Acidic Foods to Avoid

Eating acidic foods can lead to acid reflux, bloating, and indigestion. These are all uncomfortable symptoms that can make you feel sick. This article will help you identify which foods are the worst offenders and offer healthier alternatives. These foods should be limited or avoided altogether.


The alkaline diet has lately gained popularity, with celebrities and health experts promoting the advantages of eliminating acidic items from your diet.

As part of an acid reflux diet, studies indicate that reducing your consumption of acidic foods may help increase bone health, decrease chronic pain, enhance hormone levels, and relieve acid reflux.

Following a balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense, unprocessed foods while limiting your consumption of a few of the most acidic meals may help you go on the road to better health.

What Are Acidic Foods?

The pH level in your body is carefully controlled. On a scale of 0 to 14, this is a measurement of acidity and alkalinity in the body’s fluids and tissues.

A lower pH value is regarded as more acidic, whereas a higher pH value is considered more alkaline. A slightly alkaline pH of 7.35–7.45 is regarded as optimum for human health, whereas a pH of 7 is neutral.

Even slight variations in your body’s pH may have a significant effect on your health. For example, confusion, muscular twitching, and nausea are common symptoms of alkalosis, whereas tiredness, shallow breathing, and headaches are common symptoms of acidosis.

Fortunately, your kidneys perform most of the effort in maintaining electrolyte balance and excreting/reabsorbing acidic and alkaline ions via urine. A diet rich in alkaline foods, on the other hand, may have certain health advantages.

Limiting your acidic food consumption may help you maintain bone health, avoid kidney stones, and possibly alleviate acid reflux symptoms.

Limit or avoid acidic foods

Here’s a short rundown of the top 25 most acidic meals to stay away from. These foods are acid-forming, and their consumption should be limited as part of a healthy diet:

  1. Meals prepared quickly
  2. Alcohol
  3. Milk
  4. Caffeinated beverages
  5. Cereals that have been processed
  6. Pizza
  7. Sweeteners made from artificial sources
  8. Peanuts
  9. Cheese
  10. Pasta
  11. Rice
  12. Bread
  13. Products made from wheat
  14. Butter
  15. Shaved ice
  16. Vegetable oils that have been refined
  17. Fries à la française
  18. Chocolate in a cup
  19. Red meat
  20. Beverages for athletes
  21. Sugar (table)
  22. Corn syrup is a sweetener made from corn
  23. Pancakes
  24. Foods that have been fried
  25. Soda

Keep in mind that not all acidic foods should be entirely removed from your diet. Some of the acidic foods list items are high in nutrients and may be incorporated into a balanced diet in moderation.

Meat, for example, is regarded to have high acidity, but it also contains many essential vitamins and minerals. They may also assist you in meeting your daily protein requirements, which will benefit your cells and muscles.

Walnut nutrition is similarly high in acidity, but it is abundant in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, which may help to decrease inflammation and improve health. Oats, eggs, whole grains, and citrus fruits like lemons, limes, and oranges are among the other healthful foods in this category.

The trick is to eat these acidic foods as part of a balanced, whole-food diet that includes many low-acid fruits, vegetables, and plant-based proteins.

Foods that are acidic vs. alkaline

So, how does one come up with a list of acidic and alkaline food groups?

When you consume, the calories and nutrients in your meal are removed and digested, leaving an ash residue behind. The ash residue determines the pH, which categorizes it as acid-forming or alkalinizing.

Animal proteins, such as meats, eggs, poultry, fish, and milk products, as well as grains and alcoholic drinks, are acid-forming foods. Meanwhile, alkalinizing, or non-acidic, meals include fruits, vegetables, and plant-based protein sources.

Dangers and Side Effects

There are a variety of reasons why you may wish to limit your acidic food intake. However, here are a few of the most common side effects to think about.

1. Bone Density Is Low

According to some studies, a diet heavy in acid-forming foods may increase the quantity of calcium excreted in the urine, resulting in a decrease in bone density and an increased risk of osteoporosis.

The acidic diet raised the quantity of calcium expelled via the urine by 74%, according to research published in the journal Osteoporosis International from Switzerland. Another study found that males who ate a low-calcium diet and a diet rich in acidic foods had reduced bone mineral density.

Milk has a somewhat acidic pH, but there are plenty of other calcium-rich foods to choose from to keep your bones and teeth in good shape. Kale, broccoli, and spinach are examples of calcium-rich non-dairy vegetables.

2. Make Acid Reflux Worse

Acid reflux, commonly known as GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease, occurs when acid from the stomach runs back up into the esophagus, producing symptoms such as heartburn and chest discomfort.

