as a preventive therapy). The side effects of statin drugs seem too dangerous to consider this when my cholesterol levels are good. Heart disease (from my father) is in the family. Thoughts?
A: Statin drugs reduce the risk of heart attacks, and probably strokes, in people with a higher-than-average risk of such conditions. The higher the risk, the more beneficial the medications are.
The side effects, however, are just as likely, whatever your risk of vascular disease. Statin drugs aren’t recommended for those with a low risk, as the benefits are unlikely to outweigh the possible harms.
Many risk factors for heart disease exist. High cholesterol is one, but high blood pressure, smoking, family history and poor diet and exercise are also important risk factors.
Diabetes, both Type 1 and Type 2, increases the risk of heart disease, so it must be considered by your doctor when deciding to recommend a statin. The risk is determined largely by how long you have had diabetes and how well it has been controlled.
Several calculator tools are available to estimate an individual’s risk of heart attacks and death based on risk factors, although the most commonly used one has recently been shown to overestimate the risk.
In my opinion, the decision needs to be personalized, and protocols — however well-meaning and well-done — can’t be substituted for a judgment based on knowing the person along with his or her risks and fears.
Most people with long-standing diabetes have a high enough risk that a statin probably makes sense. Almost everyone with known coronary artery disease should be on a statin, even if the patient’s cholesterol levels are almost normal.
Dr. Roach answers letters only in his North America Syndicate column but provides an order form of available health newsletters. Write him at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475; orToYourGoodHealth@ med.cornell.edu.
Q#2: Sadly no mention of Diabetes correction or eradication by means of nutrition. It is unknown how long this person has had diabetes, but to not suggest the simplest and best choice without pharmaceuticals? Disturbing.
I’m not going to say what I really think about suggesting Statin therapy for this person. What if she was never going to have a heart problem down the road? Because her father had heart disease does not say she will! One doesn’t take this drug for a vague possibility. This person (fortunately) has done some thinking on his or her own. It is difficult to hear that you claim ‘statins’ are protective against heart disease and stroke (which is not in evidence). In fact, the opposite is true. The deleterious effect on the body is ironically cruel because taking statins reduce the body’s ability to generate its own Co Q-10 which is vitally needed to protect the heart (and almost everything else within the body). Guess what that does — it raises the risk factor for developing heart disease; I guess you could call that a self –fulfilling prophecy. Instead of depleting this vital substance, as we age, we need much more of it. Jan