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Are Potatoes Acidic? And Bad For Acid Reflux?

In the Western world, potatoes make up a huge part of our diet.

Although they were initially imported from South America, potatoes have been a staple of Western foods for centuries. For many people, potatoes are neutral comfort food. We use potatoes to offset spice and flavor, and fill up.

Because they are neutrally flavored and easy to eat, they are often recommended for stomach ailments. Baked potatoes or fries are a classic hangover cure. 

Are potatoes really helpful when it comes to reducing acid reflux, heartburn and GERD, or are they aggravating things and making them worse by contributing to a more acidic environment in your stomach?

The answer is a little more complicated than the actual acidity of potatoes themselves. It has more to do with how those potatoes affect you and your stomach.

In this article, we’ll look at whether potatoes are acidic or alkaline, and whether or not they’re helpful for people who suffer from acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD.

Are Potatoes Acidic Bad For GERD?

Are Potatoes Acidic

Technically, potatoes are mildly acidic. They average 5.4 to 5.9 on the pH scale.

Potatoes are definitely more acidic than water, but much less acidic than something like citrus juice, which comes in between 2 and 3 on the pH scale.

However, when you eat potatoes they have an alkalizing effect on your stomach that reduces symptoms of acid reflux. 

Potatoes are mildly acidic, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that eating them increases the acidity in your stomach. This is a misconception.

The actual acidity of foods themselves has only a minor impact on the pH of your stomach. What matters is how your kidneys process that acidity, which is measured by the potential renal acid load (PRAL).

The kidneys, and to a lesser extent, the lungs have a major effect on how your body processes the acidity of foods – so much so that the actual acidity of a food is relatively unimportant compared to its PRAL.

This explains why some very acidic foods actually have an alkalizing effect on the stomach and can help to neutralize the symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD rather than aggravating them. Take, for example, lemon water.

Lemon Water is a common cure for acid reflux even though lemon juice is one of the most acidic substances that people willingly put into their bodies.

If the acidity of the substance itself was the only factor, lemon juice and water would increase the acidity in your stomach, right?

Well, that’s not actually the case. Lemon juice is very acidic itself, but it has a low potential renal acid load, which means that it alkalizes your stomach acid rather than acidifies it.

Lemon juice is acidic, but it “tells” your body to alkalize in response, rather than acidify.

Potatoes work the same way, although a little bit less dramatically. Potatoes are only mildly acidic and therefore they are only mildly alkalizing in their effect.

You wouldn’t necessarily eat a bunch of potatoes to relieve the symptoms of acid reflux. But you can be confident that potatoes aren’t going to make your acid reflux any worse.

So, potatoes are mildly acidic but they have an alkalizing effect on the stomach. Does that mean that they are good for GERD?

The question is, again, even more complicated.

This is because potatoes are prepared in so many different ways. If you’re eating fresh, boiled potatoes that don’t have any other ingredients, then yes, you could say that potatoes are healthy for GERD.

However, most potatoes are prepared in ways that cause additional inflammation or are complemented by ingredients that make acid reflux, heartburn, or GERD worse.

If you’re eating french fries or mashed potatoes full of butter and milk, you might be aggravating your symptoms at the same time. It is not because of the potatoes themselves, but because of other ingredients in these dishes.

To get the best results out of eating potatoes for GERD, you need to eat them as plainly as possible and in moderate amounts.

RELATED: Are Onions Acidic? And Bad For Acid Reflux?

Are Potatoes Acidic Or Alkaline?

Potatoes are mildly acidic with a pH of 5.4 to 5.9, however, they have an alkalizing effect on the body.

in other words, eating potatoes should help to balance your stomach acid rather than acidify it and it should help to neutralize the effects of acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD rather than worsening them.

Potatoes are technically acidic but they can form a part of an alkaline diet.

This is true as long as you don’t ruin the positive effects of potatoes by mixing in other ingredients like butter, milk, or oil that can increase inflammation and stomach acid.

Are Potatoes Okay For Acid Reflux?

