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Best Alkaline Alternatives For Popcorn (Find Yours Now)

If you suffer from acid reflux or GERD, you know exactly how challenging finding foods that don’t trigger your symptoms can be. 

A lot of foods these days have acid-forming properties, which are bad for those with digestive system issues.

One of the most difficult things about low-acid foods is that most of them aren’t snacks. So, if you want to snack on something while watching a movie, such as popcorn, you don’t have a lot of options.

Unfortunately, popcorn in all its varieties is rather acidic. So, eating too much of it can trigger acid reflux and GERD symptoms like heartburn. Because of that, most people with severe acid reflux cases might want to avoid this snack.

Luckily, there are some great low-acid or alkaline alternatives to traditional popcorn that allow even those of us with acid reflux to enjoy an occasional snack without suffering any consequences.

Can you eat popcorn on a low-acid diet?

Is Popcorn Acidic?

Generally, popcorn is safe for people with acid reflux and GERD. But that’s only when it’s air-popped.

Unfortunately, most commercially sold popcorn, along with the brands you can purchase in grocery stores, are oil-popped. 

Fat is a nutrient that’s hard for your stomach to digest, often leading to heartburn and other acid reflux symptoms.

In addition, most popcorn types are high in sodium. On its own, sodium isn’t acidic, but it does worsen some digestive system issues. It also raises your blood pressure, increasing your risk of heart attacks and strokes.

So, limiting how much and how often you consume popcorn is beneficial for your health.

If you choose to eat popcorn, make sure to stick to small portions. Plus, avoid caramel popcorn and the kind made with lots of butter. 

These ingredients are very acid-forming, so they can worsen your acid reflux symptoms in the long run.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

8 Alkaline Substitutes for Popcorn

1. Popcorn substitute

These days, there are many versions of popcorn that are less acidic and lower in sodium. 

These can be great for people with acid reflux and GERD, as they’re less likely to trigger digestive system symptoms.

What’s more, popcorn substitutes are also lower in fat and sodium, which are acidic and bad for people struggling with heartburn.

So, you can even enjoy some of these when trying to lose weight – as long as you practice moderation, of course.

2. Amaranth

Amaranth is a very nutritious and gluten-free grain that’s also alkaline. It’s similar to quinoa and can be used as a snack instead of popcorn.

Aside from being low-acid, amaranth is rich in various minerals, including iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, and phosphorus.

Because of that, eating it can help you load up on these nutrients and prevent mineral deficiencies.

3. Cauliflower

Cauliflower nutrition
Cauliflower nutrition facts

This is one of the best alternatives to popcorn that’s low in acid. This veggie can be crumbled, seasoned, and consumed either raw or dried. 

You can also sprinkle it with yeast to add more protein and several vitamins.

Cauliflower also has natural alkaline-forming properties. As a result, eating it can help improve your acid reflux and GERD as a whole. In fact, all fresh raw and cooked veggies are alkaline.

So, eating them is beneficial for people with these digestive system conditions.

4. Quinoa

Is quinoa good for you?

This grain is slightly softer than popcorn, so it doesn’t necessarily have the same consistency as popcorn. 

But it’s very nutritious, and it’s actually a complete protein, providing you with all nine essential amino acids that your body can’t produce on its own.

Quinoa can be easily cooked and consumed, either with spices or just salt. There are also many varieties of this delicious and nutritious grain, so you can create a wide variety of snacks.

5. Barley

Barley And Beer

Barley is an ancient grain that people often add to soups and sauces. But when cooked on its own, barley can make for a great substitute for popcorn.

Aside from being alkaline, barley is rich in fiber, which helps soak up excess stomach acid, further aiding with acid reflux and GERD symptoms. 

This grain also contains a lot of niacin, selenium, iron, and manganese.

So, eating it can greatly improve your health.

6. Sorghum

This grain is an excellent alternative to popcorn. Sorghum is both low in acid and also works great as a substitute for people who are allergic to popcorn.

Sorghum has a similar texture and consistency as popcorn, and it pops in a similar way when cooked. 

What’s more, this grain is especially rich in calcium, so it helps boost your immune system and keep your bones healthy.

7. Protein balls

While they have a different flavor and texture than popcorn, protein balls are an excellent way to increase your intake of protein while still having a delicious snack.

Protein balls can be made using peanut butter as well as other ingredients. This type of snack is less acidic than popcorn, so it might be more suitable for people with a severe case of acid reflux or GERD.

In addition, protein balls are also rich in various minerals and vitamins, so you’re likely to reap even more benefits than you would have from popcorn.

8. Kamut puffs

This whole grain can be air-popped, tasting similar to popcorn. It’s also less acidic and more nutritious while remaining low in calories.

You can also add your favorite spices and flavors to Kamut puffs, personalizing them to your liking. This healthy food is vegan, has no added sugars, and is 100% whole grain.

So, it’s a healthy choice, regardless of what type of diet you follow.


These days, there is a wide variety of alkaline alternatives to popcorn that are suitable for people with acid reflux or GERD. 

These are still delicious but won’t trigger any health issues like heartburn.

Aside from their alkaline-forming properties, these alternatives are still nutritious and low in calories. 

So, even if you don’t have to consume low-acid snacks, these foods are still a healthier choice than popcorn, especially oil-popped popcorn.

Don’t know what to drink? We made a list of more than 20 most and least acidic juices and 20+ alcoholic drinks ranked by acidity levels.

Sources: Nutrition Data and National Library of Medicine