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Are Artificial Sweeteners Acidic? (Unpopular Opinion)

Sugar is one of the most commonly consumed ingredients around the world. While it tastes delicious, it’s not healthy to consume a lot of it. Because of that, artificial sweeteners are becoming more and more popular.

They contain barely any calories, so people choose them to prevent weight gain but still taste the sweetness. But should you be eating them if you suffer from acid reflux? Are artificial sweeteners acidic?

Are artificial sweeteners acidic?

Artificial sweeteners are relatively acidic, which might make them bad for people dealing with acid reflux or GERD. While they are low in calories and don’t cause spikes in your blood sugar levels, they may still irritate and inflame your esophagus and entire digestive system. As a result, it might be best to consume artificially sweetened foods very rarely.

What is the pH level of artificial sweeteners?

Artificial sweeteners tend to have a pH level ranging between 3.00-5.00. They also have acid-forming properties, so they’re not very good for people struggling with acid reflux symptoms.

What’s more, artificial sweeteners don’t contain many nutrients, such as essential vitamins and minerals, so they should be consumed in moderation and only on occasion to avoid health issues.

The pH level of artificial sweeteners also depends on the brand and other added ingredients. For the most part, though, all sweeteners have acid-forming properties, so it’s impossible to find a brand that doesn’t make your acid reflux and GERD symptoms worse.

pH level ranging between 3.00-5.00

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, make sure to choose the brand that contains the lowest number of calories since those usually contain less sugar.

Are artificial sweeteners bad for your health?

Consuming artificial sweeteners instead of sugar might be beneficial for people struggling with diabetes. This is because they still offer the sweet taste but without the rise in blood sugar levels.

On the other hand, some studies noticed that drinking diet soda increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. While this might be connected to other ingredients in diet soda, it’s worth remembering as consuming too much soda – whether it’s diet or regular – is bad for your health.

In addition, research shows that artificially sweetened beverages may cause stroke, coronary heart disease, and even increased mortality due to the compounds they contain.

Because of that, drinking beverages advertised as “calorie-free” and “zero sugar” might be worse for your health than drinking the versions that contain the standard amount of natural sugar.

Even though artificial sweeteners contain virtually no calories, studies show that they might increase appetite and promote weight gain. Obesity not only leads to various health problems, but it may also worsen your acid reflux symptoms and make them more frequent.

Experts believe that the reason artificial sweeteners have that effect is that they don’t help you feel satisfied after a meal, so you’re more likely to overeat.

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.

While it might sound counterintuitive, sweeteners can also make you crave sugary foods even more. Such foods are often high in calories, so combined with the carbohydrate content, they are bad for your health.

In addition, sugary foods cause inflammation of your digestive system, which may then lead to increased stomach acid production. Because of that, it might be best not to consume sweeteners often.

On the bright side, consuming artificial sweeteners instead of sugar may help you with your dental health by lowering the risk of cavities.

Unlike sugar, artificial sweeteners don’t react with the bacteria in your mouth, which prevents you from developing cavities and even other dental problems. As a result, switching to artificial sweeteners can help fight tooth decay.

Can you eat artificial sweeteners on acid reflux?

As a rule, sweeteners are very acid-forming due to the compounds they contain. Because of that, they should be consumed sparingly on a low-acid, stomach-friendly diet. If your acid reflux is particularly bad, though, they might be better than regular sugar since you’re less likely to consume too many sweeteners than from natural sugar.

But, just as with everything, make sure to listen to your body as some people might tolerate regular sugar better than artificial sweeteners.

Can you eat artificial sweeteners on acid reflux?
Can you eat artificial sweeteners on acid reflux?

Another thing to keep in mind is that everything you consume, including artificial sweeteners, has an impact on your gut health. Some studies found that eating sweeteners and artificially sweetened foods and drinks disrupt gut bacteria balance.

This is and for everyone’s health, but particularly for the health of people dealing with acid reflux and GERD since gut bacteria help control the strength of your stomach acid.

Are artificial sweeteners better for acid reflux than sugar?

Acid reflux is caused by gastric acid rising up your esophagus and causing unpleasant symptoms. Since artificial sweeteners have acid-forming properties, they’re almost as bad for acid reflux symptoms as regular sugar.

What’s more, they contain harmful substances that can inflame your digestive system, which further worsens your acid reflux and GERD symptoms. 

On the bright side, artificial sweeteners contain barely any calories, so they won’t cause weight gain, which tends to worsen acid reflux symptoms.

Such sweeteners also don’t contain any fat, making them easier to digest. Because of that, they may be a better choice than sugar for people trying to lose weight while preventing acid reflux and GERD symptoms from worsening.

If you can’t tolerate sugar and artificial sweeteners because of your acid reflux, you may want to try honey. It contains essential nutrients and is less acid-forming. It may also help you add flavor to your meals while you’re cooking or sweeten your tea.

Honey is also rich in various compounds that contribute to good health and may even boost your immune system.

Artificial sweeteners are acid-forming, so they’re just as bad for acid reflux and GERD as regular sugar. Some studies also suggest they may have negative effects on your health, which means that you should limit how often you consume sweeteners.

They do contain fewer calories than sugar, though, so they may help you add flavor to drinks and during cooking if you’re trying to lose weight. As always, make sure to practice moderation with everything you eat.