Bread is a critically important food staple globally and is an excellent source of carbohydrates, which your body easily converts into energy. It's easy to produce, usually inexpensive, and many cuisines have specialty breads ranging from flatbreads like pita to large, knotted loaves covered in seeds. Brown and wholemeal breads can be surprisingly nutritious, containing essential vitamins, minerals, and a good amount of dietary fiber.
However, modern diets full of highly processed foods have led to an increasing number of people suffering from acid reflux and GERD. The primary symptom of both is heartburn, a burning sensation in the middle of the chest that is always unpleasant and can be debilitating for some. To avoid triggering their heartburn, many acid reflux and GERD sufferers follow a diet low in acidic foods. These diets can be tricky, as followers must know the acidity of common foods and how each affects their symptoms.
Everyone's symptom triggers are different, and what may be benign for some people may cause severe heartburn in others. Some acid reflux and GERD sufferers report that eating too much bread gives them heartburn. But why is this so?
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Why Does Bread Cause Heartburn?
Likewise, most bread contains gluten, a protein that also digests slowly.
What Is the pH of Bread?
Most types of bread are slightly acidic, with pH levels ranging from 5.00 to 6.53. However, they're also acid-forming, meaning they stimulate the production of stomach acids, potentially triggering heartburn.
However, some types of bread, particularly whole-grain, contain fiber, which soaks up excess stomach acid. Whole-grain bread is also more nutritious than white, so they are a better choice for all, not just those with stomach issues.
Is Bread Healthy?
Fiber also keeps you feeling full longer after eating, aiding healthy weight control. Studies show that weight gain can lead to severe acid reflux.
White bread is also high in gluten, which is difficult to digest and can trigger acid reflux symptoms. For those with celiac disease, gluten damages their intestines and hampers nutrient absorption.
Some bread may contain antinutrients, which reduce your body's ability to absorb nutrients.
White bread contains a compound that prevents iron, zinc, magnesium, and calcium absorption.
One slice of white bread contains around 67 calories, mostly from carbohydrates like starch, which is difficult to digest.
Can You Make Bread Easier on Your Digestive System?
Which Breads Don't Cause Heartburn?
Whole-grain bread is more nutritious, containing selenium, thiamin, manganese, magnesium, and niacin.
These nutrients help protect your digestive system from damage and inflammation, reducing the likelihood of triggering heartburn.
Homemade bread is an excellent alternative to overly processed store-bought bread, as you can use the healthiest, least-acidic ingredients and avoid adding anything that triggers your heartburn.
Here's the bread maker I'm using. It takes up a minimal amount of space in the kitchen and is extremely easy to use.