People suffering from acid reflux or GERD often follow a diet low in acidic foods and drinks to avoid triggering or worsening unpleasant symptoms like heartburn. These diets can be challenging to design and maintain, as followers must know the acidity of common foods and how each affects their symptoms.
Everyone has different symptom triggers, and food that causes a severe heartburn attack in some may be easily tolerated by others.
Butter is among the most popular spreads globally, but can it trigger heartburn?
Although butter is only slightly acidic, it's very high in fat, which can cause digestive issues and worsen GERD or acid reflux.
Table of Contents
What Is the pH of Butter?
Butter has a pH of around 6.1-6.4, so it's a safe dietary addition for most on a low-acid diet.
However, it's nearly all fat, which digests slowly, stimulating gastric acid production, and has the tendency to relax the lower esophageal sphincter, causing the acid to escape into the esophagus and causing heartburn.
Is Butter Healthy?
A tablespoon of butter contains 7% of the recommended daily vitamin A intake, supporting your immune system and promoting healthy skin and eyes. Vitamin A is fat-soluble, so the fats in butter help with its absorption.
Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which some studies show can hinder the growth and development of breast, colon, stomach, prostate, and liver cancer. It may also aid in healthy weight loss and reduce inflammation.
It's also an excellent source of butyrate, which feeds good gut bacteria, reduces inflammation, and regulates the intracellular electrolyte balance. Butyrate may benefit those with irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease, boosting metabolism and aiding healthy weight loss.
Although nearly all fat, eating butter in moderation hasn't been linked to obesity.
However, salted butter contains a lot of sodium, which may raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke.
Is Butter Bad for Acid Reflux?
Although butter is only slightly acidic, it's nearly all fat, which may trigger heartburn in some acid reflux sufferers. Fat tends to stimulate gastric acid production, so eat butter with a good source of fiber, which soaks up stomach acid.
Is Cooking in Butter Better Than Oil on a Low-acid Diet?
Cooking with butter usually requires a large amount of it, which means increased fat intake.
Sunflower oil is alkaline, with a pH of around 7.38. It also contains some essential fatty acids and is lower in saturated fats than butter, so it's a great alternative if butter gives you heartburn.