Modern lifestyles and diets have led to an increasing number of people suffering from acid reflux and GERD. These people often follow a diet limiting their intake of acidic foods to avoid triggering unpleasant symptoms like heartburn.
A low-acid diet can be challenging to design and follow, as many common foods are acidic, and sufferers must know how each affects their symptoms. Fast and processed foods are particularly likely to trigger symptoms, but many fresh, otherwise healthy foods can also.
Everyone loves the occasional sweet treat, and ice cream is among the most popular. Can people suffering from acid reflux safely enjoy an ice cream on a hot day?
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Is Ice Cream Acidic or Alkaline?
Ice cream is slightly acidic, meaning it may trigger symptoms in some people with acid reflux or GERD. It's also high in sugar, which is hard to digest and may stimulate gastric acid production.
What Is the pH of Ice Cream?
Ice cream has a pH of between 5.82 and 6.62, depending on added flavors and other ingredients. Although this is only slightly acidic, ice cream is acid-forming, so it can trigger or worsen symptoms.
Sorbets and citrus-flavored ice creams are among the most acidic, with pH levels between 3.2 and 4.1. However, sorbets are lower in fat than regular ice cream.
Is Ice Cream Good for You?
Ice cream is low in nutrients but high in calories, which can cause indigestion. Half a cup of vanilla ice cream contains approximately 137 calories but almost no protein or other nutrients.
Ice cream is high in saturated fats, and most types are full of artificial flavorings and other additives; some research indicates that these may negatively impact the development and behavior of children.
Limiting your intake of sugary foods can improve your digestive health and lower your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Is Ice Cream Bad for Acid Reflux?
Ice cream is acid-forming and high in fat, so it's likely to trigger symptoms in some sufferers of acid reflux or GERD.
Eating too much ice cream could also raise bad cholesterol levels, increasing your risk of cardiovascular disease.
The processed sugars in ice cream can spike your blood sugar levels and increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Is Vegan Ice Cream Less Acidic Than Dairy Ice Cream?
Like dairy ice cream, vegan ice cream is slightly acidic and may trigger acid reflux symptoms. Nutritionally, it's also similar to dairy ice cream but is lactose-free.
Although ice cream is slightly acidic and acid-forming, many people on a low-acid diet should be able to tolerate a small portion as an occasional treat.