Are Potatoes Acidic

Potatoes are a good choice for acid reflux or at least a neutral choice for acid reflux as long as they are prepared correctly.

If potatoes include a lot of other ingredients that aggravate the symptoms of acid reflux, for example, butter, milk, and other fats, or if they are fried, they will worsen the symptoms of acid reflux rather than improve them.

And this won’t be because of the potatoes themselves. But because of the other ingredients.

If potatoes are prepared neutrally, without other inflammatory ingredients, they shouldn’t have a significant effect on acid reflux.

They might not cure your symptoms by completely balancing the pH in your stomach, but they shouldn’t make things any worse, either.

Are Potatoes Healthy?

Are Potatoes Acidic

You can say a lot of positive things about potatoes as a food. They have tons of vitamins and minerals that are helpful to us like iron, vitamin C, and vitamin B6, as well as carbohydrates that we need to fuel us.

Potatoes are also delicious and a big part of Western cuisine. Potatoes are a key part of dishes that you wouldn’t want to cut out of your diet permanently.

However, it’s hard to argue that potatoes are the healthiest source of carbohydrates or even that they’re particularly healthy overall.

Potatoes have their place in a healthy diet, but it probably isn’t fried or mashed, or taking up half of your plate. Potatoes have their benefits, but there are healthier foods overall (and for acid reflux). 

Potatoes are glycemic index foods and wrap up increases in blood sugar. In other words, potatoes are kind of like candy when it comes to the body, at least compared to other lower glycemic fruits.

The energy you get is powerful and comes on quickly, but fades just as fast. These energy spikes are both inconvenient and unhealthy, compared to more complex carbohydrates which provide more prolonged energy.

Eating a lot of potatoes can make you feel bloated and heavy. Potatoes are also linked to weight gain and obesity because they cause you to feel very full, but then that energy wears off quickly, leaving you hungry again. 

Potatoes are healthy in moderation, but most people eat more than they probably should since they are such a staple in European food.

Reducing the amount of potatoes you eat, and eating them in healthier ways can improve your health and make room for more nutrient-rich, lower-glycemic index foods like fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Potatoes aren’t necessarily unhealthy – potatoes are full of vitamins and nutrients – but they should be avoided in large quantities because they are high glycemic index foods that can cause spikes and drops in blood sugar. 

Do Mashed Potatoes Cause Acid Reflux?

Mashed potatoes can cause acid reflux, depending on how you prepare them.

If you were to remove the skins of the potatoes, boil them, and then serve them directly onto a plate, there would be no issues with acid reflux.

Potatoes are a neutral food when it comes to acidity, and they can have an alkalizing effect on your stomach acid. Potatoes in their purest form are quite safe to eat, even if you have acid reflux.

However, most mashed potatoes include a variety of other ingredients that are inflammatory and fatty. Most commonly, butter and milk or heavy cream are added to mashed potatoes for flavor and texture.

In some cases, cheese is also added.

Butter is fat, and the more fat in your food, the longer your stomach will take to break it down and the more stomach acid will be required.

Milk includes lactose and other compounds that many people are allergic to without being aware of, and can be inflammatory for the body.

Although potatoes might be neutral, mashed potatoes can often be inflammatory,  triggering symptoms of acid reflux, heartburn, and GERD.

Whenever you are cooking with potatoes and preparing them, you want to think about whatever else you’re adding as well as the potatoes themselves.

RELATED: Are Grapes Acidic? And Bad For Acid Reflux?

Are Sweet Potatoes Acidic?

Sweet potatoes have pH values between 5.3 – 5.6, which makes them more acidic than white potatoes, but they are generally better for acid reflux and GERD than their plain cousins.

Sweet potatoes are full of macronutrients that have an alkalizing effect, and their complex carbohydrates take longer to break down than the simple sugars in potatoes.

When you eat sweet potatoes, you are less vulnerable to sudden spikes and drops in blood sugar, and less likely to overeat.

It’s healthier to eat sweet potatoes than regular potatoes, both for people who have acid reflux and for those who don’t.