The esophagus contains a ring of muscles called sphincters that shut to prevent backflow and keep acid in the stomach when it’s functioning correctly. With GERD, however, these esophageal sphincters are often weakened or damaged, making them unable to work properly.

Acid reflux is caused by the relaxation of the esophageal sphincter, which allows acid to splash up. Acid reflux is often triggered by caffeinated beverages, alcohol, and high-fat meals.

Meanwhile, alkaline meals like vegetables and non-citrus fruits are thought to lower stomach acid, assisting with symptoms. Acid reflux may also be relieved by adjusting your blood pH to counteract stomach acid, eating smaller meals, and adopting healthy lifestyle adjustments.

3. Kidney Stones 

The items you consume may have a significant impact on the pH of your blood and urine. For example, when you consume more acidic meals, your blood and urine pH are more likely to be acidic.

Eating a lot of non-acidic meals, on the other hand, will result in a higher alkaline pH.

When your urine has an acidic pH, you’re more likely to produce uric acid or cystine kidney stones, which are tiny mineral deposits that grow in your kidneys and must be surgically removed or passed via your urinary system.

Limiting your consumption of acidic meals, such as animal proteins and fizzy drinks, may help you avoid kidney stones.

Additionally, increasing your water consumption, lowering your salt intake, and avoiding foods high in oxalate, an antinutrient that may lead to the development of kidney stones, can all help reduce your risk.

4. Assist in the development of chronic pain

Chronic pain may be exacerbated by acidic meals that promote inflammation. Acidosis has been related to muscular spasms, headaches, and persistent back discomfort, among other symptoms.

In a German research, alkaline minerals were given to 82 people who had persistent back pain. As a result, symptoms were decreased in 92 percent of individuals after four weeks.

A whole-foods, plant-based diet, similar to the alkaline diet, has been shown to help decrease the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Chronic pain may also be relieved by eating a nutritious diet, getting enough exercise, and integrating natural medicines into your daily routine.

5. Change Hormone Concentrations

According to research published in the European Journal of Nutrition by the University of California, acidosis may cause a drop in blood levels of human growth hormone (HGH). HGH is a hormone generated by the pituitary gland that promotes cell regeneration and growth.

The development of ten children and newborns with hereditary or idiopathic classic renal tubular acidosis was studied in a research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation. Alkali treatment was started at ages ranging from eight days to 9.5 years to see how it affected development over four long periods.

At the outset of the research, six patients had stunted development, two were too young to have stunted growth, and the other two were nonacidotic.

The researchers discovered that long-term alkali therapy:

  • (a) Each patient achieved and maintained average stature
  • (b) the mean height of the 10 patients increased from the 1.4+/-4 to the 37.0+/-33 percentile (of an average age- and sex-matched population)
  • (c) the mean height reached the 69th percentile in the eight patients whose heights could be analyzed using the Tanner technique;
  • (d) the rate of growth increased two- to threefold;
  • (e) the rate of growth increased two- to threefold

Growth hormone may decrease heart disease risk factors, improve body composition, improve memory and cognition, and support growth and healthy development.

Alternatives that are good for you

Making a few easy substitutions and swapping out harmful items for a few of the best alkaline foods may help you stick to a low-acid diet.

Here are some simple substitutions you may make to improve your low-acid food intake:

  • Replace soft drinks with alkaline water, and instead of coffee, start your day with a nice green smoothie.
  • Trytry substituting a plant-based protein, such as beans or lentils, for meat in your m a couple of times a weekeal.
  • Instead of artificial sweeteners, use natural sweeteners like raw honey or maple syrup to sweeten your meal.
  • Limit your consumption of processed foods in favor of mainly whole, unprocessed meals.
  • When feasible, choose organic vegetables, and seek grass-fed, free-range, or wild-caught meat, poultry, and seafood.

Last Thoughts

  • Acidic meals have a low pH and may lower the pH of the blood and urine.
  • According to some studies, eating acidic meals daily may lead to kidney stones, poor bone density, acid reflux, chronic discomfort, and hormone imbalances.
  • Dairy products, processed cereals, and artificial sweeteners are just a handful of the components on the acidic foods list.
  • However, certain high-acid foods, such as oats, walnuts, eggs, and meat, are healthful and acceptable as part of a well-balanced diet.
  • To enhance your health and general quality of life, limit your intake of processed foods and increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are acidic foods to avoid?

A: Acids can cause damage to your teeth and gums, so avoid acidic foods that are high in sugar content. These include fruit juices, soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, candy, and soft drinks.

What are acidic foods?

A: Acidic foods are those that have a pH below 7.

What foods are best to avoid and limit?

A: The foods that are best to avoid and limit contain a lot of sugar, salt, and saturated fat. These include many processed foods, fast food, and sweets.

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