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Are Breakfast Cereals Acidic? (Actually Good for You??)

Following a low-acid diet is a rather tricky task. Many foods are acid-forming and can cause unpleasant symptoms of acid reflux or GERD. To prevent that from happening, you have to be careful about what foods you consume.

It’s also important to know the pH level of the foods you enjoy consuming, particularly those you eat frequently. For example, are cereals acidic? Is it a good idea to have them for breakfast if you suffer from acid reflux?

Are cereals acidic?

Cereals don’t have a low pH level, but they become acid-forming once they’re digested and metabolized in your digestive system. As a result, they can worsen your acid reflux and GERD symptoms, especially if consumed in large quantities.

Some people might be able to consume small portions of cereal even if they suffer from acid reflux, but it’s best to choose brands without added sugars to avoid any further irritation to your stomach.

What is the pH level of cereal?

Generally, cereal has a pH level ranging between 5.59-6.45. Even though it might not seem low, cereals are acid-forming and acidifying in your stomach. It means that regular consumption of cereal, especially sugary ones, may lead to more severe and frequent symptoms of acid reflux and GERD.

In the same way, sugary cereal may increase stomach acid production, leading to acid reflux, heartburn, and other issues. Because of that, it might be best to avoid all types of cereal on a low-acid diet, particularly if you’re used to consuming it in large quantities.

Is cereal good for you?

Variety of cold quick breakfast cereals with berries
Variety of cold quick breakfast cereals with berries

Whether cereal is healthy depends strongly on the type you buy and how you consume it. For example, a 3/4 cup serving of all-bran cereal (from most popular brands) contains around 92 calories. To that, you have to add milk, but it still doesn’t add up to too many calories.

As a result, it’s a relatively low-calorie breakfast, so it shouldn’t cause weight gain. What’s more, it contains 20% of your daily need for fiber, which can help soak up excess stomach acid, thus preventing it from refluxing up your esophagus and causing heartburn.

Many kinds of cereal these days are fortified, which means that they contain added vitamins and minerals to help us stay healthy. Because of that, many brands include lots of micronutrients, such as almost all B vitamins. This vitamin group helps prevent infections and promote cell and tissue health, healthy brain function, energy levels, and so much more.

As a result, it’s a great idea to add these vitamins to your diet, and consuming healthy, whole-grain cereal is an excellent way to take them in.

Even though most cereals are fortified, it’s important to remember that vitamins and minerals don’t help you feel full. Because of that, you have to make sure to eat your cereal with protein or healthy fats to ensure that you’re feeling full after the meal.

If you don’t, you risk snacking later on, which can lead to weight gain. Additionally, not eating enough protein will make you feel lethargic and impact your brain function. A good way to combat that is eating cereal with Greek yogurt or other good protein sources.

Cereal products often contain misleading information on the packaging, too. For example, some brands promote their cereals as whole-grain, low-fat, and without added sugars, but the reality is often different. To prevent yourself from getting tricked, read the ingredient list carefully.

It’s also a good idea to remember that the first ingredients on the list are the ones that the product contains the most. So if it starts with sugar, it’s probably best to choose a different brand as consuming such cereal can lead to weight gain and even type 2 diabetes and spikes in your sugar levels.

Can you eat cereal on acid reflux?

Cereal is a very acid-forming food that can worsen your acid reflux and GERD symptoms. It’s high in carbohydrates and often highly processed, so it’s also unhealthy and may cause weight gain, among other serious health issues.

The reason why cereals are particularly bad for acid reflux is that they require a lot of stomach acid to be digested. This, in turn, may lead to this acid refluxing up your esophagus and causing discomfort.

This traditional breakfast food also doesn’t contain enough fiber to help offset its acidity, so you might want to consider replacing it with something else to kick off your day in a healthy manner.

What cereal is best for people struggling with acid reflux?

There is an abundance of various cereal brands and types these days, so everyone can find something they like. When it comes to acid reflux, it’s best to choose brands that don’t contain too much-added sugar (which you can check on the ingredient list).

Consuming foods high in sugar isn’t healthy, and it also leads to excess stomach acid production and severe acid reflux symptoms. On the other hand, cereals lower in sugar but higher in fiber help you stay healthy while lowering the risk of unpleasant symptoms.

Another important thing to remember is to choose natural, whole-grain cereal instead of artificially flavored ones. Choosing all-bran cereals instead of cocoa puffs is healthier as they are often fortified with vitamins and minerals that help you stay healthy and lower the risk of many conditions.

These nutrients can also improve your acid reflux and GERD, preventing uncomfortable flare-ups. Because of that, if cereal is your favorite breakfast food, make sure you choose the healthiest option possible and eat it with some healthy, low-acid fruits.

Cereal is one of the foods with a rather high pH level but acidifying properties. Because of the way it’s manufactured, and all the ingredients added, it can worsen your acid reflux and GERD, which makes it a poor addition to a healthy, balanced diet.

On the other hand, some cereal brands use natural ingredients and come with many vitamins and minerals, so you can add small amounts of such cereal to your diet as long as your digestive system tolerates it without any issues.

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.