Sweet potatoes contain more fiber than regular potatoes, as well as huge amounts of macronutrients like vitamin a and vitamin c.

If you are trying to avoid foods that will trouble your acid reflux or GERD, sweet potatoes are a safe choice as long as you don’t fry them or add other ingredients that could make the meal acidic, or trouble your stomach.

Are Baked Potatoes Acidic?

Baking or boiling potatoes won’t change their pH value – they will be exactly as acidic after cooking as they were before.

It is a little bit unfair to say that baked potatoes aren’t acidic.

However, because they are normally served with lots of butter, milk or cream, cheese, and other ingredients, they make the majority of baked potatoes delicious – but acidic and unhealthy.

If you wrap a baked potato in foil or place it directly in the oven, there should be no additional acidity added.

To avoid getting acid reflux or GERD symptoms, however, you will need to eat your baked potato plain, which isn’t how most people enjoy it.

3 Delicious And Healthy Potato Recipes 

Potatoes play an essential role in diet and are usually used to add flavors and enhance the taste of dishes. Although there is a misconception that potatoes are unhealthy, the reality is how you eat them fried, baked, or anything else.

Since there is no end to the dishes made with potatoes, it won’t be easy to decide which Recipe will be healthy and nutritious for you.

To help you out with the struggle of search and deciding, we have picked three delicious recipes that are easy to make and would be a fantastic option to soothe your taste buds.

Healthy Potato Recipes

RecipeCaloriesPreparation Time
Mushroom & potato soup315 Per Serving45 Minutes
Healthier potato salad215 Per Serving20 Minutes
Hasselback Potatoes with Cheese197 Per Serving1 Hour 30 Minutes

1. Mushroom & Potato Soup

If you are craving to eat potatoes and don’t want to break your diet routine, then we have the low-fat, gluten-free mushroom and potato soup for you. With an umami flavor, this soup will work best for lunch.

The potato thickened soup with a hearty and delicious taste would make you feel satisfied.

Of course, one can choose the other vegetable to make according to your preference, but if you keep it the way it is mentioned, you will also love it. You may also consider trying different mushrooms.

Calories: 315 Per Serving

Preparation Time: 45 Minutes

2. Healthier Potato Salad

If you love to have potato salad but ignore thinking of the calories it will have, then it is your chance to have it. Instead, try the healthier potato salad made with yogurt instead of mayos to cut down on the calories the dish could have.

The dish contains more herbs and onions and lowers the use of salt, which is vital in enhancing the flavor and making it healthier. In addition, the skin of the potatoes is kept in the salad because it will add fiber.

Calories: 215 Per Serving

Preparation Time: 20 Minutes

RELATED: Is Almond Milk Good for Acid Reflux

3. Hasselback Potatoes With Cheese

If you love potato chips or wedges, you will surely love the Hasselback potatoes with cheese. Though it takes time to get ready, the finished products are worth all the effort.

If you have an acid reflux problem with potatoes, this dish is not for you as it contains cheese and might trigger heartburn symptoms.

However, the Hasselback potatoes are incredibly delicious because they have the flavor of garlic and paprika in it.

Calories: 197 Per Serving

Preparation Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It OK To Eat Potatoes With Acid Reflux?

Potatoes have a neutral level of pH and are considered to be alkaline. Thus they are considered safe for people with acid reflux, GERD, and heartburn. In addition, according to a recent study, potatoes lower the risk of gastro-related issues.

Are Potatoes High In Acid?

Potatoes have a pH level of 5.4 to 5.9, less than seven, and are considered neutral. However, it works as alkaline and has a mildly acidic food.

Are Potatoes Acidic? And Bad For Acid Reflux?

5 from 1 vote

Discover the truth about potatoes being acidic or alkaline and how they affect your acid reflux.

Directions

  • Pick a recipe from the list above
  • Click the recipe name and visit the website
  • Collect the ingredients and cook the food
  • Enjoy – don’t forget to leave a review

Recipe Video

Jess Smith