With alkaline diets being prevalent and common now, people tend to stay away from acidic foods, and even go as far as eliminating it from their diets.
But you should know that “foods with acidic pH and acid-forming foods” are two different concepts. Acid-forming foods are those diets that increase the formation of acidity levels in your body, and not all foods that have acidic pH promote acidity in your body.
It may sound a bit confusing, but in this article, we would be outlining the differences, and why you should avoid some of these foods.
Foods with Acidic pH
We have already stated that some foods have acidic pH, but they do not create an acidic environment in your body. For instance, there are tomatoes and citrus fruits, both of which have acidic pH but they do not form acids in your body,
However, those who are diagnosed with “gastroesophageal reflux disease” which is characterized by heartburn should avoid these foods. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can be treated through implementing changes into your diets and taking certain medications.
There are specific foods that have acidic pH and can sometimes increase the symptoms of GERD, hence why it has to be avoided by people who have the condition.
Here is a list of foods that have acidic pH:
- Tomato-Based Products
Tomato sauce and salsa are the most common causes of reflux symptoms in the body. The NIH has recommended that those who are diagnosed with GERD are expected to reduce their intake or if possible, stop their intake of tomato-based products, as it would only heighten and worsen their condition.
However, people who have GERD have a higher tolerance for raw tomatoes than canned/processed tomato products. And this can be because canned tomato products such as ketchup and tomato sauce have more acidic pH than raw tomatoes.
But, tomatoes are very nutritious and a source of lycopene, so unless they cause or worsen reflux symptoms in your body, they shouldn’t be eliminated from your diet.
- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits such as lemons and oranges have acidic pH, and they intensify GERD symptoms. These foods are considered “Reflexogenic” because they cause or worsen reflux symptoms. Because of this, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends that those who have GERD drastically cut down their citrus intake.
However, you are not expected to reduce your intake of citrus fruits if it doesn’t worsen your reflux intake, because citrus fruits pack a punch when it comes to nutrients and health benefits.
Acid Forming Foods
You probably are aware of the fact that alkaline diets promote a non-acidic
environment in your body, so it makes sense if you want to reduce your intake of acid-forming foods.
Your body has a blood pH level of 7.4, making it basic, and this pH is controlled through breathing and urination.
However, the pH level is not the same in all parts of your body. For instance, your stomach has a pH level of 1.35-3.5 to enable it to break down what you consume. Regardless of the pH of your body been tightly regulated, the pH of your urine is altered when your body needs to balance its pH in correlation to what you eat.
Dietary Acid Loads
Generally, foods that contain high dietary acid loads include soft drinks, meat, and processed grains. On the other hand, vegetables and fruits are alkaline because they have low dietary acid loads.
Diets that are low in dietary acids can promote heart health and kidney health, while those that are high in dietary acids can have the opposite effect.
Furthermore, high dietary acid loads have been linked to obesity, and high blood sugar levels; so, it’s a wise decision to limit your intake of foods with high PRALs.
- Processed Grains
Western diets are very high in refined grain products such as fast food and white bread, and all of these have high dietary loads, which is not good for your body.
Replacing these foods with vegetables and fruits would help you lower your dietary acid load.
- Soft Drinks
Soft drinks are packed with phosphoric acids, and this is one of the key culprits of high dietary acid loads. Excess consumption of absorbable phosphoric acid has been associated with adverse health problems.
Also, excessive soda intake has been linked to kidney damage, prediabetes, and a decrease in bone mineral density.
- Red Meat
Red meat is also a major acid-forming food because it is high in protein and phosphorus. Excessive intake can lead to high dietary acid loads and can cause severe damages to your health.