Modern diets and lifestyles have led to a rise in the number of people suffering from acid reflux, GERD, and associated symptoms. Heartburn is the most common symptom, which is always unpleasant and can be debilitating for some sufferers.
Many follow a diet low in acidic foods and drinks to avoid triggering their heartburn. These can be challenging diets to design and maintain, as many foods are acidic and some are acid-forming, making them more likely to trigger symptoms.
Cereals, especially whole-grain, are healthy, delicious breakfasts. But can those on low-acid diets safely enjoy a bowl?
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Are Cereals Acidic or Alkaline?
Cereals are only slightly acidic but acid-forming and may trigger or worsen acid reflux and GERD symptoms.
However, everyone's symptom triggers are different, and some may be able to tolerate breakfast cereals better than others.
What Is the pH of Cereal?
Cereal has a pH between 5.59 and 6.45, making it slightly acidic. However, as it's acid-forming, eating too much cereal, especially sugary, may trigger your symptoms.
Sugary cereal may stimulate stomach acid production, making acid reflux more likely.
Is Cereal Good for You?
A cup of breakfast cereal contains around 300 calories but up to 30% of the recommended daily fiber intake. Fiber soaks up excess stomach acid, making acid reflux less likely.
Many cereals are fortified with vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins that help prevent infection, support cell and tissue health, and contribute to brain function and energy levels.
Eating your cereal with Greek yogurt adds protein, which keeps you feeling full.
Cereal labeling is often misleading, so read the ingredients list carefully to judge if something is really "whole-grain" or "low-fat."
Can You Eat Cereal with Acid Reflux?
Cereal is acid-forming and likely to trigger acid reflux symptoms in some people.
Which Cereal Is Best for Acid Reflux?
Cereals that don't contain large amounts of added sugar are best, as sugar stimulates gastric acid production. Those high in fiber are great, too, as it soaks up excess stomach acid.
Natural, whole-grain cereals are healthier and more nutritious than artificially flavored, highly processed ones. Mixing all-bran with some low-acid fruits is a delicious, stomach-friendly breakfast.